Whether you are thinking of starting or buying a restaurant, or perhaps you're already running one now, restaurant equipment, or the tools of the trade are incredibly important. The restaurant industry is a very busy, fast-paced one. When things go wrong, such as equipment breaking down, this will be a huge concern with a great amount of inconvenience, not to mention stress. Efficiency is key to customer satisfaction as well as for your staff. You certainly want your staff to work in a safe environment as well, to decrease any chance of potential injury. Here's what you need to know about buying or leasing equipment for your restaurant.
1. Lease Or Buy?
This is one of those questions that doesn't have a definite answer. The correct answer will depend on your situation. Can you afford to buy equipment? Some of the equipment will cost a huge amount. If you have the experience and the capital, buying would be the better option. Doing research and going with experience and reliability will help, but also make sure that you're relatively sure of what kind of volume you expect for your business. There's no point in buying something only to find out that you can't keep up with customers. You'll be thinking that you should have bought something three times the size. Or imagine buying something that doesn't fit in the specific corner! There are lots of little details that can be overlooked, so be careful.
You could also buy used equipment, but it poses its own problems as well. Why is someone selling it? Is it going to break down after two weeks? Whatever you choose, it really depends on your cash flow.
Though this appears to be a no-brainer, it can also cause a blatant oversight on your part. Once you buy equipment, it can consume all of your time in setting it up and you may either misplace the guarantee or forget to mail it altogether, so be careful! Also, if you're torn between Brand A and Brand B, the deciding factor in tipping the scales should be the warranty. If one brand has a better warranty, then it's safer to go with that brand, even though it may be a little more expensive.
3. Fire, Health And Building Codes
Before you purchase any commercial equipment, make sure to check all the fire, health and building codes for your restaurant. These codes may not be standard codes, which means they may vary from province to province. This is a very serious issue, so any violation could incur heavy fines and penalties or you may even be closed down.
4. Inspect Equipment
Always check the equipment once it arrives and before you sign anything. Make sure you have everything that was ordered and that it's in working order. Occasionally, during the shipping process, damage can occur. Damage could occur either from the manufacturer but more likely from the transport company. If you notice any damage, call immediately. If the damage occurs during the transport process, then they are responsible. Always make sure to never throw away any boxes or packaging material until you are completely satisfied. Companies have a way of squirming out of paying due to a technicality, for example, if you don't have the original carton in which it was shipped. Cover all bases.
5. Servicing Equipment
Apart from dealing with a reputable provider with good customer service, you also want to get equipment from someone experienced and reliable when it comes to servicing equipment. Sometimes, depending on what equipment you buy, the providers will send someone periodically to inspect equipment or change parts as the case may be. This is good, since your equipment will function properly. You also want to make sure that if anything breaks down, they will come immediately and take care of it with minimum disruption.
Make sure that you know your utilities and how much pressure or power is needed so that you don't buy incorrect machinery. Look at your long-term costs to see if owning or leasing is better for you. If you are careful and come up with a checklist of all the major points and tick them off in an organized fashion, then your restaurant operation will have a greater chance of succeeding and customers and staff will be happy.