If your kitchen is set up correctly with the right equipment in place then you are starting from the right place. When choosing equipment there’s a thin line between what you need to function and what you’d like in your dream scenario. Start-up catering businesses shouldn’t splash out on all the latest gadgets but should ensure they have the essential equipment they need to succeed. Here we’re taking a more in depth look at the key aspects of your kitchen and the equipment that can make them tick.
To comply with food safety law the majority food needs to be kept chilled or frozen. This means your kitchen must have chilling and freezing facilities. This can mean anything from chest freezers to counter fridges and freezers for use during service. Larger kitchens can even choose to incorporate a cold room into their commercial space which means you can walk into the chilled area and store your produce on racking. Some cold rooms even have freezer elements which again you can walk into and store your produce on shelves – making it extremely easy access and easy to clean too.
Blast chilling and blast freezing equipment is used to speed up the chilling and freezing processes, perfect if you’re prepping for evening service early in the day.
Good preparation is the key to a successful kitchen. The level of preparation you can carry out is in part due to the equipment you have available. As mentioned blast chilling and freezing equipment can aid the prep stage but there are even more appliances which could be even more useful.
Food processors, mixers and blenders are an example of a prep tool which speed up processes that may take some time by hand. Similarly, slicers are a great investment for companies who plan to make a lot of sandwiches or salads as all vegetables can be sliced quickly, and in uniform fashion.
Other more innovative equipment includes shrink wrap machines, vacuum packers and other packaging related equipment which most catering environments may not need but could be good if you plan to branch out into retail selling in the future.
The key process that it all comes down to is the cooking itself. What commercial kitchen equipment do you need to produce the items on your menu? This will differ in each business but there are some key pieces of kit such as the hob, fryers and some form of oven that every kitchen hoping to serve hot food must have. Additionally there are pieces of equipment such as the combi oven and large ranges which have multiple functions. Combis are a great alternative for small kitchens that may not be able to accommodate a large range. If you have a hob you also don’t necessarily need a chargrill or contact grill as you can use grill pans. However, if you are a grills-based restaurant then a chargrill should be considered essential.
There are lots of questions you need to ask yourself about your business before you buy your equipment. Plan your menu and then build your kitchen around it.