The latest Hospitality Report from accountancy firm Gerald Edelman has revealed that food accounted for more than 25% of pub sales in 2018/19 and the food-led pub industry will be worth a huge £19.5billion within the next 5 years.
By choosing the right commercial catering equipment and ‘heavy-duty’ kitchen appliances, there are ways to maximise your existing space, make it cost-effective and manage your processes more efficiently. Take a look below for the most important factors to consider when selecting kitchen equipment.
Key things to consider when selecting commercial appliances for your kitchen...
Is your equipment suitable for a commercial kitchen?
It goes without saying that you should never use domestic equipment in commercial kitchens.
Not only are such appliances unable to keep up with the day-to-day demands of professional kitchens, but understandably, most manufacturers won’t honour warranties for products designed for domestic use when used for commercial purposes.
Are your kitchen appliances fit for purpose?
Will your catering equipment be able to meet demand and produce food in the quantities you require?
As well as the size and quality of the kit, also consider its power capabilities. Less powerful equipment is unlikely to be able to keep up, while you could end up shelling out more on maintenance costs due to regular breakdowns.
Are they energy efficient?
When it comes to kitchen equipment, rather than focusing on the up-front expense, it pays to consider the whole lifetime cost.
Commercial kitchens consume approximately 2.5 times more energy per square foot than any other commercial space. However, significant savings can be achieved by using energy-efficient appliances. Indeed, energy efficient kitchen equipment could result in a 20% reduction on your utility bills, delivering savings that drive straight to your bottom line.
Does your equipment meet current and impending legislative requirements?
Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) is legislation that could actually save your business money.
MEPs for commercial refrigeration products aim to steer us all towards more energy efficient models, with the efficiency of refrigeration products tested and ranked on a scale of A-G. All commercial kitchen operators should now consider upgrading their equipment to help lower costs.
Do your commercial appliances meet food safety requirements?
There are more than a million cases of food poisoning a year in the UK. Many of these cases are the result of eating food prepared in a professional kitchen.
It is an offence to ‘render food injurious to health’ or to sell food that does not meet safety requirements – with severe penalties, including unlimited fines, or even imprisonment for failure to comply. Specially designed catering equipment such as blast chillers can help ensure this legislation is met, reducing your exposure to risk, looking after the health of your customers, and protecting your hard-earned reputation. You can read our guide to the Food Safety Act here.
Are your commercial kitchen appliances future-proof?
If your business has ambitious expansion plans, will your catering equipment grow with you or hold you back?
Once you’ve selected the kitchen equipment you want, also check to make sure a new model isn’t coming out anytime soon. If it is, is it worth waiting a couple of months to secure the new kit? If not, can your current model be upgraded, or will it become obsolete and/or difficult to maintain and find replacement parts for?
Will your equipment fit?
Consider your existing space and how any new commercial kitchen appliances will work alongside your current layout.
Where space is at a premium, modular kitchen equipment may offer a more practical solution. Likewise, multi-functional items such as combi-ovens provide an excellent space saving solution.
Can your commercial appliances cope with emerging food trends and dietary requirements?
The food and catering industry in the UK has changed dramatically over the last few years in the face of changing dietary requirements, allergies, and food intolerances.
As such, today’s commercial kitchens must be structured in a way to avoid cross contamination and cater for broader customer tastes. Today’s commercial kitchens should have a layout that means you can avoid cross contamination when using ingredients like nuts, eggs, wheat and other common allergens. Fryers carry a particularly high risk of allergen cross-contamination, and it only takes a minuscule amount of an ingredient to cause an allergic reaction. In many cases, planning for separate or twin tank fryers is recommended.
Does renting commercial kitchen appliances make financial sense?
In many cases, renting equipment may end up making far more sense than purchasing outright, particularly if this includes a regular maintenance package to keep your kit in top-notch condition. Rental options may also make long-term sense – allowing you to upgrade with the needs of your business – without any significant up-front financial outlay.
How much will your kit cost you to maintain?
Keeping your catering equipment in perfect working order isn’t just essential for ensuring food quality and consistency; it’s business critical. As such, maintenance costs should always be taken into account when choosing new kitchen equipment.
It’s a false economy to wait until something goes wrong; with the expense of calling out an engineer every time you have a problem far exceeding the costs of regular maintenance. Not to mention the impact of unnecessary downtime. Likewise, you should always consider the reliability of any equipment, and whether, if it breaks down, it will be easy to source replacement parts.