Braising pans are among the most versatile pieces of commercial kitchen equipment capable of cooking large amounts of food. It’s as close to a miracle tool as a chef could get.
Whether you are opening a restaurant, a hotel kitchen, or a new catering business, shopping for new food service equipment can be stressful. Major appliance costs can add up quickly and choosing the wrong equipment can limit your menus for years to come.
Follow these tips to make shopping easier and to get the commercial kitchen equipment you need.
1. Get Your Chef Involved
What will be on your menu, and how will that affect which appliances you choose? Talk to your chef to find the best answers to these questions. Your chef will have a better understanding of exactly what you need — such as convection ovens versus combination ovens — or whether you might need more than one of the same types of appliance. Your chef should know what your kitchen needs.
2. Focus on Versatility
Versatility can be a tiebreaker if you’re torn between two models. Versatility might mean spending more money up front but enhancing your kitchen’s efficiency could cover added costs in the long run. Versatility is also important when dealing with smaller kitchen spaces. You will need to do more with less if you lack the space for lots of equipment.
3. Look for the NSF Logo
Always look for kitchen equipment certified by the National Sanitation Foundation. On either the product or its packaging, you will find a blue, circular logo with “NSF” in bold, white letters. The NSF puts food service equipment through rigorous tests to ensure it is safe, clean, and easily maintained in commercial kitchen settings. Also, kitchen equipment with NSF certifications are almost certain to meet the most up-to-date health codes in your area.
4. Consider Your Traffic Volume
Quick-service restaurants are the fastest-growing segment of the food service industry. These restaurants usually have limited menus and churn out lots of food for higher volumes of customers — examples are sandwich shops and burrito bars where foods are prepared and served on an assembly line. If you plan on opening a quick-service restaurant, then you’ll want to invest in equipment ideal for these fast-paced kitchens. This means possibly conveyor ovens, accelerated ovens, microwaves, additional food preparation and storage supplies, and more.
5. Research Warranty Coverage
Warranty coverage is invaluable when spending large sums of money on commercial kitchen equipment. When considering new appliances, always research the standard warranty coverage in addition to extended warranty options. Manufacturer warranties will say which maintenance must be done on a regular basis to keep the warranty valid, and some manufacturers offer programs that cover regular maintenance for a set number of years.
Good warranty coverage can get your kitchen up and running again in the event of disaster. It is worth the investment.
6. Consider Your Kitchen Size
How big is your kitchen space? The available space in your kitchen will affect its design and, by extension, your choices of equipment. Larger kitchens can use “ring” or “island” layouts with room for additional cooking and food prep stations, but smaller kitchens might be limited to “galley” layouts where space-saving appliances might be more desirable.
7. Invest in Energy-Efficiency
When possible, choose energy-efficient kitchen equipment to save money on long-term utility costs. Ovens, steamers, and griddles often consume more energy than other pieces of kitchen equipment. Replacing or updating your kitchen to run on energy-efficient appliances is good for the environment and your bottom line. It is an easy improvement that does not affect the workflow of your kitchen.
How FSX Can Help You save Money
FSX is the best way to save on overstock, discontinued, and scratch & dent models food service equipment. Finding these products used to be difficult because so many brick-and-mortar dealers have closed. Now Food Service Exchange, or FSX, makes it easy to find these products on sale for thousands of dollars below full retail value.
Most equipment and supplies on FSX are just 1 to 3 years old and in pristine condition. Products with dents or scratches clearly noted and usually sold with bigger discounts. Also, most listed equipment and supplies are still covered by their original manufacturer warranties. This is the best way to cut costs without buying used.
To see our latest deals on food service equipment, click here.