Monthly Archives: July 2018

What to Buy Before Opening a Restaurant

New Restaurant EquipmentFor restaurant owners just starting out, the search for the right equipment and supplies can be daunting. Figuring out exactly what you need is a difficult task. For any restaurant, there will be a long list of equipment and supplies that need to be procured before even opening, and that list is different for each person and each restaurant.

Determining What Equipment You Need

The equipment you need will largely depend on your menu and your restaurant concept. However, here are a few general guidelines to follow when you first make up the list of equipment you want to purchase:

Limit yourself. When deciding how much equipment you need, the key is to limit your equipment. Evaluate your menu to determine the fewest pieces of equipment that are needed to produce all of the dishes. For example, if you own a sandwich shop, your absolutely essential equipment needs might be limited to a commercial refrigeratorsrefrigerated prep tablesice machines and meat slicers.

Add strategic extras. The list of essential equipment should be your basis for purchasing. However, if you have extra room in the kitchen and enough extra capital, you can purchase extra pieces: for example, a commercial food processor or cheesemelter. While this equipment may not be a necessity, it can reduce the kitchen labor required to produce your menu, enhance the final taste or appearance of the food or make your kitchen more flexible in case you need to change your menu in the future.

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Determining What Supplies You Need

Most commercial kitchens need basic kitchen utensils on hand, such as scoops, spoons and spatulas. Often, fledgling restaurant owners overlook purchasing these necessities until the last minute, so before opening, be sure to consider even the smallest things you will need.

Speed up your kitchen. Purchase handy food prep supplies, like vegetable cutters and slicers for high volume produce. Commercial kitchen tools like these can help increase your workers’ productivity.

Stock up for storage. The last thing you want to do is overlook your storage requirements. Every restaurant will need food storage and shelving to hold its supplies. Many full-service restaurants will also require food service carts to help move supplies from one area of the kitchen to another.

Do not overlook the tabletop. Every restaurant will need smallwares. Quick-service establishments will need disposable restaurant supplies, while full-service restaurants will need reusable dinnerware and drinkware. Most restaurants will also need other supplies for their tabletop, like condiment containerstabletop signs and food baskets.

Remember food safety supplies. Gloves, pot holdershairnets and thermometers are easy to overlook, but they include essential items that any commercial kitchen needs to meet strict health codes and keep workers and customers safe.

Finding the Right Equipment and Supplies

Every restaurant is different and therefore has different equipment requirements. Using a buying guide or speaking directly with an expert will empower you to make the best possible decisions when purchasing equipment.

Think about going green. Purchasing eco-friendly restaurant equipment and supplies is a good way to help the environment and attract customers at the same time. It will also help you save a significant amount of money on your utility bills.

Consider used or discounted equipment. On a tight budget? You may want to look into buying used equipment or equipment that is cosmetically damaged. Although there is some risk involved, for some restaurant operations, this is a viable option. Check out this blog post on the pros and cons of used restaurant equipment.

Finding a Good Dealer

You can often get a better deal if you choose one restaurant supply dealer and stick with it. Since you order all of your supplies from one business, you are likely to receive a discount. To find a dealer that is right for you, you must first consider your priorities. Usually, your priorities will include one or more of the following:

  • Price. While a local dealer may offer excellent pricing, usually the least expensive products can be found online. However, the cheapest online dealers usually offer low prices but lack the customer care services and expertise that can be found with higher-priced online or brick-and-mortar dealers.
  • Expertise. Speak directly with salespeople to determine their level of expertise. If the salespeople seem to be experts at making a sales pitch, rather than having knowledge about the actual products they are selling, it may be time to find another dealer.
  • Customer Service. When buying expensive equipment, any restaurant owner should make sure that their dealer offers superior customer service. Without good customer care, if you receive damaged equipment or your equipment does not live up to your expectations for any reason, you may be stuck with it.
  • Installation. One of the major advantages of buying from a local restaurant equipment dealer is that they will often provide you with equipment installation, for a fee. If you buy your equipment online or at an auction, you are less likely to find installation included in the package. However, some online dealers, such as www.Burkett.com, will help you find someone to install the equipment.

When looking for a good dealer, it is also important to look into the following:

  • Shipping costs
  • Return policies
  • Parts availability

Finding the right equipment and supplies at a good price from a reasonable dealer is a major aspect of opening a restaurant. If you do not have the right supplies from the right dealer, it will end up hurting your bottom line in the long run. Be sure to carefully consider your equipment and supply needs, as well as your choice of dealer, before you begin to purchase.

Top Commercial Ice Machines for Healthcare Facilities

In a healthcare facility, ice is used for specific tasks including post-operative use, dietary needs and treatment to reduce swelling and inflammation. For each of these tasks, ice needs to be readily available within an easy to use and easy to maintain unit. Let’s take a look at the best ice machines for healthcare facilities.

Residential Care, Hospitals and Doctor’s Offices: Countertop Nugget Ice Machine and Dispenser

For busy doctor’s offices or hallways within hospitals and residential care facilities, nothing beats the convenience of dependable countertop ice machines and dispensers. With this type of commercial ice machine within reach, medical staff can retrieve ice quickly and within close proximity to treatment areas.

Nugget ice is ideal for healthcare facilities as it is easy to chew, easy to mold and slow to melt, making it the best choice for dietary needs and ice packs. The dispenser mechanism speeds up the process for retrieving ice and minimizes the risk of cross-contamination. Ideally, healthcare facilities should look for countertop ice machine dispensers with touch-free controls. This type of control dispenses ice when a cup or other receptacle is sensed under the chute. Some dispensing ice machines are constructed with a built-in water dispenser as well.

Burkett Recommends: The Scotsman 260 Lb Air Cooled Nugget Style Wall Mount Ice Machine/Dispenser

Emergency Rooms and Laboratories: Undercounter Ice Machines

An Undercounter Ice Machine is a self-contained ice maker with an attached storage bin. This type of ice machine is designed to fit under countertop areas and provide quick access to ice without getting in the way of the fast-paced environment of an emergency room. Undercounter ice machines are also ideal for laboratories as they leave valuable countertop areas free for charts and documents.

Undercounter ice machines are available for every style of ice. However, flake, nugget and cube ice are most often used in ER’s and laboratory settings. Flake ice is perfect for sculpting into therapeutic ice molds, cube ice is very slow to melt and nugget ice offers a chewable texture for patients. When shopping for an undercounter ice machine, be sure to measure the total space available, which includes height, depth and width. Also, consider how the bin door opens.

Ice-O-Matic ICEU150HA Burkett Recommends: The Ice-O-Matic 185 Lb Self-Contained Half Cube Ice Machine

Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine: Flake Ice Machine and Bin Combination

Flake ice is perfect for filling or molding ice packs for therapeutic use. Shopping for a flake ice machine and a separate bin can be confusing and time-consuming. We suggest purchasing an ice machine and bin combination unit that is already matched up and ready to install. The full-size floor model combination units are perfect for physical therapy and sports medicine clinics as they provide a large volume of ice on a daily basis.

When shopping for a combination flake ice machine and storage bin unit, be sure to note the daily yield of ice produced as well as the bin’s total storage capacity.

Burkett Recommends: The Manitowoc 205 Lb Flake Ice Machine with Storage Bin

Find the right ice machine for your healthcare facility and keep your patients happy and healthy. With the right specifications in place, you can have a quiet, efficient and dependable ice machine for years to come.

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