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When Should You Buy New Equipment?

If you’re running a restaurant, you know that equipment can be a major expense, and restaurants often have very little spare money in the budget. At the same time, there are so many improvements on restaurant supplies and equipment from year to year that it’s also easy to get excited about buying up new things. It can be difficult to know exactly when you need to replace equipment--from large to small. There are a few key signs to keep in mind when assessing your existing equipment, and there are also some things to know in general about buying new equipment.

How to know it’s time to replace

There are a few signs and indicators that equipment in your kitchen needs to be replaced. Of course, there are some general guidelines for lifetime use of particular items, but we all know that those guidelines are--in general--for an ideal world. In the real world, sometimes things last longer than they should and sometimes they don’t last as long as they’re projected to. In light of that, there are a few key indicators.

The first is that you’re spending too much money on repairs. There comes a point in every life cycle of a machine where the cost to repair it is greater than the value left in it; not to mention the fact that there are advances and developments in machines and equipment every day. So as an example, if repairing a cooktop, or an oven, or something of that nature would cost more than it would take to replace the item, it’s an obvious decision to make. Another factor that you should keep in mind is how efficient the existing equipment is. Restaurant supply stores carry a range of options for any given item, and every year products become more and more efficient from the perspective of energy usage and other factors. If your electric bill or gas bill are eating into your profits, it may be time to consider investing in something that will save you more money over time. Finally: if something just isn’t working the way it did when it was new--not because it has stopped working or needs specific repairs, but because it’s just gotten old--it is time to start looking at replacing it.

Lifespan of equipment

Without obvious indicators, there are other ways to know when you should start thinking about replacing equipment in your commercial kitchen. Most large appliances have a projected lifespan, and in some cases that lifespan isn’t just a matter of when it gets more expensive to fix them; it can also indicate the point at which certain parts break down in such a way as to make it dangerous--either specifically to the user, or in general--to keep using the item. For example, the lifespan of a commercial refrigerator is about 10 years; at that point it’s definitely time to start looking at how well the door seals, how good the hinges and interior liner function. Beyond the excess energy a leaky fridge needs to keep things inside of it cold--and the health and safety disaster that can happy if it doesn’t--at 10 years there is a chance that the refrigerant is no longer staying contained, as well. Ventilation systems generally have a lifespan of around 15 years, with proper maintenance; of course, without that proper maintenance, their lifespan may be as short as 5 years.

To find out how long you can expect your restaurant equipment to last, it’s definitely worth looking at the warranties provided by the manufacturer, as well as reading the user manual and guides. Nothing lasts forever, but knowing what to look for and how to determine whether you need to replace your equipment is a step towards keeping things from becoming chaotic in your business. Instead of finding yourself in a tough situation because some machinery breaks down entirely during the dinner shift, or in an even worse problem due to something not just malfunctioning but harming someone in the process, take stock of how your equipment and tools are performing, and visit a restaurant supply store to get the best replacements for a reasonable price.

2018-04-25 22:22:45
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