One of the reasons restaurants are so expensive to start is the number of items you require to get running is significantly higher than other businesses. Essential kitchen equipment is also expensive. You can mitigate some of the costs by purchasing used kitchen equipment, but even used items are costly. You also want to avoid buying too many used items since they ultimately need to be replaced with newer items. Another way to save on equipment costs is to lease your equipment, with the option to own. With a lease, you pay a monthly fee for your equipment. The option to purchase lets you pay the difference and buy the equipment outright at the end of your policy.
You do not want to rush when buying kitchen equipment. Take the time to look up multiple brands and read reviews. You also want to carefully measure your kitchen space, accounting for how much free room your employees need to maneuver through the restaurant.
Nearly all restaurants do most of their cooking with an oven. Because it is such a critical piece of equipment, you do not want to skimp on purchasing a good oven. Unfortunately, ovens are also one of the most expensive items. At a minimum, you can expect to pay between $1,500 to $3,000, but there are higher end models that cost as much as $10,000.
The cost of your oven is partially determined by the size and type. First, you must decide if you want an electric or gas stove. Most restaurants use electric, but based on utility costs, it may be less expensive to use gas stoves.
Restaurants often have multiple ovens. A commercial oven is used to cook larger meals and suits most styles of cooking. Convection ovens have a fan to circulate hot air. It is a good choice for cooking bakery items and desserts. A combination oven has both a fan and a steamer, allowing you to roast, smoke, steam and fry items.
There are also specialty items for select restaurants. A conveyor oven uses a conveyor belt to heat up items at select points and is commonly used to cook sandwiches and grinders. Pizza ovens reach higher temperatures than other types of ovens, and also has enough space for multiple pizzas.
Ranges are another key kitchen item, which is available in both gas and electrical variants. Gas ranges have better control, heating up almost immediately and allowing you to make subtle changes to reach specific temperatures. Electrical ranges are easier to clean and considered better for bulk cooking, but greatly increases your electrical bill. Ranges cost on average between $2,000 to $3,500, with gas ranges typically costing less than electrical.
Ventilation manages both the airflow and temperature throughout your kitchen. It is not only necessary for comfort, but it keeps the kitchen clean. Kitchens frequently go through ventilation units. Stronger ventilator units use considerably more power, which causes significant increase in your electric bill.
Another consideration is how much noise the fan makes. The sound is measured in sones, with most commercial ventilator units running between 7 and 21. If your fan is too loud, it makes communication harder in the kitchen, which can lead to many issues.
On average, commercial ventilators cost between $500 and $1,500. Getting the unit installed is pricey, costing between $800 and $1,200.
Refrigerators and Freezers
Most restaurants prefer to use a walk-in cooler, but this is only an option if you have the space. It can also be expensive to install, costing on average between $6,000 and $10,000. If you are starting a new restaurant, it may be more cost-effective to buy a traditional freezer to start with. An important consideration for both your freezer and refrigerator is the location of the condenser. Top-mounted condensers are harder to clean but less likely to clog and do not blow warm air when the fridge is opened. Bottom-mounted condensers are easier to clean but can blow warm air when opened. Most bakeries use bottom-mounted condensers.
The cost of commercial refrigerators greatly varies depending on the size. A standard unit costs about $1,000 to $1,500, but two-door units are closer to $3,000 or $4,000. Commercial freezers are more expensive, costing between $1,800 and $3,000.
Point of Sale System (POS)
Not all restaurant equipment is used in the kitchen. A POS is used in the front of the restaurant to charge customers, track orders, and print receipts. Managers also use them as a general computer system to record sales data, manage the inventory, and even schedule employees. A restaurant POS costs around $600 to $1,200.
Webstaurant is one of the leading online marketplaces for purchasing wholesale restaurant equipment. The website has a wide range of items, featuring multiple brand name products at reasonable prices. The company stays up to date with the restaurant industry, hosting informative articles on the website, making it both a good store and excellent source of information.
Restaurant Depot has both in-person and online stores. You must be a member to purchase anything, but becoming a member is free. Restaurant Depot is one of the largest wholesalers, often being compared as a Costco or Sam’s Club for restaurants. In addition to buying bulkier items, you can also purchase smaller items, such as silverware and storage containers, in bulk.
KaTom is another online kitchen wholesaler. In addition to traditional kitchen equipment, KaTom also has a wide range of cleaning supplies and other restaurant items for outside of the kitchen. KaTom promises fast shipping and allows you to return any item within 30 days of purchase. They also provide different payment and financing plans for restaurant owners.