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Ann Holtzapple

When Is it Time to Replace Your Commercial Cooking Equipment?

Do You Know the Lifespan of Your Commercial Cooking Equipment?

Purchasing quality commercial restaurant equipment for your kitchen is a significant investment. The good news? With the proper care and maintenance, you can protect this investment for many years to come. However, there will inevitably come a time when the lifespan of your commercial kitchen equipment will come to an end. Wondering whether it’s time to repair or replace old or faulty restaurant cooking equipment? Here are some important considerations.

For starters, understanding the average product life cycle of your equipment offers invaluable insight into which products have the potential to deliver the best ROI. This handy guide affords a closer look at commercial kitchen equipment life expectancy, along with how much you can anticipate saving by using it in your restaurant.


Key Considerations for Replacing Equipment

The issue of whether to repair or replace equipment is multi-factored. While restaurant kitchen equipment repair makes sense to a certain extent due to the high cost of restaurant equipment, at some point the benefits of replacement outweigh the short-term savings of repairs. Key considerations involved in the decision to replace or repair commercial kitchen equipment include the following:

  • Safety

Safety should always be the top priority in your restaurant kitchen. If a piece of equipment is not working properly and threatens the wellbeing of your kitchen staff due to the chance of leaks, cracks, and burns, a replacement is likely the wiser course of action.

  • Repairs and Repair Costs

While most kitchen equipment may require the occasional quick fix or tune-up, frequent repairs — and the rising costs that go along with them — are a warning sign. When service costs add up to more than the cost of new equipment, it’s time to replace. For example, replacing two heating elements in a griddle can add up to more than half of the price of a brand new piece of equipment.

Parts availability is also an issue with outdated older equipment. If you’re struggling to find replacement parts for a particular piece of equipment, replacing it may make more sense.

And then there’s the fact that new units often come with a warranty, giving you extra peace of mind that you won’t incur any repair costs over the course of the warranty.

  • Efficiency

Not every decision to replace restaurant equipment is related to its physical condition. Sometimes, it just makes economic sense to replace a unit because you’re losing so much in utility bills. With the many options of ENERGY STAR® restaurant equipment, a new piece of equipment will pay for itself in utility savings alone. Energy cost and life cycle calculators can help you determine just how much you’ll save with a new model. Don’t forget to factor in savings resulting from rebates, deals and tax considerations when purchasing energy-efficient equipment, as well.

  • Performance

Nothing lasts forever, including restaurant cooking equipment. Even with meticulous maintenance, restaurant equipment will fall prey to the elements at some point. Power surges, worn door gaskets, rust and worn griddles are some of the warning signs that it’s time to replace. Rust and power surges pose a hazard while faulty equipment doesn’t lend well to food preparation. If a piece of kitchen equipment is interfering with the final product, it is likely time to replace it.

Other performance-related factors also enter into the equation, including volume change and menu updates. Simply put: If a piece of commercial kitchen equipment is limiting or detracting from the quality of your food, you can’t afford not to replace it.

Lastly, it’s important to recognize that newer equipment may offer benefits, such as enhanced or multi-functionality. If a new piece of equipment will allow your kitchen operators to do more with less, it offers additional savings which may not be directly reflected in your calculations. For example, combi ovens serve the function of a convection oven and commercial food steamer. This gives you the ability to open some space in a crowded kitchen. Therefore, replacing your older convection oven and commercial food steamer with a combi oven may make sense from a financial and operational perspective. Furthermore, newer equipment that’s more user-friendly will help trim labor costs while boosting morale in the kitchen.

Ultimately, there’s no precise standard regarding the exact lifespan of a piece of restaurant equipment due to the significant impact of factors, such as volume of use and proper care and maintenance of kitchen equipment. Still, here’s one rule of thumb to keep in mind when assessing whether a repair or replacement is in order:  If your restaurant equipment is nearing ten years and if you’re noticing escalating signs of wear and tear in both appearance and performance, shopping for a new unit may be the best decision for your long-term bottom line.


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