Commercial restaurant equipment can be a large investment, so it is important to do your homework so that you can be certain that you are buying just what you need. Considering these seven tips can help you receive exactly the pieces you want to help make your foodservice operation a success.
- Search for the Blue NSF Logo
We recommend the restaurant equipment you purchase should hold a blue National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) logo printed around on the product or product packaging. The NSF ensures that the equipment is suitable for use in a commercial kitchen, due to rigorous third-party inspections which ensure the equipment is food-safe and easy to keep clean and sanitized. While not all of the health codes require that every piece of commercial kitchen equipment become NSF-approved, should you buy items with the blue seal, you can be certain those things will meet health regulations if they’re used according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. NSF-approved equipment also makes it possible to make food safety a priority in your kitchen by using only the cleanest, safest layouts. See our learning center to find out more about the National Sanitation Foundation and buying NSF-certified restaurant equipment is vital.
- Buy What You Want
Make your list before starting buying commercial kitchen equipment, then concentrate on the list of items and buy only the equipment that you need. Do not blow your budget on a full-size oven which you will only use once a day, and do not hold back on specialty equipment in the event the potential labor savings and capacity to keep up with demand will make the investment worthwhile. Estimate how much output you will need from every piece of equipment and buy the proper size. Undersizing will slow down anger and service customers, but buying overly large can cost you thousands more than mandatory in energy costs over the life of the equipment.
- Learn About Warranties
Before you spend your cash in restaurant equipment, check to observe how each maker backs up its products. Service requirements on non-warrantied equipment are pricey and can add up quickly. Not only that, but any time the equipment spends broken down is the time it is not cooking or storing food. Whether an important item of equipment breaks down, it can cost you thousands of dollars in lost earnings. When considering a significant equipment purchase, find out about the standard warranty and any extended warranties or service applications the company offers. Pay careful attention to what maintenance must be done frequently and what actions can void the warranty. Keep these factors in mind when comparing costs — it could be worth it to cover to get a piece of equipment with a better guarantee.
- Inspect Equipment When It Arrives
When you receive commercial restaurant equipment that you have purchased, check to ensure that all pieces are there and in working order before signing for the product. Although the best packaging efforts of this manufacturer and/or distributor and the caution of the transportation company, products are occasionally damaged during shipping. When this is the case, it’s the transportation provider and not the supplier or manufacturer that is responsible for repairing or replacing the damaged device.
In instances in which concealed damage is detected after the freight invoice is signed, call the transport representative in seven days to request an inspection of the product. Keep all packaging materials and don’t eliminate the damaged item from the premises. Once the review is complete, keep a copy of the inspection report and contact the transportation provider for information about the best way to move forward with replacement or repairs. Please note it is your responsibility as the buyer to generate damage claims.
- Meet All Local Codes
Before buying commercial restaurant equipment, you should assess all health, fire, and building codes to find the specific requirements of your kitchen. Local codes vary widely across the country, so what’s acceptable in one place might be prohibited a few miles down the road. Equipment that can be operated with no vent in certain areas has to be set beneath a hood in other locations. Partner with the local authorities to ensure the design and equipment you’re considering is in line with local codes. Violations of these codes could result in hefty penalties or closed and can cost you tens of thousands of dollars as you work to rectify the issue.
- Know Your Utilities
Be aware of where each utility outlet is in your kitchen and serving region, including power, water, and gasoline. Based on the part of the equipment you’re considering, you may have to know more information than just the location of every utility. For water, find out the incoming water temperature and pressure. For power, you may need to understand how much current draw each circuit can handle and which plugs your sockets are put up for. A number of these things can be altered if needed — for example, an electrician may add or change outlets, and lots of companies offer conversion kits involving natural gas and propane, but knowing ahead of time which changes you will need can help you plan out your deadline and budget.
- Consider Long-term Costs
When you receive restaurant equipment, you should think about the utility charges that will be acquired over the life of the unit. For example, during summer months, ice machines and coolers might need to work harder to remain cool, leading to more energy usage. Consider buying energy-efficient equipment to help lower those utility expenses. Also, think about the upkeep the unit will need, how much that maintenance will cost, and possibly more importantly, just how much the repairs will charge whether this care is neglected. Research the life expectancy of each model you are considering, as it may make more sense to cover a bit more for a unit that typically lasts longer than its competition.