YOU DIDN'T CONSIDER REQUIREMENTS, HAVEN'T DONE YOUR RESEARCH, YOUR ONLY FOCUS IS THE PRICE, YOU DON'T PLAN FOR THE FUTURE, DIDN'T CONSIDER REFUSE, WATER VENTILATION, DIDN'T PHONE A FRIEND, DIDN'T CONSIDER DESIGN, FLOW OR BUILDING MATERIALS IN YOUR KITCHEN & NEGLECTED ALL THE CODES!
1. YOU DIDN'T CONSIDER YOUR REQUIREMENTS!
When you first envisioned opening a restaurant, what were your first thoughts?
"I can't wait to get a Michelin Star!"
"What will I call it?"
"What will it look like?"
"where will it be located?"
These are all great thoughts. Vision, ambition, drive, dreaming and goals are all vitally important character traits that will see you through the challenging journey of opening your own restaurant. But when we get down to the planning, business and finance of opening your own venue, it is vitally important that you understand:
What type venue are you opening?
How many people will it seat?
Is it take-away?
Is it fine dining?
Is it casual eating?
Is it drive through?
Is it self-service?
Every one of these questions will determine the commercial kitchen equipment requirements. These questions will dictate decisions such as:
Electric, open fire or Gas?
The size of the ovens.
The counter space required for preparations.
The ventilation considerations.
The cold room and storage capacity.
The washing and cleaning space and size requirements.
Know what you're about and consider everything you'll need before you even approach a supplier. When you do make the step and call up the professionals, they'll know you're serious and will be able to help you fill in the gaps.
2. YOU HAVEN'T DONE YOUR RESEARCH!
There are literally thousands of brands and commercial kitchen equipment suppliers. THOUSANDS.
Consider that your kitchen space will be the biggest investment that you will need to make in your hospitality venue. Google is the natural source to go to start the process of research. Once you understand your requirements Google will help you identify multiple brands related to your needs, YouTube will showcase videos of some of the brands and both channels will direct you to reviews, overviews and feedback on some of the options available.
Here's the CATCH! Google will only get you so far. Every company will put their best foot forward online, those with the online support will pay to have you see their products first in your search, but not every company is a technical fundi with the savvy to get their brand onto the first 5 pages of Google. If we're being honest, if you make it to page 3 of google during your research, you've gone further than most. remember, in Google, page one doesn't equal quality, it doesn't equal product support, it doesn't equal availability.
A useful thought would be to find a commercial kitchen equipment supplier that houses a range of brands. This may cost you a little extra in the beginning, but the wealth of industry knowledge that these folks have on every aspect of each piece of equipment is invaluable. You will save time and costly mistakes if you have not been in the industry for a good period.
A commercial kitchen supplier, such as Open Project Group, has a complete database of knowledge ranging from the largest oven to the smallest handheld appliance. We know how to install every aspect of the kitchen and understand how it interacts with the regulations and design of the public space in the restaurant. We are also experienced in the art of custom kitchens and stainless steel, meaning, if there is a space that needs to be design with very specific details and processes in mind, we are able to marry the correct equipment, with a combination of well design and installed custom stainless steel work for the perfect fit.
3. YOUR ONLY FOCUS IS THE PRICE!
We all understand that the price factor of any commercial kitchen fit-out is of vital importance. We also understand that concessions will need to be made in certain areas. Another consideration here is to think about the cost of getting a cheaper brand or slightly less efficient model (without a great warranty, with no service available, with parts that need to be imported, that doesn't quite meet your capacity needs).
If a few hundred dollars (or thousand in some cases) will mean that your staff can perform optimally and service technicians are available in hours not weeks, the extra cost is often justified when considering the cost of being without that piece of equipment that forms a core part of your business.
Cost considerations can include:
- THE PRICE: What does it cost now, what will it cost in future?
- WARRANTY / GUARANTEE: Does it come with one, how long is it for, what does it cover? Is it possible to sign a service contract?
- MAINTENANCE: How much will it cost you each day to keep it in optimal performing condition?
- SERVICING: How much are service fees? call out fees?
- DEPRECIATION: What will its value be in two years’ time as opposed to another model?
- PARTS & AVAILABILITY: How much do parts cost? What is the availability of parts?
- STAFF NEGLIGENCE: What will repairs cost due to staff error? How much will staff training cost?
- CURRENT EQUIPMENT SETUP: Will the equipment slot in with your current equipment and current power / refuse etc set up? Will you need additional power, ports, plugs, different surrounding materials, additional ventilation? etc.
4. YOU DON'T THINK AND PLAN FOR THE FUTURE!
You need equipment NOW. You need equipment to function. You need the equipment to keep the cash flow turning, now. But what will you need in two years’ time? What are your goals for growth? DO you have plans to franchise? Do you have plans to build an extension? These questions should also be determining factors when making equipment purchases. With the correct maintenance and servicing, a quality piece of equipment will last a long time. But will it serve your future needs?
5. YOU DIDN'T CONSIDER REFUSE, WATER VENTILATION REGULATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS!
Consider the space your venue will be in. Existing or New?
How does the equipment release refuse?
How does it release Steam, hot air, smoke?
How does the equipment get power? Gas? Electric? Solar? Battery?
Does it have /need a water supply?
What safety regulations does the building have?
What safety regulations does the equipment have?
6. YOU DIDN'T PHONE A FRIEND, OR TWO, OR THREE!
Talk to as many colleagues, friends and acquaintances in the hospitality industry as you can. Each person will have different experiences and knowledge of different equipment and aspects. The more first-hand information you are exposed to, the easier it will be to make decisions and go to suppliers with first-hand information and questions at the ready.
Involve your team in decisions when making new purchases. Communication and discussion will help to make the best choices.
7. YOU DIDN'T CONSIDER DESIGN, FLOW OR BUILDING MATERIALS IN YOUR KITCHEN!
A well design, carefully planned kitchen is a safe, clean and efficient working environment.
Here are some considerations when planning the design of your commercial kitchen:
- Poorly designed ventilation will not only be a danger to your staff, it will also lead to odours and greasy dirt accumulation, increasing the time and maintenance required to keep your space clean and fresh.
- You chose 'pretty' building materials rather than safe, durable and easy to clean ones. Consider non-slip, heat and cold resistance, anti-microbial worktops and safe, bright lighting.
- You didn't consider landing spots for completed components.
- You didn't think about the space required to prepare or clean up. Where will you put dirty dishes, where will you clean them and where will they go when they're clean? Think the whole kitchen process through from the minute you pick up an ingredient to the moment you hand it over to be served. Walk it out!
- What about deliveries? Where will they arrive? Where will the go after arrival? When will they arrive? Do you need a sign-in desk?
8. DON'T NEGLECT THE CODES!
You'll spend a substantial amount of time applying and updating certifications, codes and regulations. Laws can change as fast as your shifts. Once you have all your certifications and understand the requirements that the regulations have on your business, don't get complacent! Keep yourself updated with new developments and codes that may be required of you. It just takes one dissatisfied customer or one disgruntled employee to make a code violation complaint and your business could be shut down indefinitely.
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