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Restaurant equipment planning guide

Kitchen equipment is a considerable expense for a new restaurant. On average, new restaurants spend $115,655 for kitchen and bar equipment when establishing their businesses.

The real difficulty, of course, is determining not only what equipment you need for your restaurant’s unique menu, but also how to source, install and maintain it. Here, we’ll discuss how to choose the kind of kitchen equipment that will pay off in the long run.

Busy Kitchen

Should you purchase new or used equipment?

You can cut costs in the kitchen by purchasing pre-used equipment. However, be cautious about what you purchase secondhand – gas equipment typically has a longer lifespan than electric appliances. Also the sale of used equipment may not include a warranty.

Buying some of your equipment used gives you more to spend on other equipment with shorter lifespans. These include fryers and ice machines that can require expensive replacement parts. Typically, new equipment will pay off the most in the long run and give you the least amount of hassle overall.

Don’t forget to consider refrigeration.

Refrigeration can be a complex and varied decision in your commercial kitchen. Do you need a blast chiller, an undercounter refrigerator or both? Do you have enough space for a walk-in refrigerator, or will you make do with multiple, divided types of refrigeration? It's essential to know what is needed to support your menu. When you understand what your space needs to function optimally, you can then review options and prices and determine what's the best fit for you. Our guide to choosing the right refrigeration equipment will help you ask the right questions.

It can be extremely helpful to work with a commercial kitchen design pro to assist in optimal efficiency planning. When you're ready to get started, contact a Boelter expert.

 Think about how you’ll set up your kitchen stations.

In stocking your kitchen, you first need to think about what each food preparation station will require. How many cutting boards will you need on the prep station? How many sauté pans will be required on the hot line? Additionally, you need to consider how you’ll stock each station with sufficient hot and cold storage in preparation for service.

Chefs at prep table

Buy the basics first.

Discuss with your chef and kitchen staff what is needed to prepare all the the dishes on your menu. Work backwards from serving, cooking, prepping, then storing. Always outfit your kitchen first with the basics before you add on the bells and whistles.

Cleaning supplies are important…

If you don’t keep a clean kitchen, then you’ll be violating health codes before you even open your doors! Prepare the kitchen with cleaning buckets, mops, hand soap and other essential cleaning tools. Educate your team on best practice cleaning methods and code compliance so everyone is familiar and can maintain clean standards. A good place to start is our list of tips to bring your facility up to code.

Woman mopping kitchen

… As is safety equipment.

A commercial kitchen can be a dangerous place if it’s not outfitted with safety equipment. Before you do much else, be sure to outfit the kitchen with rubber floor mats, a fire extinguisher and a First Aid kit. Ensure your chef and their team know how to operate the prep and cooking/baking equipment. A good dealer will be sure to offer some initial training for you and your staff. 

Use our safety checklist to keep your kitchen safe and accident-free.

Make sure you’re buying heavy-duty tabletop.

Just like you wouldn’t purchase an oven that was meant for residential use, you wouldn’t buy plates or flatware made for light use in someone’s home. Restaurant tabletop needs to be attractive, but more importantly, it needs to be durable. After all, you want it to be able to withstand many heavy-duty spins in the commercial dishwasher. There are many options and styles of tableware, so it can be particularly helpful to meet with a specialist for education and guidance on what will work best in your establishment.

Kitchen planning partners

For first-time or even seasoned restaurateurs, outfitting commercial kitchens can be a daunting challenge. Boelter Commercial Kitchen Solutions can help you design and construct an efficient, optimal kitchen that will boost your productivity and ROI. We can help you not only choose and install your kitchen equipment but also select supplies that will offer you the longest-lasting returns.

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