About the Bidding Process for Commercial Equipment

Building or Renovating Your Commercial Kitchen

You have a great location, the perfect menu, and talented chefs, but none of that will matter if you don't also have the right commercial kitchen equipment installed before your restaurant's grand opening. Although it can be tempting to wait to order equipment until your build or renovation is complete, not contacting a dealer ahead of time leaves you vulnerable to delays and unpleasant surprises. Working with a full-service dealer like KaTom can help you avoid postponements and resolve unexpected issues more quickly. Although the Contract & Design Department at KaTom can work with you at nearly any stage of your project, here's some information you can prepare to help ensure the process goes smoothly.

Prepare your timeline. To ensure your equipment is delivered when you need it, let our specialists know your timeline for the project, including when it needs to be completed so your facility can open according to schedule.

Know your floorplan. In order to properly outfit your commercial kitchen, you should have an accurate floorplan that will help determine where ranges, hoods, walk-ins, and other essential or large equipment will go. In addition to designing your kitchen with safety in mind, our designers take into account how equipment should be positioned to achieve a comfortable and efficient workflow. Delivering your floorplan to our team in an AutoCAD-compatible format, such as DXF or DWG, will make editing easier, but is not required.

Decide what (and how much) you'll serve. Deciding on a menu and establishing the seating capacity of your restaurant will help identify which equipment is required and whether that equipment should be light-, medium-, or heavy-duty. For example, a bar offering simple appetizers like chicken tenders and onion rings could use a light-duty fryer, but a quick-service restaurant with popular fried entrees will want to invest in a heavy-duty fryer to make sure it keeps up with demand.

Create your budget. Sticking to a budget can make or break restaurants before the front doors even open, so it's important for you to establish a budget and keep that budget in mind when considering your options. Because first-time restaurateurs are often surprised by how expensive opening a restaurant can be, it is always better to overestimate the capital your venture will require, rather than under-budgeting. Remember to factor in the cost of mandatory non-equipment purchases, like an alcohol beverage license, as well as potential construction delays.

Look at local laws. Adherence to local rules and regulations will determine some smaller purchases, from trash cans, signage, and dunnage racks to whether you can sanitize with the three-sink method or must invest in a commercial dishwasher, but big-ticket items are also subject to these laws. For example, hoods must be placed over any cooking equipment that emits grease-laden vapors or is heated by gas, but what equipment that applies to can be up to your inspector's interpretation. Some areas will also require the installation of air doors, grease traps, and other potentially expensive additions to your building's inner workings.

Remember your permits. It's a good idea to work with a general contractor and architect on large projects, especially since they'll be able to ensure you apply for and obtain the appropriate permits and approvals. If you fail to meet codes and do not adhere to local regulations, you won't be able to open – even if your equipment has already been delivered. Having those experts on the job also helps our specialists ensure everything is right, from design to installation.

Tips for Buying Restaurant Equipment

Although some entrepreneurs look at buying used equipment as an easy way to cut costs, they might not realize that the long-term cost and reliability of this equipment is compromised. Not only is there no way to guarantee that the equipment was well cared for by the previous owner, but that equipment won't come with the manufacturer's warranty. If you purchase a used refrigerator that has no warranty, your employees may arrive on a Saturday morning to find that it has unexpectedly quit. If this happens, you will suffer costly losses from wasted product, production delays, and replacing or repairing the equipment out of pocket.

KaTom can offer information about companies that can help finance or lease equipment, if you need to alleviate the upfront cost of purchasing equipment. This can be a good option if your startup budget is tight, but you should keep in mind that you'll end up paying more for financed equipment over time compared to the one-time-cost of equipment purchased with cash. Additionally, our experts have heard stories from restaurateurs whose landlords chipped in on the cost of certain equipment, like a ventilation system that becomes a building fixture. Others have offered to waive or reduce rent in early months to help in that critical period.

To prevent costly repairs, keep your equipment regularly and properly maintained with cleanings as described in your equipment's owners' manuals. The warranties and extended coverage offered for equipment will vary between manufacturers, and different servicing options will be available as well. Contracting with a service company in your area can provide quick and efficient inspections and repairs.

When buying large items like ranges and refrigerators, it's easy to forget about more basic equipment, but smaller items can still be essential to your restaurant's smooth operation. It's important to factor the purchase of cookware, shelving and storage, trash receptacles, dish racks, and other necessities into your budget.

KaTom Can Help

We are a full-service dealer capable of everything from design work to sales, and the KaTom Contract & Design Department is available to help you build or renovate your commercial kitchen and restaurant space. No project is the same and timelines will vary, but you should plan for at least 4 to 8 weeks from start to finish for large-scale projects. If your location is within roughly 200 miles of KaTom's warehouse and retail store in Kodak, Tenn., be sure to ask about streamlining the delivery and installation process with our staging services. Although our team has gone as far as Florida and New Jersey with these services, interstate delivery will vary and we cannot guarantee that it will be a feasible option for long-distance locations. Our project managers, design experts, and customer care specialists look forward to working with you.