When outfitting a restaurant's kitchen, there's a lot to think about. For instance, you'll need to find equipment that fits within your restaurant's space and budget. Installing everything your restaurant will need in its kitchen can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $100,000, and you have a finite amount of room to work with. These aren't the only factors you should consider, however, when talking to companies that offer restaurant equipment supplies. Before settling on and purchasing specific equipment, you should ask about any service that's provided after the purchase. Here are some specific questions to ask.
How Long Does the Warranty Last?
Since you're investing so much in your restaurant's equipment, you should look for equipment that comes with a warranty. A warranty will help ensure you don't have to pay for repairs during your first few months or years in business (depending on the length of the warranty). Hopefully, you can find equipment that comes with a multi-year warranty that will last until your restaurant is financially stable.
Who Provides Repair and Maintenance Service?
You'll want to know who will be taking care of your restaurant's equipment after you purchase it. Because restaurant equipment is so advanced, you likely won't be able to make repairs or perform maintenance yourself. Find out whether the company you purchase the equipment from will provide the service, or whether the work is outsourced to someone else.
In addition to asking about the company that will provide any repair or maintenance work that's needed, you should also ask about the technicians that will actually do the work. Specifically, you should ask the following:
- Have the repair technicians been trained by the manufacturer of the restaurant equipment?
- Have the repair technicians passed background and drug tests?
- How large an area do the repair technicians cover?
This last question, how large an area the repair technicians cover, is particularly important. Commercial restaurant equipment rarely breaks down. If it does, though, you'll want it repaired as soon as possible. If the repair technician covers a large area, they could be several hours away when you call. To ensure your equipment can be repaired as quickly as possible, try to find a company that has local repair technicians in your specific area.
When is Routine Maintenance Scheduled For?
Your restaurant's equipment will need maintenance performed once in a while. While there's no getting around this, you'll want to minimize the impact scheduled maintenance has on your establishment's day-to-day operations. When interviewing companies that offer restaurant equipment supplies and service, seek out a company that offers flexible scheduling options that work with your restaurant's hours.
Who is the Contact Person for Maintenance and Repairs?
It's important to know who you'll need to call for maintenance and repairs in advance for two reasons. First, you don't want to be chasing down the appropriate contact person when you need service. Knowing who to call beforehand will save you time when work needs to be done.
Second, this will be one of your main points of contact -- perhaps your primary point of contact -- with the company after you purchase your restaurant equipment supplies. Therefore, you should make sure you're comfortable with this person before you buy equipment from the company. You don't necessarily need to be best friends with the person, but you should feel confident that the person can be reached quickly and is able to take care of anything you need.
The person who handles maintenance and repair requests might be different from the salesperson you're working with before purchasing restaurant equipment supplies. If the person is different. Ask to talk with them directly before you buy anything.