How to select and become a good buyer of restaurant equipment

July 27, 2018

Before buying restaurant equipment, you must form a core team that takes the responsibility of selecting the items necessary for setting up the restaurant.  Not only it requires some research to understand what is needed to run the show smoothly, but it also requires consulting with many other people like chefs, current users, and experts. The menu of the restaurant primarily determines the types of equipment that would be needed.  The layout of the kitchen is also fundamental as it helps to decide the sizes of equipment that you can accommodate in the given space. The size of the machine and how many same types of equipment you may require would depend upon the expected traffic during peak hours. After all, the machine must be capable of supporting your efforts in efficiently handling customer orders in the kitchen. Then, there are financial considerations too.

Commercial kitchen equipment is not cheap, and your buying decision can have a long-term impact on the business. You have to be confident about buying just the things you need. It is not surprising that the exercise related to the selection of restaurant equipment might appear a bit complex. To make things easy, you can refer to this article that provides a brief guideline in buying kitchen equipment that culminates in a satisfying buying experience by ensuring the right return on investment.  It can set your business venture on the right tracks as the kitchen is the place that can make or break restaurant business.

New or used equipment

Considering that buying equipment for setting up restaurant kitchens is quite an expensive affair and constitutes the dominant head of the budget, it is essential to decide whether to buy all new equipment or to go for used ones. Restaurant equipment sellers like ABM Restaurant Equipment can cater to both types of requirements as they can also supply used kitchen equipment by sourcing it from the right places. Although the used equipment is cheaper, it carries the risk of no warranty coverage. Proper risk analysis and research about the equipment help to identify the right type of used equipment that could perform satisfactorily. Judge the machine on its merit and not by brand names because after all, you are not buying a brand new piece of equipment.

Creating a mix of used and new equipment is ideal. Consider the importance of the equipment in the kitchen to decide if it would be worth to buy a used one. Another alternative to buying cheaper new equipment is to look for overstocked brands or something that has cosmetic flaws that could cost less without having to worry about quality.

Determine what you need

Every restaurant business has some concept or theme and serves some selected types of cuisines. These are factors to consider during equipment selection. The equipment required for setting up a coffee shop will be entirely different from what is necessary for setting up a pizza store.  Work backward from the menu to arrive at the equipment that you need for preparing and storing food as well as raw materials.  The necessary equipment and furniture to set up a restaurant for fine dining will be utterly different from that of a restaurant that relies on self-service by customers. The features of the equipment must also figure in the list because it relates to kitchen efficiency.

The budget and ROI

Having made a list of equipment, you must set a budget for buying. The budget would be a part of your overall business investment and to arrive at the budget, you must gather ballpark figures about the price of each item. After estimating the expenditure, you can vet it with the overall business plan to work out the expected return on investment.  The exercise could hint at any changes in equipment selection that could help to keep costs under control. Remember that you have to recover the cost of equipment as fast as possible. Any new business would like to determine the time it would take to break even, and the ROI figures would matter a lot.

Space utilization

As the equipment has to fit into the budget, it also has to fit into the space of the kitchen. Consider the kitchen layout to know the space available for each type of equipment and then choose a suitable brand. The design of the kitchen is essential to ensure that it creates a clutter free working space that helps to speed up work that results in efficient service and leads to customer satisfaction. When making the equipment list include the dimensions so that it captures the correct price. When buying, check the dimensions to be sure that it would fit into space. Moreover, you can opt for some multipurpose equipment which might cost more but saves space by reducing the number of equipment.

Ease of use

The equipment you select besides being efficient and budget-friendly has to be user-friendly too. If users find it difficult to operate the equipment or do not feel comfortable in handling it, the efficiency of the kitchen would be affected. Consult the users before buying and seek their recommendations so that you get the right equipment that helps to increase kitchen productivity.

Consider the maintenance cost

Some equipment might cost less upfront, but it would need high maintenance that increases the cost.  When choosing kitchen equipment, besides matching the specifications and the buying price, work out the increasing cost of maintaining it. The frequency of maintenance is also necessary because if it is a single piece of equipment that is central to the kitchen, then frequent stoppage due to maintenance needs will affect the work of the restaurant. However, ensure that all equipment is covered by service contracts so that timely maintenance is not an issue.

Buy star rated equipment that economizes energy usage of equipment and keeps energy bills low. The running cost of equipment should never be so high that it upsets all calculations about the return on investment.  Check the warranties carefully to get the most value from it because extended warranties give complete peace of mind.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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