“Oops, I knew I’d forgotten something!”
Starting a new restaurant is hard work, and there’s a lot to remember before the doors swing open for the first time. Sometimes, it seems like there’s too muchto remember. And in fact, many restaurants open to the public without purchasing all the necessary equipment and supplies for operation. It’s no wonder—when you’re planning your menu, determining your target market, choosing a location, and designing the interior, it’s easy to let some things drop off your list (if they made it to the list in the first place). To avoid a last-minute rush to purchase equipment from the restaurant supply store, here are a few commonly forgotten items you should budget for.
Make Sure You Have Ample Shelving
A restaurant can never have enough storage, but the amount of shelving you need—especially movable racks, which are especially useful in the back-of-house operation—can be easy to underestimate. A good rule of thumb is to invest in more shelving than you think you’ll need.
Speaking of those movable shelves, it’s common for restaurant owners and outfitters to forget that they’ll need casters to easily roll them away for cleaning underneath and behind—so make sure that all equipment you’ll need to move can be moved easily for cleanup. Pay close attention to the type of shelving you do invest in.
Chrome wire shelves might be attractive, but won’t weather a damp environment as well as epoxy-coated shelving. If you’re planning on storing heavier objects, heavy-duty dunnage shelves might be your best choice.
Take Care of Your Employees’ Needs
Often left off of a restaurant’s opening-day budget are the necessaries that keep employees safe and comfortable.
Have you invested in employee-only parking signs?
Where will your employees keep their personal items during their work shift? A locker area for employees can keep valuables safe and offer your employees personal space for items like cellular phones (which they should probably keep locked away during a shift anyway).
Safety and sanitary equipment like first aid kits, hand sanitizer, and personal gloves are last-minute items that can easily be forgotten in the rush to open the doors.
Give Guests the Amenities They Need
Overspending on the back of the house to create a state-of-the-art kitchen space might mean neglecting some of the areas where the paying customer spends their time. For example, are the bathrooms well-stocked? Public restrooms go through supplies much more quickly than you might expect, and a clean, well-appointed restroom will help ensure happy customers.
If you’re a family-friendly business, it’s important to think of the children. Having enough booster seats and activities for kids so they don’t get bored waiting (think creative kids’ menus and coloring utensils, for instance) can help make your restaurant the choice destination for parents looking for an accommodating environment.
Finally, your customers might want to take some of their food home with them, so don’t forget take-out containers—and make sure you offer a couple different size options!
Outfit the Back-of-House
The area around your commercial dishwasher is easily overlooked when you’re focusing on more prominent items your establishment needs. Ensure that your landing area and dish table are well-stocked with cleaning supplies like detergent, waterproof dishwashing aprons, gloves, and drying racks so that your dishwashers are able to do their jobs. Another easily missed item in this area is adequate waste management solutions.
Make sure there are plenty appropriately sized wastebaskets available in the back-of-house operation for your employees to dispose of waste, and double-check your waste storage solutions outside of the facility.
Don’t reach your first day of business without everything you need for a smooth operation! By paying attention to the less-visible items you’ll need, you’ll save the time, effort, and money you could waste rushing to purchase equipment before the grand opening.