Install This: These 5 Commercial Kitchen Pieces May Be More Important Than You Think

“The kitchen of any restaurant is where the magic happens,” writes Lorri Mealey on financial advice site “Having it organized from opening day, and keeping it stocked, cleaned and well-staffed will help keep your restaurant running smoothly.”

When outfitting a commercial kitchen, sorting out what to invest in and what to forgo can be challenging. Still, it’s well worth keeping your kitchen updated with new equipment that might boost your productivity and/or improve your product.

While the possibilities are endless, here are five suggestions from online experts for kitchen equipment purchases that could have a big impact on your operations:

  1. Refrigerated Chef Bases

These dynamic pieces can expand your work or prep area. They have durable tops that are built to withstand hot equipment such as fryers and griddles and have refrigerated food storage for easy and quick access.

  • Account for ventilation requirements for all elements involved.
  • Decide on a flat top or a spill edge that can contain drips and run off during cooking.
  • Check spec sheets to ensure all height and weight requirements are met. Also, note whether a heat shield is required in between the top and bottom pieces.
  1. A Versatile Braising Pan

These standing units can be used to efficiently braise, sauté, simmer, steam, poach, boil, fry or grill food without having to employ your major appliances. Some factors to think about:

  • Consider the optimal size for your needs; the largest typically hold 50 gallons of food.
  • Your choice of a gas or electric should depend on your kitchen’s power source.
  • Choosing an insulated pan with a lid could conserve energy costs and be safer in a crowded kitchen.
  • Models with a tilt function and a drain with a valve allow for easier transfer of food and liquids.
  1. A Hardworking Ice Machine

Your ice-making equipment is about more than chilling patrons’ drinks, it’s responsible for keeping food fresh and at the right temperatures. Consider the following when shopping for a new unit:

  • Make your life easier – look for a system that offers automatic alerts about mechanical issues and required maintenance
  • Newer machines have smart-monitoring technology and are both energy and water efficient.
  • Seek built-in antimicrobial protection to reduce the growth of bacteria, mold, and algae.
  • Monitor the volume of ice your business needs over 24 hours, then seek a model and bin that can fulfill that capacity.
  • Decide what type of ice best suits your operation- nuggets (aka chewable ice) tend to be popular with customers, but cubes melt slower, and flakes blend quickly in drinks.
  1. Optimal Shelving

Having “a place for everything and everything in its place” can save you time and aggravation, hugely impacting productivity, cleanliness and food quality. Think about these tips as you plan:

  • Maximize the versatility of each storage unit. Try to find pieces that serve at least two purposes.
  • Ensure each shelf meets weight-bearing requirements for its purpose.
  • Wheeled storage give you more options for configuring your space.
  • Take advantage of accessories that optimize shelf space, such as baskets that clip underneath, hooks to hang cookware, or vertical racks.
  1. Highly Effective Washing Equipment

The quality and efficiency of the system used to wash your dishes, cookware, flatware and other items could have a profound effect on the success of your business. Factors to consider:

  • Choose between a door-type or conveyor. Smaller-volume eateries may opt for door type machines as they take up less space, and may be ventless or hoodless. Those that need to handle larger volumes of dishes with quicker turnover may lean towards conveyors that automate the wash to dry process.
  • Continuous flight models don’t employ racks, instead gently immerse and rotate dishes until an alert system indicates they’re clean.
  • Powered sinks can also act as kitchenware cleaners, utilizing a high-powered horizontal water flow directed at pieces placed inside.

When in doubt about your most important kitchen purchases, don’t hesitate to ask experienced kitchen managers and chefs what they find most invaluable.

Consult with TriMark for advice on the best commercial kitchen equipment for your needs.

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