Shopping for new food service equipment can be stressful. Follow these tips to make shopping easier and to get the commercial kitchen equipment you need.
Purchasing commercial restaurant equipment online can save you a significant amount of time. Buying online allows you to browse all possible options from multiple vendors in one place. It can also save you money since you can compare prices and features – ultimately finding the best fit for you. To make the right choice for your food service operation, you will need to keep a few key factors in mind.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important factors to consider when buying commercial restaurant equipment online.
High-quality food service kitchen equipment will maximize up-time and efficiency – lasting the test of time. While high-quality equipment comes in all shapes and sizes, the following brands and distributors, amongst others, provide the level of quality you should be looking for:
- TriMark R.W. Smith
- Arc Cardinal
- Ford Hotel Supply
- InterMetro Industries Corporation
Normally, you would also look at food service restaurant equipment before purchasing, however, buying online does not allow for this. A way to determine the quality of the product is by researching the company’s reputation. Check the website with reputation sources – this may include reading the company’s reviews on review sites, and even checking for a Better Business Bureau rating.
2. Buying New or Used Equipment
On one hand, used cooking equipment can save you money. That said, you’ll want to look very carefully at the condition of the used restaurant equipment you are considering purchasing. Non-electric or non-mechanical pieces, such as prep stations, are typically reasonable to buy used. Older electrical kitchen equipment, on the other hand, may be expensive to operate and highly likely to break down. Expensive repairs can negate all the savings you made from buying used equipment in the first place. New equipment, in general, is likely to have a much longer lifespan than used equipment. Most new equipment will often provide a better warranty as well.
As mentioned, shopping online is an excellent way to seek out the best price. However, it’s important to make apples to apples quality comparisons. A good price and acceptable quality provide the best value. Unless there is a need for the latest models, without blemishes, consider websites that have discontinued models or scratch and dent units.
4. Power Requirements
Before browsing for any new restaurant equipment, you should familiarize yourself with your building’s utilities. The power setup in your kitchen will dictate which unit you are able to install. For equipment that is powered electronically, you will need to meet the correct voltage, phase, and amp requirements. For equipment that is powered by gas, you will need to determine whether you have natural gas or liquid propane hookups.
Even with smaller pieces of equipment, you want to check that they align with your power sources, because otherwise, you may have to run an extension cord across your kitchen work area, which can be very dangerous. Planning the power sources in your layout helps you to avoid any trouble once equipment is delivered to your operation. Restaurant equipment listings should clearly state the power requirements of the units. Buying any equipment before checking these important details is taking a massive risk.
Dimensions for equipment should be clearly stated on the website you are browsing through since you will not be able to measure the equipment in person. Spec sheets or manuals with full diagrams of the equipment should also be available for you to view. Some other key considerations include:
- If the model comes with legs, casters, or handles that protrude outwards
- Your doorway’s height and width, as well as the area where you want to put the equipment
- Making sure to include any clearance space that will be needed around the unit for venting and/or maintenance
- The buyer of used restaurant equipment is also responsible for installation. The cost of installation can be very high, so you will need to evaluate that cost as part of the overall buying decision
6. Support and Privacy
To ensure the website you are searching on is secure, look for a valid SSL certificate (https), or check alternative resources. You will want to avoid a few large companies that have been breached in the past due to a website vulnerability. Reading the company’s customer privacy policies helps you to make sure that specific operation is committed to protecting your information.
Another feature to look out for is live customer support. If you are in need of assistance with your purchase, do not hesitate to call or email to get that support. You should feel comfortable that your questions will be answered and your issues will be solved. Look for a company that has live, professional customer support so you can get all your questions and concerns answered.
While most orders are shipped through a shipping company such as FedEx, some items that surpass certain size or weight limitations must go through a common carrier. During the shipping process, you will be informed of these limitations, but it’s important to note that if your equipment is being shipped by common carrier, there may be some additional hurdles for you. For example, if you don’t have a loading dock, you may need a lift gate service so you can lower the item from the truck container to the ground. Another delivery option you may have is a “white glove” delivery service. If you choose this method of delivery, trained movers will bring your equipment inside your operation and unpack it for you.
By keeping the above items in mind while looking for restaurant equipment online, you will likely find it to be a seamless experience. Searching online gives you unlimited options, whether you’re looking for large or smaller pieces of equipment.