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           How Restaurant Equipment Affects Operations

Proper restaurant equipment is just one of the many components of a successful
restaurant operation. Good equipment will cut down your energy bill and check
times, making your restaurant more efficient, productive and profitable.

Selecting the right restaurant equipment can be a daunting task, but you can ensure
that you’ll choose the right equipment if you start with your menu, plan ahead and
make smart investments.

Equipment needs

Standard restaurant equipment includes refrigerators and preparation and cooking
equipment.

Refrigerators will prevent bacterial growth and maximize the shelf life of perishable
foods. Preparation equipment, such as food processors, will accelerate cook times
and save a great deal of labour

Your costliest kitchen expense will be cooking equipment. This usually includes
ranges (open burners), deep fryers, broilers, ovens and salamanders (top heat).

The best way to ensure that you get the proper equipment for your restaurant is to
consult the person who will be using it - your chef. They will be familiar with your
menu and know what kind of equipment is necessary to meet its needs.

Steps towards selecting the necessary restaurant equipment:

Consult your menu

Not all restaurants have identical menus, so why should they have identical
equipment? Before making any restaurant equipment purchases, you should take
your menu into consideration.

Your restaurant’s cooking techniques and serving sizes, along with the type of food
that you serve can help determine what equipment you should purchase for your
kitchen. This may also be determined by what type of fuel you cook with. For
instance, a restaurant that serves a lot of Asian dishes may benefit from cooking
with propane because it produces an intense heat. Other fuel options include wood,
natural gas, electric, steam and heating oil.

Also, as your restaurant becomes established in the community, it is likely to receive
an increase in volume. Take this, along with considerations for future menu
development into account as you assess your restaurant kitchen equipment needs.
Should you purchase some mobile pieces? Will your ovens be able to handle future
volume?

Without considering the particular needs of your menu, you may end up with the
wrong amount of space, storage or refrigeration.



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Plan ahead

Restaurant equipment selection should precede the restaurant design process. By
planning ahead, you can designate where equipment should be placed, working it
into the overall traffic pattern of your kitchen floor plan. This will make equipment
easily accessible to employees and help avoid traffic flow problems.

When purchasing equipment for newly-built restaurants, conduct a walk-through
with your general contractor and electrician to ensure you are in compliance with
code regulations. Work with them to develop an emergency shut-off procedure for
your restaurant equipment. Request a full set of building and equipment plans for
your operational files. Also, contact your local government agencies for any specialty
licensing or permit requirements.

Consider working with a restaurant design consultant who has the know-how to
suitably incorporate your restaurant equipment into your kitchen layout. Sensible
equipment placement will help your employees provide better, faster service,
contributing to overall restaurant efficiency.

Once you have determined what equipment you need, shop around for good value.
Making smart equipment investments will save you a bundle in the long run.

Equipment maintenance and safety

Proper restaurant equipment maintenance will save you money on your energy bill
and repairs and ultimately cut costs. Well-maintained restaurant equipment will also
ensure a more sanitary and safe kitchen.

Creating an equipment maintenance logbook will help you keep up with the
maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer. Filling out warranty
cards will give you recourse if the restaurant equipment you purchased turns out to
be defective. Warranty cards also help manufacturers reach customers if the product
they purchased needs to be recalled.

Post phone numbers for restaurant equipment repairs on your equipment where
possible. Maintenance procedures should also be posted in designated areas in case
repairs must be executed in house. If your restaurant uses complex equipment, hire
a reliable maintenance technician and make sure that preventative maintenance is
performed.

Always conduct a test run before using any new restaurant equipment. Run the ice
machine, empty it, sanitize it and refill it. Check the walk-in and refrigeration
temperatures. Calibrate the temperatures for your fryers, griddle, oven and stove.

Careful selection, planning and maintenance of restaurant equipment will ensure a
smooth restaurant operation.

Do you want to learn how to master the techniques to understand the key areas that
are considered ‘high risk’ or ‘targeted’ areas within the kitchen and restaurant
facilities? Do you want to develop a stock storage and handling system?




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