If you operate a restaurant, one of the main expenses for your brand is the equipment. Grills, coffee machines, fryers, and other assets cost a lot upfront, but they are essential for offering the quality food items that your customers expect.
One problem that many restaurant owners have is maintaining the longevity of their equipment. They want their investments to last, but worry that they are just costing the company more. If you are worried about your restaurant equipment, it may be time to replace a few key items. Here’s why this is the right decision.
You can only afford a certain amount for repairs each month
All appliances break on occasion. The more restaurant equipment you have, the odds are that something will go wrong with one piece or another, driving repair costs higher and higher. According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurant equipment maintenance costs between 1.5% of sales on average. General maintenance costs range from two to six percent of a company’s budget.
Restaurants need to stay on close budgets in order to be profitable. If something is off with the budget sheet — like a major equipment expense — a restaurant could lose money that month or for several months following.
Look at the costs of maintenance for your restaurant equipment. Are you spending around these ranges or are you paying more? If a few of your items keep breaking or need repairs, you may be better off investing in new equipment instead of paying to constantly fix breaking pieces. Find a reliable place for your restaurant supply needs, whether that means commercial refrigeration, griddles or ovens, and make sure that you’re getting the best price on your cooking equipment. There are suppliers who can provide you with great deals on major brands. With great cooking equipment, you’ll save money on repairs so that you can invest in getting new customers though the door.
Some repairs cost more than they are worth
As items get older, their value depreciates. Consider the worth of a 2020 Toyota Camry versus a 2010 model. The same can be said of your restaurant equipment. If you are planning to resell your commercial cooking equipment, you are better off moving it when it is only a few years old and then upgrading to newer pieces. If you are trying to sell older or broken items, you won’t get many buyers.
Older items also tend to have higher repair costs. For example, if you need to make several repairs to your freezer or ice machine, you might pay more to get this equipment working again than the systems are worth. At some point, it’s more economical to just buy new items instead of constantly repairing older ones.
As you get quotes for repairs, track the value of your appliances. Don’t waste money on getting a system fixed when you can replace it for the same cost and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a reliable model.
Swap out items you don’t currently need
Along with updating your restaurant equipment, you might want to look into swapping out seasonal items that you only use for special events and certain months of the year. For example, you might only use an ice cream machine during the summer months to offer unique flavors to guests. During the winter this will just take up space in your kitchen.
Research storage unit prices in your area to store these items so they are placed in a safe, climate-controlled area when they aren’t in use. This can also prolong their longevity because they aren’t getting beat up in the kitchen. You can also store unused catering equipment, outdoor tents for promotional events, and other equipment that you don’t need often and don’t want to store on-site. Many public storage facilities offer easy access and larger units that can work well for a food service establishment that is looking to gain some extra space in the kitchen. Storage unit costs will end up being cheaper than repairing food service equipment that gets ruined because it’s sitting in the kitchen during an off-season.
Running a restaurant means taking calculated risks with your financial decisions. While investing in new commercial kitchen appliances and equipment might seem expensive at the time, these upgrades can pay off in the long run. Your food will taste great and your employees will appreciate the reliable amenities.