A restaurant is one of the most complicated businesses — and that’s before you consider the kitchen. Your commercial kitchen will eat up a significant portion of your business budget before launch and every month thereafter as you fill it with large, expensive equipment and keep those tools in good, working order. Because it is hardly an expense you can avoid, you should be sure to make the right choices when equipping your kitchen, and to do that successfully, you need to ask the right questions.
Despite how complex commercial kitchens can be, there are only a few equipment questions that really matter. Read on for an explanation of the most important considerations for your kitchen, so you can see your restaurant reach success.
Questions about your restaurant’s size are among the most important because they determine so many features of your commercial kitchen equipment, often in ways you might not initially consider. Here are the most important questions about size and why they matter:
How large is your commercial kitchen space?
You should know the square footage of your kitchen space by heart. Your kitchen is finite, meaning you can’t cram unlimited amounts of appliances and equipment into it. In fact, if your kitchen is smaller than average, you might have to make difficult decisions with regards to what appliances you install and what you can make do without. Before you make any buying decisions, you should map out your kitchen using exact measurements of the room and appliances you hope to install, to ensure everything fits.
How many guests do you expect to serve at once?
Your dining room has a substantial impact what your kitchen needs and how it functions, specifically in how large your dining room is. If your kitchen is the size of a cupboard but your dining room sits 250, you will need an exceedingly efficient kitchen to fill orders before guests become upset. When there is a disparity between kitchen and dining room size, you might prioritize filling your kitchen with more of the primary cooking appliances and fewer experimental or non-crucial tools.
When you make ramen, you use completely different tools and methods from when you make hamburgers. It’s not particularly useful to have a deep fryer on hand if your restaurant’s primary offerings are sushi rolls. You should already know what kind of food you plan to serve at your restaurant, and evaluating a rough sketch of your menu will point you toward the appliances your kitchen will need. If you aren’t an experienced chef, you should speak with your cook staff to better understand what tools they need to build the meals on your menu, preserve ingredients and more. Then again, it’s not uncommon for menus to change over time, so it could be beneficial to give your kitchen multi-use tools that can produce new creations in the future.
Although not the most important issue, the brands of appliances you choose can continue to impact the functionality of your kitchen as well as your restaurant’s budget. Different brands tend to have reputations for different attributes, such as longevity, quality and efficiency; for example, Vulcan stoves are known for long-lasting appliances, and Vulcan stove parts tend to be equally reliable. Typically, U.S.-made appliances tend to be higher quality and come with better warranties than anything foreign.
Before you buy, you need to know as much as possible about the brand and the exact tool, so you can avoid costly mistakes. For example, buying an electric appliance and using the wrong voltage, watts, phases or amps can cause damage that voids your warranty and requires extensive repair. The more informed you are before you buy, the safer your investment will be. You should also investigate how different makes and models of kitchen equipment need to be maintained, and you should cultivate a relationship with a qualified service provider to ensure your equipment remains in peak condition.
The better your kitchen, the better your service, and the better your service, the happier and more loyal your guests. Outfitting a commercial kitchen isn’t a matter of guesswork; you need to perform ample research and make careful and responsible decisions to ensure your staff has what it needs to meet demand. When your kitchen is working like a well-oiled machine, the restaurant business becomes a little less dauntingly complex and a little more enjoyably profitable.