With the Christmas rush behind us and Easter, Mother’s Day and patio season still a few months off, this time of year is often when restaurants opt to undertake renovations and make replacements in front and back of house. Holistic Hospitality Solutions has a wealth of knowledge and experience in this area, so we’ve put together the following guide to explain everything you need to know before making any kitchen equipment purchases.
First Things First
If you’re opening a new restaurant and are able to design your kitchen from the ground up, I urge you to get a professional involved. Russell Hendrix, Pacific Restaurant Supply and Bargreen Ellingson are the three companies I would recommend in British Columbia, but I’m happy to suggest someone for any city in Canada. Tell them what your vision is, what your menu will consist of, and allow them to guide you. Too often, restauranteurs don’t spend sufficient funds on kitchen equipment when launching a new location. Granted, equipment isn’t as sexy as a beautiful bar top, but how well food is prepared and how quickly it arrives at the table can make or break a guest’s dining experience. Spending more in advance also ensures you won’t have the hassle of replacing equipment down the road if you discover you bought the wrong piece.
If you are replacing old equipment, use this opportunity to meet with experts and allow them to educate you on the latest technologies. Don’t simply replace the old unit with a newer version of itself. By choosing a different model, you may discover you can reduce gas, water and electricity – or perhaps even introduce a new time-saving technology to your kitchen!
Remember to Consider All of the Costs
When buying or replacing a piece of equipment, bear in mind that the actual cost of the unit is just one part of the equation. There is also the time cost of training your staff on how to properly use the new equipment. Other start-up costs include removal of the original unit and installation of the new equipment. The good news is that a lot of the start-up costs are covered when you purchase a new piece of equipment from a leading manufacturer!
Leave it to the Pros
Restauranteurs often believe they can just buy a new piece of equipment and have someone in the kitchen install it. Not so fast! The gas pressure, water pressure, electrical output and draw all need to be professionally tested to ensure they are working properly with the new unit. I’ve often seen pieces of expensive new equipment damaged before they have even been used, simply because the owner was reluctant to hire an expert for the installation. Don’t make the same mistake! If you’re in need of a recommendation, Key Food Equipment Services, Maestro Food Equipment Services and Pinnacle Food Equipment Services are three service companies I highly recommend.
10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Service Provider
When hiring a company to service your kitchen equipment, it can be a challenge to determine who to trust and what a fair price is based on value. So we’ve come up with a list of important questions you should ask during the selection process:
- How quickly can they can dispatch a technician to your location and resolve the problem?
- Do they provide 24/7 service?
- What do they offer for planned maintenance programs? Can it be done after hours for a fair cost?
- Do they stock the most commonly replaced parts for critical pieces of equipment in your business and major brands you may consider purchasing in the future?
- What is their procedure for getting parts in that they don’t stock?
- Do they have start-up and warranty authorization for major brands?
- Does the service company receive ongoing training from the top manufacturers?
- How many technicians do they have that are fully trained?
- What certifications do they have? CFESA is one certification I recommend asking about.
- Do they have cost variances for multiple locations/volume business?
If you are in a remote location, I realize you may not be able to check all of these boxes. In that case, I recommend reaching out to the nearest McDonald’s, A&W or Tim Hortons to see which service company they use and make sure that you are benefiting from their best practices and relationships based on chain size.
Whether you’re considering a complete overhaul of your kitchen or just want to upgrade a single piece of equipment, we can assist you with all the moving parts involved in making such a major purchase. Please feel free to reach out to us if you’re interested in finding out how we can help!
— Trish Hudson