Figuring out what equipment to purchase can be overwhelming for any customer, especially when it feels like there are so many options to choose from.
But with a bit of careful thought and a little planning, choosing the right kit can become pretty straightforward, according to foodservice equipment supplier Hatco.
It has put together its own guide to ‘error-proof equipment purchasing’ to ensure customers get exactly what they need.
1. Analyze your needs
Each equipment type has a range of options. For example, there are countless countertop induction ranges. “To find the right one, start off your equipment-purchasing journey with a figurative step into the kitchen,” states Hatco. “Ask the chef a series of questions — from their feature requirements to their kitchen layout — to understand their exact needs. But don’t stop there. Knowing their current menu is important, of course, but see if they anticipate any upcoming menu changes.”
It advises chefs to give their input on upcoming trends to see if they’d like to incorporate any of the latest equipment innovations. “By going the extra mile, you may be able to check the box on equipment requirements they didn’t even know they had.”
2. Evaluate your budget
A well-defined budget will help guide purchasing decisions and narrow down the options. When considering costs, though, operators are urged not just to look at dollar signs.
“Make sure you take the total cost of ownership, including installation, utilities and maintenance into consideration. And don’t underestimate value. For instance, if you have a tight budget, and need more than one piece of equipment, multi-purpose equipment might be just the ticket. You can get ‘two for the price of one’, so it’s more cost-effective,” notes Hatco.
3. Identify your top product choices
After operators have narrowed down their options to a few top products, the next step is to hone in on the best option by looking into product reputation.
Hatco advises customers to consult industry colleagues and product reviews to gain insight on equipment performance and quality.
“When you’re looking at new equipment, it’s easy to get caught up with the bells and whistles. But, if the manufacturer doesn’t have a long-standing reputation for top-of-the-line products, you could be rolling the dice. And the last thing you want is equipment that won’t stand the test of time — it’s an expensive mistake to make.”
4. Check the warranty policy
As with any major purchase, it’s advisable to look into the warranty policy. If the manufacturer has a warranty policy in place, that’s a good sign. It shows they stand by their equipment because it’s quality, says Hatco.
But, don’t just glance to check if there’s a warranty – read the fine print. “How long is the warranty for? Is it for both parts and labor? Knowing exactly what the policy covers will help you understand the warranty’s true value.”
5. Find a strategic partner
Last but certainly not least, find the right vendor. Hatco says a good vendor will be more than just that — they’ll be a strategic partner.
“Of course you want a quality piece of equipment, but a quality partner is just as important. They do more than just supply a product. They’ll make your job easier with proactive communication and reliable customer service. And as industry experts, they can give you the insider information you need to succeed.”