Learning to Say Goodbye: When to Replace Restaurant Equipment

Replacing Restaurant Equipment

Everyone who owns restaurant equipment knows it’s a far different experience from having appliances in a home kitchen. The purchases are more expensive, the products are more sophisticated, and there’s just more to think about when it comes to knowing how to maintain them and when to replace them. After all, if the oven at your home gives up the ghost, it’s only a pan of meatloaf that’s lost; you order some pizza, replace the oven, and move on. But, if the double deck convection oven your steakhouse depends on heats its last in the middle of meal prep, you’re in a real bind.

Proper maintenance can help you avoid that situation, but sometimes a unit has just come to the end of its useful life. The real trick is knowing when to order new equipment so you don’t end up in a jam. While there is no foolproof way to predict eminent demise of a commercial refrigerator or fryer, there are some signs that you can watch for that should be pretty good indicators it’s time to replace your kitchen equipment.

How to Recognize When Your Restaurant Equipment is Doing its Swan Song

1. Equipment repair costs are getting to a point.

If you reach a time when doing a repair to keep a unit running will cost more than just chucking it and getting a new one, that’s an obvious sign it’s time to replace. But what if the numbers are just adding up and no one issue has gotten to that level? As an example, one KaTom customer recently faced replacing two heating elements in his griddle, a project that would cost $400 per element. That would mean he has $800 invested in a unit that could be replaced with a better-quality product for maybe another $400 or so.And that’s not even counting the expense of having a service company come out to do the work.

The need for costly work is a good sign you would be better off trading in that piece of kitchen equipment for a new one. While the individual projects may not cost as much as a new kitchen model, they add up and may be a good sign it’s time to look at a new model without the problems.

2. The unit is or has become woefully inefficient.

Not every good reason to look at buying new is related to how long that commercial equipment will last. Sometimes it just makes sense to replace because you’re losing so much in utility bills in comparison to running a new unit. With thousands of ENERGY STAR-rated pieces of restaurant equipment, KaTom has the ability to set you up with kitchen equipment that could pay for itself just in utility savings over what you’re currently running.

3. It’s just not working like it used to.

Nothing, except Internet legends like Bill Gates donating a dime to a sick kid if you forward an e-mail or charging that same kid a dime if you don’t, lives forever. Even if you are meticulous about maintaining your kitchen, at some point everything falls prey to the elements. Rust, power surges, and careless cooks are just a few of the evil elements that might cause your kitchen set-up to deteriorate or stop working altogether. Restaurant equipment can just become worn out, too. Sometimes the door gaskets on your commercial refrigerator no longer create a complete seal, meaning the unit stops holding temperatures cold enough and griddles sometimes quit holding ideal cooking temperatures.

4. There’s an opportunity to combine two functions into one unit.

For instance, if you’re using both a commercial food steamer and a convection oven, you might be able to combine both operations with a combination or combi oven. That could not only open up some space in a crowded kitchen, it could also save you money because you’re no longer powering two units.

Why Isn’t There a Standard to Tell me How Long my Restaurant Equipment Will Last?

It sure would make things easier if there was a set rule for how long a kitchen equipment will last. Even better would be a countdown clock in each piece that tells you how much longer you can expect it to last. Unfortunately, both of those things are just fantasy at this point.

The simple fact is the lifespan of each piece of restaurant equipment is as unique as any snowflake. You may buy a model that is supposed to last about seven years (or 77 in refrigerator years) and it clocks out after three. Alternately, kitchen equipment may live for a couple decades. There’s just no way to predict and the time you have with any piece in your kitchen isn’t always directly correlated to how you maintain it.

Having said that, usage can greatly impact the lifespan of any commercial equipment. If you’re opening and closing the door of your commercial refrigerator 100 times a day, it’s typically going to need replacement much sooner than one that may only be used a few times a week. Obviously, things are going to wear more under more regular usage.

Trust KaTom When It’s Time to Replace

If you’ve determined it’s time to send one of your pieces of restaurant equipment to a nice farm upstate, we offer condolences for your loss and hope for your future. KaTom carries all the top brands you need, from commercial ice makers to salad dryers and everything in between, all at great prices thanks to our position as a high-volume dealer. KaTom also has the knowledge and expertise to help you make the right buying decisions, whether you turn to one of our helpful customer service representatives or the Guides & Advice section of our website.

When you’re ready to talk to someone about your commercial kitchen’s needs, please contact us at 800.541.8683 or info@katom.com.