Buying restaurant equipment is often overlooked, yet this is probably the most expensive part in the process – unless you buy the building, rather than rent it.
Most people focus on the right place, names, and menus… When the equipment comes into play, they are surprised by how expensive it can get.
Luckily, there are ways to get ready for this major step. Assuming everything else is done, here is how to be fully prepared before buying the restaurant equipment.
Plan the menu
This step is critical. It is not about the type of restaurant or cuisine, but about the actual menu. Come up with all the dishes, categories, and types of food you will bring in.
Every single type of meal – even a basic omelet – must be considered in the process. After all, once you know the menu, you know how to prepare it and all the items you will need.
Moreover, the menu will also tell you what kind of appliances you need and how many of them. Sometimes, you could skip basic items – it all depends on what you do.
Whether you cook yourself or hire a chef, sit down with them and plan everything in the menu before deciding on the kitchen equipment.
Come up with a list
Then, you must come up with a list. Take each item and write down what you need for it. You can use a pan for more things, so you can save some when looking for small business loans for restaurants.
If something needs the same type of equipment, you do not necessarily have to add it again to your list. Basic things must be purchased in high quantities – such as pans or pots.
Avoid grabbing catalogs to explore them. You will end up missing a lot of things that you actually need – on the same note, you will end up buying stuff that you may not necessarily require in the kitchen.
Decide on quantities as well, not to mention the budget for each item in particular or the extras you may require for special dishes.
At first, if your budget is limited, you could do with some manual work as well – you do not always need a machine to mix the dough if you have a few pizzas on the menu.
This step in your restaurant building process is not to fool around with. You have to stick to a budget if you want leftovers for supplies and employees.
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Measure the area
This is another step that many restaurant owners overlook when starting a business or perhaps updating the kitchen.
What is the point of buying lots of equipment when there is no room for it? You may need to put something away in order to use something else if you have a small kitchen.
Sure, small bowls or pans will not really become a problem – the real issue occurs when you invest in large appliances, and you fail to measure the space.
If you need a stove, a grill, a sink, or a dishwasher (or even more of them), measurements are mandatory in the process. You need to know how much space is left.
You do not want to end up returning large items just because they are too large – a waste of both time and money.
Apart from the actual space, measure the cabinet space too, the space for appliances and the entryways – another big issue, as you need those items to go through.
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Make a budget
A budget will push you in the right direction. Sure, you should have a clue about how much things cost in general, but stick to a budget. When talking to suppliers, you need to go within your range.
Suppliers will often work with you and can provide all kinds of benefits – financing is also an option, but not always the best deal.
Having a budget may, indeed, restrict your decisions a little. However, it is worth the effort – what is the point of buying equipment that you cannot afford?
You can always invest in a new and fancy grill with features that you do not need, but a basic grill that is well put together will get the job done too.
You will need a separate budget for everything – appliances, cookware, equipment, glassware, and utensils. On the same note, it is worth considering prices from more suppliers too.
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Energy efficiency is a must
Energy efficiency is not a top priority, but it will save you hundreds each month. Sometimes, it is worth seeing that energy star, even if such appliances cost a bit more.
They will practically pay for themselves in the long run due to the low energy prices. This way, you can also promote your business as an energy-efficient one – great for those with environmental ideas.
Finally, keep an eye on warranties as well.
Bottom line, while you can always come up with a loan or find financing in a different way, it still pays off doing your homework upfront.
Just because you have the money or you can get it, it does not mean that you can go on a spending spree and invest in things that you do not actually need.
Plan everything in the smallest details, stick to things that you actually require and avoid random bells and whistles that only add to the price, without actually adding to your kitchen needs.