The lifeline of every restaurant is its kitchen. That is why it is crucial for every restaurant owner and manager to ensure that their kitchen is well designed and the kitchen equipment is in excellent condition at all times. If you are planning to purchase new equipment or adding more equipment to your existing kitchen, it is vital to conduct proper research.
We recommend keeping the following points in mind, to ensure you are purchasing the right kitchen equipment for your restaurant:
- Understand your restaurant’s needs: Purchase of kitchen equipment is one of the key aspects of opening a restaurant. However, it is important to understand the exact requirements of the restaurant before venturing out to do so. Defining the concept and outlining a menu at this stage will be the key pointers that will guide you in listing out the type of equipment required. Furthermore, it is important to plan the layout of the kitchen in a way that will allow maximum output with minimum delays and chaos.
- Consider leasing: Leasing equipment is another option since you only pay for the time you use the equipment in your kitchen. This can be considered to reduce heavier upfront investments, and also comes with the added benefits of replacements, service and maintenance, and upgrades, if necessary. As the volumes pick up and the business is able to retain its profits, you can then invest in your own equipment.
- Don’t skimp on used equipment: While buying kitchen appliances you may come across a cheaper and reasonable deal on used equipment. Before you jump the gun and decide to purchase the used equipment, be sure that it will actually save you money in the long run. You do not want to be stuck in a situation where, due to earlier wear and tear or missing warranties, you end up spending more on maintenance of the used equipment, than the cost of purchasing a new machine. If that was the case, you might as well have purchased new equipment, to begin with. If you must purchase used equipment, at least try and get a written guarantee on the same for a reasonable period of time.
- Take a demo: A demonstration of the equipment by the salesperson/supplier will give you a good idea of how the equipment functions. During this process, it is better to have your restaurant manager or chef accompany you, so they also get a chance to try out the equipment before you make the purchase. During installation, have the supplier do a final test and demonstration on site as well, to see if the equipment works smoothly.
- Maintenance: Every piece of equipment in a restaurant requires ongoing and timely maintenance. It is important to get this information at the time of purchase. Maintenance or servicing is typically covered by the supplier for the first year, which will help save you both time and money. Certain equipment, however, requires daily maintenance by your staff. Create a detailed maintenance schedule and assign it to the personnel responsible. If this is followed diligently, it will increase the life of your equipment, giving you better returns on your investment.
- Material: The kind of kitchen material used in your restaurant also determines the lifespan and usability of the equipment. Stainless steel is the most common, durable and recommended material due to its strong resistance to corrosion and discoloration. Whereas aluminium makes for a better alternative in some cases, as it is rust resistant, does not burn, and reflects heat and light.
While it is important to control the amount spent on the kitchen equipment, that should not be the only objective while buying. Quality of the equipment, the reliability of the supplier, post-sale service contracts, maintenance requirements and the lifespan of the equipment, are all things to be considered when purchasing any equipment. Remember, this is an investment into your business, and will directly affect the returns in the long run.
To ease your search, we recommend hiring restaurant consultants, such as Ribbon Consulting, who can advise you about purchasing equipment. Our restaurant consulting solutions can be tailored as per your requirements, including concept and menu development, kitchen design, equipment procurement, and vendor management.