A restaurant is best known for the quality of food it makes and customer satisfaction. The food is the direct result of the effort put in by the staff and the quality of the restaurant equipment used by the establishment. Without high-quality and food-grade restaurant equipment, it is not possible to produce consistently large quantities of food safe for serving every day. The quality and build of restaurant equipment is capable of either making or breaking a restaurant. The front of the house might be the reason for attracting potential patrons, however, it’s the back house operations that ensure these people become regulars. As a result, choosing the right restaurant equipment will form the basis of how the restaurant functions and the final product it puts before its customers.
Why is Buying the Right Restaurant Equipment Crucial
Having restaurant equipment that’s not up to the mark can cause not only poor quality of food, it also results in unnecessary expenses and can make quite the dent in profits. Restaurant equipment that breaks down frequently might need frequent repairs, slowing down operations in a kitchen and also costing a lot of money.
Poor quality may also cause the equipment to fail for several days, putting it out of business, causing serious impediments to the workflow in your kitchen. Substandard equipment can also cause serious consequences like lawsuits and penalties from the food department if the equipment isn’t certified by the food and health department. Having the right restaurant equipment is essential not only to serve safe and high-quality products but also to avoid potential expenses and litigation.
Why Bad Restaurant Equipment is a Potentially Long-term Problem
When restaurateurs purchase restaurant equipment that doesn’t meet the basic requirements or fails on multiple fronts of operation, they get tied down with that piece of machinery in a vicious cycle. Thanks to the high prices of restaurant equipment, most of it is financed, leased, or rented. This causes a large spike in the maintenance and upkeep of bad machines in addition to the premium already owed to financiers or companies. Not only do poor-quality restaurant equipment eat away from existing profit margins, but they also add to existing debt factors and end with a bad product despite having paid an amount comparable to or even more than the market value of the product. The best way to overcome this potentially long-term problem is to try and avoid it altogether.
How to Balance your Budget with the Right Equipment
Most restaurateurs approach an equipment supplier with a budget. Budgets are important so that business owners don’t spend more than what is required on a particular piece of restaurant equipment. Restaurants have a long list of requirements and most of them are fairly expensive, and this calls for smart budgeting and certain austere measures to ensure the recovery is quicker and profits are assured. There are options that chefs and restaurateurs can consider to ensure they get the best restaurant equipment, even on a restricted budget. Some of them include:
- Renting high-quality equipment that has been verified and serviced by the company.
- Leasing trusted equipment instead of buying to help save extra financing costs.
- Exploring flexible credit and financing options offered by both suppliers and companies.
- Buying energy-efficient equipment to avoid spending too much on upkeep.
- Ensuring all restaurant equipment is covered by warranties.
- Equipment insurance might seem like an added expense but it goes a long way in protecting owners from potential damages and mishaps with equipment.
- Making sure all equipment is verified and approved by the NSF to avoid penalties and litigation.
Important Things to Watch Out for When Purchasing Restaurant Equipment
Here are some important factors all business owners must consider before purchasing restaurant equipment:
- Always Request a Demonstration: Demonstrations allow buyers to get a feel of the equipment before purchase. It also outlines functional specifics of the restaurant equipment, helping buyers make a decision.
- Focus on Safety: Safety measures and features are very important in all pieces of restaurant equipment. Not only do safety certificates help prevent workplace accidents, but they also make the production companies liable in case of any fault in the safety measures.
- Maintenance: The maintenance aspects of restaurant equipment give a buyer a good idea about the upkeep costs. It’s an important aspect of equipment purchase when running a restaurant on a monthly budget.
- Blue NSF Sticker: An NSF certification comes with a blue sticker that marks the verification by the independent organization that checks all industrial equipment for any flaws and ensures safety. The National Science Foundation sticker is essential for all restaurant equipment.
- Warranties: All equipment purchases must be made only after verifying company-assured warranties. Restaurant equipment offered without warranties are red flags and must be avoided.
- Local Health Codes: Not only must all restaurant equipment meet the requirements of the NSF, but they must also be compliant with the local food and health codes. Using restaurant equipment not compliant with these codes can warrant hefty penalties and sometimes even lead to lawsuits.
- Speed of Equipment: Restaurateurs rely on speed and putting food on the table in the shortest periods. It’s important to check units like BTUs, RPM, cooling and freezing time, and output per hour to assess the speed of the equipment.
- Material: Ensuring and verifying the quality of material used in the construction of the restaurant equipment ensures substandard products are avoided and ruled out.
Following these tips and guidelines will help business owners find good deals and options that will lead to a greater margin and lower fraction of costs spent on liabilities. Research matters and can ensure a restaurant lands the equipment perfect for its operations.
Damon Shrauner is the Senior Sales Consultant and VP on B2B Sales at CKitchen, a fully authorized restaurant equipment and supplies dealer. Working in the food service equipment sector since 1994. With his expertise in market analysis, product placement, sales and project management, he will always tell you what to do for the best of your business.