Repair It or Replace It? Tips on Buying the Right Piece of Kitchen Equipment

By Dennis M. Baker President and Chief Executive Officer, Avendra, LLC | October 28, 2008

Tired of the disruption? Upset that you keep paying hundreds of dollars fixing unreliable equipment? At what point do you stop repairing that 10 year old piece of kitchen equipment and make the decision to buy something new?

Making these decisions can be difficult and buying the right piece of replacement equipment can be more challenging than just purchasing the same item you currently own. Obviously, you want a great price, but there are other considerations as well. Before you buy, here are some ideas.

Look for Consultative Services

How often do you purchase a new stove, refrigerator or ice machine? If the answer is in years and not months, you may need the help of experts who are current on the latest models, energy specifications and trends. By asking the right questions, experts can help you make the most sensible purchase. For example, did your old ice machine provide you with enough ice? Were there times you ran out of ice during specific high volume periods? Perhaps the main issue is properly sizing the ice bin to the ice machine, as well as understanding the amount of ice needed during peak periods. In addition, can suppliers offer other value-added features such as post-sale support and preventative maintenance services, and a nationwide network of authorized service centers?

Product consultants also can share with you what new features might be available across a number of manufacturers. You want to deal with someone knowledgeable in the category who can recommend an alternative type of equipment or brand in order to take advantage of the newest technology or energy-saving features. With energy costs increasing as they are, consider equipment that is EnergyStar rated. You may only purchase a new heated banquet cabinet every 10 to 15 years, but the opportunities for energy savings, even heat distribution, longer holding times without degrading food quality, or knowing what banquet equipment has the best maintenance record may be valuable information that would take you hours of research on your own.

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