Ah, the choices! When buying professional kitchen equipment, the process of determining what to buy can be overpowering. Used or new? Where to purchase? What brand? Lease or own? These conclusions don’t have to be daunting — there is a way through the maze.
As a first step, begin with the fundamentals. What menu items do you currently offer? Create a starting list of the equipment you need to prepare each menu item. If you sell pizza, then you’ll need pizza pans, a toaster, and grill. Leave no stone unturned; be sure you’ve accounted to it all.
Start with the Basics; you can always add items on as you move. Here are some essentials:
- Reach-in or walk-in cooler
Next, how are you going to serve items? If yours is a buffet restaurant, you will require a cook and hold ovens and warmer tray equipment. Do you serve cocktails? You will want a lot of barware items.
Another factor to think about is your restaurant capacity. How many people can you accommodate at any given time? Be sure that you are creating a list that believes this scale. Also, be sure to take your kitchen design under the account. Both space and the layout will dictate your equipment purchases. Food needs to flow easily from the prep area into the point, so closely consider your kitchen’s function when making your restaurant equipment listing. Think about how many workers are going to be in your kitchen during your busiest period, and organize it to avoid lumps, spills, and other accidents.
Don’t overlook security equipment that is necessary for you to get your licenses — things such as a sport hood for instance, or fire extinguishers. Ensure you have considered the kind of appliances for your gas and electric cooking requirements. Storage needs should also be considered; consider where you will store your food and dishes.
Last but certainly not least, consider your overall budget. Together with the ordinary restaurant opening price at a cool quarter of a million dollars ($250,000) money goes fast. You can surely purchase new equipment; in actuality, if you can afford it, fresh is unquestionably better. But, things do depreciate immediately after purchase, so you may want to look at buying some items used from an auction or restaurant supply store.
Generally, refrigerators, freezers, and ice machines need to be bought new. You will know you can meet the health code requirements and you’ll be able to avoid any cross-contamination to your kitchen. It’s not really worth the danger of having a lousy health review. Refrigerators and similar used equipment frequently have hidden issues that might be quite expensive down the road if you need repairs. What’s more, in case you have a freezer or fridge that is from the commission, you could get rid of a massive stock to spoiled food.
Used equipment has pros and cons. On the flip side, you can find gently-used high-quality equipment still under warranty for a fraction of the cost of new things, sometimes for pennies on the dollar. On the flip side, some auction purchases are not under warranty, so you take on added risk. Auctions generally tend to be a great place to purchase things such as flatware, glassware, utensils, dishes, and bread baskets.
You can also usually buy these items fairly reasonably at auction:
- Sauté pans, stockpots, and saucepans
- Baking sheets
- Chef’s knives
- Mixing bowls
- Steam table
- Cleaning supplies
- Rubber floor mats
Purchasing a commercial kitchen is a massive investment. Do not be tempted to purchase before you finish your thorough list. Also, look for duplicate things and make sure you’re not buying too few or too many of any one particular product. Most of all, prioritize your requirements because you may not be able to purchase everything at one time. Once you’ve done all of the due diligence, then it’s eventually time to buy. Happy shopping!