Shopping for commercial or industrial kitchen equipment is a challenging process. Even experts have trouble staying on top of what is hot in the industry. State regulations can also create health and safety roadblocks you may not have considered. Getting smart about commercial kitchen products is a must. Being an informed owner is the best way to ensure you don’t waste your budget on poor tools that don’t get the job done.
The Best Companies Back Their Products
The first thing you can look for when shopping for those heavy duty appliances is to find companies that back their own products. If a retailer or manufacturer won’t back the product for more than a single year, look somewhere else. One of the biggest pitfalls for new business owners is buying cheap, inferior equipment that will not last as long as it should. Avoid this mistake by making sure either the retailer or the manufacturer offers at least a 5 year warranty on the item.
(Note: Manufacturers warranties are usually far superior to those of retailers. As a general rule: if a company builds a product and guarantees it for 10 years or more, that means they are confident that it will last that long.)
Research Your Retailer
The second step in getting the best deal is researching your retailer. There is little doubt you know what types of products you need, but have you looked at where to buy from? Making wise choices about which retailer to buy from could save you thousands in the long run. Some tips on great retailers include:
– Knowledgeable Staff: If the staff is well informed and really wants to help you get the right product you will know it. It isn’t always easy to find, but if you can put yourself in contact with people who know exactly what type of products a commercial kitchen like yours requires, the entire process is going to go a lot smoother.
– Full Disclosure: Have you ever taken a toy home from the store for your kids, wrapped it up, and then found out after they’ve opened it that it requires batteries you didn’t buy? It’s very frustrating. Not only is the customer unhappy, chances are they won’t be going back to that store to buy the batteries. While this is on a much lesser scale, the point is clear: No one wins when the customer (in this case you) does not receive full disclosure on products. This applies for sellers both online and locally.
– Direct Contact Info: It is imperative that your commercial kitchen retailer has direct contact information should you have any questions or concerns. There is little else more frustrating than having a simple question about a valve or connection on a certain piece of equipment and not having someone to ask.
Don’t Go it alone
The third step to getting the best deal on your commercial kitchen gear is to bring some help. As an owner, you may want to bring your chef or manager along. Find those who have a unique take on the industry if you want to get the most out of your experience. If most of your browsing is online then make sure to take the time to talk with your staff and see if there are any specifics you’ve been missing. Running a commercial or industrial kitchen takes more than one person. If it isn’t right for your kitchen, your staff will probably know it.
There’s more than Just a Price Tag
When you shop for your industrial kitchen equipment, remember that many retailers have the ability to increase the value of their products by offering certain extra incentives. This could help you make the decision of which retailer to use:
- Delivery: Free delivery can make or break a deal for larger appliances. Moving appliances yourself isn’t always possible and can be a big hassle, not to mention expensive. If you want to get more value, shop where shipping costs aren’t an issue.
- Set-up: While very few companies offer installation for free, some have discounts for using certain service providers to install what they sell. With this you can be guaranteed that the installer knows how to work with that unit as well as get a fair price to have it done.
- Other Accessories: Those little extras aren’t always important, but these small incentives go a long way in cultivating an ongoing business relationship. It comes down to being happy with the service as well as the products and prices. If you aren’t satisfied, there are dozens of other companies willing to sell you the same products with better service.