Restaurant equipment is one of the biggest outlays of a restaurant. Why would a restaurant want to upgrade equipment? There are benefits for doing it, and it can be done in a cost-effective way if you take your time to plan and budget. All equipment wears out eventually, so it’s a good idea to sock aside some of your profits every month for future equipment replacement.
Here are four good reasons for upgrading your restaurant equipment.
You want to try something new
Sometimes there’s an opportunity for increased profit later for up-front costs now. Take soft serve machines. Soft serve machines are pretty expensive. They require regular cleaning and a revolving cost of new mix. However, the profit on a soft serve ice machine is quite high compared to other desserts. A machine could pay itself off in less than a year and still give 5+ years of good service afterward. If you can make something new by hand first as a special, try that and see if it is well-received. If it is, then consider buying equipment that lets you make more.
You need to make more food
Perhaps your business is booming. Perhaps you want to remodel your restaurant to hold more people. If your current equipment can’t handle cooking that many meals at once, you’re going to run into a serious problem. Talk with your chef and find out how many covers you can cook at once without stressing the kitchen out too badly. Try it with different dishes on your menu. Can you cook 30 orders of eggs at once? How about 30 steaks? You don’t want a lack of space or pans blocking your growth.
Many restaurants buy used equipment to start. Used equipment can bite you with higher utility costs. Many equipment manufacturers are pushing hard for efficient appliances, but with a huge used market it’s tempting to buy inefficient equipment to start. If you want to cut your energy bills, look for newer Energy Star-rated gear to put in your kitchen. The Energy Star website had a list of all current models. Some restaurants shoot for a green image and will only use Energy Star appliances along with other green practices like using recycled paper and eco-friendly cleaning products.
Gear is old and worn out
Finally, gear just wears out after a while. If pan handless are rattling and your chef has to kick the oven to turn it on, it’s time to upgrade. Old equipment causes inefficiencies in the kitchen. It can also create a dangerous situation. New equipment can make your kitchen more efficient, decrease production time, and even improve the quality of your food. Talk with your kitchen crew about how the equipment is hindering or helping their productivity. Study the latest gear to see what ergonomic improvements are out there. That will guide your purchasing decisions when you are out buying restaurant supplies.
If new gear would help improve your restaurant’s efficiency and bottom-line, then consider taking the plunge. If you budget well and do your research, you’ll have a more productive restaurant and happier workers too. Few chefs can resist better gear.