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Some Preliminary Thoughts before Starting a Restaurant

Jan 30, 2008
So romantic ideas aside, starting any business takes a good deal of planning, and a restaurant or any food service takes even more thoughtful fact gathering. This article will give you an idea springboard to look further into the prospects of bringing your culinary dreams come true.

Before you buy any restaurant supplies or building materials, try finding a consultant to talk to before you start anything that you can't back out of. Basically, any consultant in the restaurant field can be found in your local yellow pages. Word of mouth is better. If you have a network of people you can talk to in the industry, look for someone who can recommend a good consultant they've previously worked with. This is already assuming that you have the logistics of where your place is going to be and a mental picture of your restaurant concept.

From here, I will concentrate on the stocking of the kitchen portion of your restaurant.

Kitchen Ideas: Buying the Kitchen Gear

The single most important aspect, more than location, atmosphere and staff, is the food that you are planning to serve. That is going to be the driving force, the advertisement, and the magic that keeps people coming back. We'll take a brief look at purchasing restaurant equipment, and if you are serving drinks, some detail about bar supplies.

The equipment has to have the facility to deliver, but not necessarily over elaborate -- extra parts are a pain to watch, maintain and prevent getting lost or broken. Another aspect is to buy products that have some lasting power. Of course, being a beginning entrepreneur, it may not fit the bill getting that $20,000 range and hood, but getting some of the basic tools with some integrity, will benefit you in quality in the production process.

Also, you will want to know what your city codes are in regards to some of the stuff you need to stock your kitchen, especially with storage and cooking products. For instance, the city where you live may have some requirements on what size hood you have over your oven, or what type of gas hook ups you need. Each city may have slightly different standards, and restaurant equipment vendors are not going to give you the heads up before buying.

Some basic points to consider before buying restaurant supplies are:

- Be wary of buying any used equipment from a seller unless you know them
- Try giving a call to your local fire precinct, health department or building inspector before buying; they may have a list or reference guide they can refer you to
- Check the refrigeration materials on any cooler (compressor-type coolers usually) and see if the electric wiring can handle heavy loads when it gets really hot outside
- Watch out for overbuying; make sure that you keep it lean and efficient until you get the hang of your process after running the business for a while

Bar Supplies: The Shopper's List

This is basically a whole new subject, but for the restaurant owner they may go into the game tandem. Here are a few products you may want to put on your buying list whether this is in the works now or if you plan to expand in the future.

Glasses are essential. Depending on the drinks you serve and the atmosphere you want, the style and quality vary. However, there will be a good deal put into selecting these. It will be a fine balance between style and affordability -- think dropped glasses.

Bottle openers. Nothing further needs to be said.

Cocktail mixing supplies are another. If you have a liquor license that includes cocktails, invest in buying measuring spoons or thimbles, cocktail shakers with built-in ice filters are good. Also, look to pour measurers that insert into the bottle neck. It will keep the cocktails consistent as well as the routine restock of the liquor.
About the Author
Art Gib writes for Able Kitchen (http://www.ablekitchen.com) who offers in upward of 80 thousand unique restaurant supplies and equipment at wholesale cost. Able Kitchen has been a supplier for retailers for 50 years as part of the parent company, ABC Target.
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