Catering equipment is the driving force behind any catering business. It is crucial that you spend some time planning your operation before purchasing any catering equipment. There may be a huge difference between the equipment you want and the equipment you need for the job and selecting the right ones will contribute to the ease and success of your catering operation.
Here are some tips on selecting the right catering equipment:
o Plan ahead. It’s like your mise-en-place or your preparation before operation. Your level of planning and preparation will determine your success. Remember: people who fail to plan, plan to fail.
o If it’s a new venture, you need to decide on how much space you are allocating to your commercial kitchen and how much to your customers. The kitchen space should be proportionate to the maximum number of customers you will be serving. Think of your kitchen as the engine of your catering operation. A small kitchen will struggle to cope with large numbers.
o Decide on what type of food you are going to produce. This will pinpoint your equipment needs.
o Establish the maximum number of people you will be serving. This will help you decide on the size or performance of the equipment.
o Decide on the lay-out. It is best to consult with a professional designer as you need to give consideration to where the equipment is placed, the service space for your staff, traffic flow and many other factors.
o Research the brands to ensure you are buying quality equipment. Base your decision on quality and performance and then try to buy at best possible price. Many people try to economise and opt for second hand equipment. Good second hand equipment is hard to find and even when you do find it the chances of break down in the middle of service is high.
o Inferior quality equipment is just as bad as the second hand. Remember that you need to depend on the equipment every day to produce good quality products and earn your living.
o Ensure there is decent warranty and after sales service with the equipment. Although all suppliers conduct the warranty work during business hours Monday to Friday, it is good to know that they have trained technicians and spare parts to come and repair your equipment quickly.
o Take out a preventative maintenance agreement with your supplier or have your equipment serviced regularly to ensure it’s always working to optimum performance.
o Learn how to use your equipment and ensure your staff is familiar with the operational procedures of the equipment. This will prolong the life of your equipment, will prevent injuries or tragedies and create staff satisfaction.
o Clean your equipment regularly and keep it clean. Hygiene is very important when it comes to handling and preparing food and beverage products.
The above guide should help you select the right catering equipment for your operation. If in doubt, please consult with your supplier to ensure you get the best catering equipment for your needs.