Chef Al’s Equipment Buyers Guide for first time restaurateurs
For first-time restaurateurs, this question can be daunting. This article will help you take the guesswork out of planning your kitchen, and help you evaluate your needs based on the space you have available. Note that this article covers your large kitchen equipment- you’ll also need to research smallwares, dining furniture and more to fully outfit your restaurant.
Does a hamburger house need a sushi table? What about a salad bar? Your menu is the first place to look when planning your kitchen equipment. Take pen to paper and virtually walk through every item on your menu, from cream sauces to fries to broiled fish. What pans will you need to sauté, and what else will you be using the stovetop for at the same time?
Work with your chefs to create a mock run-through of a high-volume night that utilizes every item on your menu- at the same time. While this scenario might not happen exactly, your kitchen needs to be prepared when it does- or you can be sure your high-volume nights won’t happen again.
Volume & Performance
A restaurant that deep-fries one menu appetizer needs a small (and inexpensive) fryer. A hamburger house that offers fries with every item on the menu needs to allocate significantly more budget money and space for a more industrial piece. While you can’t always predict what item will be the most popular on your menu, don’t sacrifice quality and turn-around time for a smaller piece of equipment that won’t do the job. Plan ahead for volume and ensure your equipment will handle it.
The basic pieces of every kitchen must begin with local health codes. Know your local health codes before you set foot in a retail store, and you won’t waste time and money exchanging equipment with pieces that are up to code.
Here are a few pieces most restaurants need to get started:
- -Scullery Sink
- -Hand Sink
- -Ice Machine
- -Prep Table
- -Convection Oven
As always, make sure you know your local health code specs before purchasing equipment for commercial use.