So, You Need Some Restaurant Equipment: Important Questions to Ask Before You Purchase

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Running a restaurant is a complex, exciting business. From menu planning and hiring staff, to managing expenses and keeping your kitchen in tip top condition with well-maintained cooking equipment. Commercial cooking equipment is a large investment that needs some research and planning.

New Equipment 

If you are purchasing equipment for a new foodservice establishment, the first thing to consider is the menu. This will determine your expected product mix and type of equipment needed.

Then you should ask these questions:

  • How much room do you need/have for your kitchen?
  • Do you need a vent hood? If you have one, what size of equipment can you fit under it?
  • Do you need gas or electric?
  • Are there budget constraints?
  • Do you prefer heavy duty, efficient, or economy?

Using your product mix and number of seats in the dining room, you should be able to loosely calculate how many covers you can expect during peak periods, thus determining size and quantity of equipment needed. A typical restaurant kitchen (cook line, dish room, walk-ins, storage, prep area) is about 40% of the entire restaurant.

After taking these steps, it should be easy to decide on what type of equipment is needed (refrigeration, range, griddle, charbroiler, fryer, bar equipment, ice machine, ware washing, etc.).

Replacement Equipment 

If you are replacing an existing piece of equipment, here are some additional questions to ask:

  • How much did you like the equipment you are replacing?
  • Was the previous unit able to meet or exceed your demands?
  • Was it easy and affordable to maintain?
  • Did you get the life expectancy you wanted?

If you didn’t answer yes to all these questions, you might consider replacing it with a different make or model. If you don’t know exactly what you are looking for—but know what features you need—one of our knowledgeable sales representatives can point you in the right direction. 

What Brand Should I Buy? 

I recommend purchasing equipment that is made in the USA and/or has a good reputation. Make sure that the equipment has the proper Certification Marks (NSF, UL, CSA, ETL, etc.) and comes with a good warranty. Some manufacturers will boast about how great their warranty is, but having a warranty doesn’t mean anything if you cannot find a service provider to perform the warranty work on their equipment. I would highly recommend contacting a service provider that you trust and have used in the past to ask their opinion on the piece of equipment you plan to purchase. The service tech will be able to give you a great perspective on warranty claims, quality of and ease of acquiring parts, and overall quality of the equipment.

There are many manufacturers, different types of equipment and a plethora of options and accessories that go with equipment. Whether you are purchasing economy equipment to get the doors open, or heavier duty to get the performance, life span and energy savings, it would be wise to consult a consultant at Curtis Restaurant Supply.

Case in point, we have seen restaurateurs pick equipment based on cooking features without regard to its power requirements. Will it require gas or electric? If it is electric, there are variables such as correct voltage, watts, phases and amps. Getting the electric wrong can be a very costly learning experience. We have the experience and knowledge to help you get what you need and make informed decisions. 

Is it Cheaper Online? 

Can you get it cheaper if you buy the equipment online? No…not really. If you purchase online, your equipment will be shipped to your address and dropped off in the box at the curb. You can pay additional fees if you need a lift-gate or if you want the item assembled and set in place. But this adds extra delivery time from your online source.

I can’t speak for all restaurant supply dealers, but at Curtis Restaurant Supply, we will receive your equipment, uncrate, inspect, assemble, and set in place*. By doing so, we can catch any freight damage or factory defects that could cost you a lot of money and time if you were to buy online.

When opening a restaurant, time is money. An online dealer will ship different equipment pieces from various manufacturers at random times causing you numerous headaches. We will manage the process for you making sure you receive your equipment when you want it. For example, delivering your plumbed equipment in time to install and meet your deadline for inspections, and all your plug-in equipment later after the finish construction is completed. Any piece of equipment delivered outside the optimum time frame is subject to damage, loss or can delay your opening time-frame. 

Ask a Pro! 

As you look to purchase or replace your commercial kitchen equipment, keep us in mind to help answer all your questions. An investment in quality restaurant equipment is an investment in your restaurant’s success. Having one of our commercial kitchen consultants involved early in the process can help eliminate any problems of equipment not fitting, gas/electric, and help set-up installation if needed.

* Not included with drop ships and depends on site readiness.


Curtis Price

Sales Manager at Curtis Restaurant Supply. Curtis loves connecting with customers. Whether it's in the kitchen or on the golf course, he makes sure they have the tools they need to make their business a success.

Blog Comments

Thanks for pointing out that you must consider if there are budget constraints after determining the menu of the restaurant that will require kitchen equipment. This reminded me of the restaurant that I always see near my workplace. I heard one of the staff saying that they are planning to purchase new restaurant equipment. I could imagine the need for them to stick to their budget to keep their finances on track.

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