8 Questions to Ask Before Upgrading Commercial Kitchen Equipment
With the approach of spring, in a typical year the commercial foodservice equipment industry starts to look forward to the National Restaurant Show where many foodservice equipment and supply manufacturers introduce the latest innovations in commercial kitchen equipment. Innovations in Warewashing Equipment, Cooking Equipment, Food Prep Equipment, Serving ware, Storage and Transport and just about every type of product is on display.
Unfortunately, there won’t be a 2021 NRA show but there will still be new equipment with different functions and capabilities, greater efficiency and improved performance than the current products available. It’s easy to be convinced that you need the latest piece of kitchen equipment when the new version has more features and functions that the equipment you own. It is also important to be sure you’re investing in upgrades that make sense for your commercial foodservice operation. Before making a purchase, ask these 8 questions to decide if an equipment upgrade is the right decision for you.
1. Will this equipment purchase or upgrade help your operation generate more revenue?
2. Are you getting programable capabilities that reduce or automate manual tasks, reduce operator time and decrease labor costs?
3. Can it support more than one menu item and serve multiple functions?
4. If the equipment is intended for a limited menu offering, how long will it take to get a return on your purchase investment? Is the specialization worthy of the investment or can you utilize it for another task?
5. If there is a change in service needs, can the equipment be relocated so it is still contributing to revenue; like moving from front of the house to back of the house?
6. Is it functionally flexible enough that it be transformed to serve a different purpose if needed, such as converting from customer self-service to employee operated or moving from a serving line to grab-n-go?
7. Is it easy to operate? If staff changes are frequent, turnover is high or someone calls in sick, can someone else easily step in to operate it?
8. Is the equipment manufacturer local or do they have a reputable service partner so that parts and services are readily available with limited downtime should repairs or service be required?
There have been some significant shifts in foodservice over the last year and flexibility and versatility are important to being able to adapt to the changes that have happened and that are on the horizon. Asking these questions before making the decision to upgrade your kitchen equipment can help you to invest in equipment that will be a great decision today and in a year.