If you're contemplating opening a deli or sandwich shop, you've probably given some thought to the types of restaurant equipment you'll need. While there are several machines available to help you run an efficient business, you might want to focus on three essential categories. These groupings include basic cooking equipment, food preparation equipment and warming (holding) equipment. To help you choose wisely, take a closer look at some of the offerings you may find at a restaurant supply company, such as Louis Wohl & Sons Inc:
1. Basic Countertop Cooking Appliances
Running a small sandwich shop, sub shop or deli style restaurant takes precision equipment to help your business run smoothly and efficiently. Some of the basics you will need for cooking your menu items include:
- Commercial-Grade Sandwich Grill or Panini Press: To prepare panini style sandwiches or grilled sandwiches, look for a model with both upper and lower grill plates. The plates should be removable for easy cleaning in your commercial dishwasher. Another feature to look for in a panini grill is a thermostat control for easy adjustment. This comes in handy when cooking various types of sandwiches that require different temperature settings, such as burgers versus grilled cheese sandwiches. Additionally, check the hinges on the grill. Floating hinges allow you to close the grill at the height of your choice. This is convenient if you're cooking a multi-tiered sandwich that is of a taller height than standard. Conversely, it allows you to adjust the height for a single layer (short) sandwich.
- Commercial Microwave: If you offer pre-cooked breakfast sandwiches or bacon for your club sandwiches, you will find a commercial microwave oven to be an essential part of your restaurant supplies. Depending upon your volume of your customers, you may choose from the compact, mid-size or full-sized microwave. Typically, models can range anywhere from a few hundred to several hundred dollars, depending on the features. What should you consider when shopping for a commercial grade microwave? A high wattage microwave will cook foods fast and a turntable will help heat foods evenly, with minimal risk of "hot spots." An automatic defrost feature is another important for cooking frozen foods quickly.
- Heavy-Duty 4-Slice Toaster: This is a must for any restaurant, particularly a deli or sandwich shop. A pop-up toaster of brushed chrome should serve you well. As for features, look for LED indicators with a browning control knob for setting desired level of toasting. In addition, extra wide slots are essential for toasting bagels and thick slices of bread. Last but not least, because quick clean-up is equally important, you'll want a toaster with an easy slide-out crumb tray.
2. Food Preparation Equipment
Your sandwich shop will make good use of the following:
- Meat Slicer: This machine is used in just about every deli style restaurant. It's going to slice your cold cuts and tomatoes efficiently, in the thickness level you desire. Choose a slicer to accommodate your usage, such as entry level for a few hours of slicing per day, or heavy-duty (deluxe) that can handle several hours of slicing per day.
- Commercial Food Processor: Here are a features to look for: For quick and efficient chopping of sandwich veggies,choose a unit with several processing discs to grate, slice and chop. Removable attachments are also a must. Continuous feed helps you prepare large quantities of chopped vegetables quickly. Some models also include mixing bowls for convenience.
3. Food Holding Equipment
Basically, holding equipment will keep your cooked foods warm until ready to be served. Here is an example
- Full-Sized Tabletop Warmer: This may be used with or without water. Models that use water produce steam for keeping cooked foods such as chicken and meatballs fresh and hot. The opening on the steamer/warmer should accommodate all standard sized pans.
- Freestanding Heat Lamp: This small countertop unit works to keep sandwiches warm. You may choose from a single or double bulb model. These devices use infrared light bulbs for heat.
- Electric Soup Warmer: For restaurants that serve soup and sandwich combos, this is a must. Basically, the electric soup warmer looks almost like an over-sized crock pot, with a huge "pot belly" for holding quarts of soup. Many have thermostat controls and interior inserts for quick clean up.
Although there are many types of restaurant equipment you may eventually acquire when operating your business, the three categories above are basics for everyday needs. Even though buying new restaurant equipment is preferable for most, you might save money by purchasing used equipment. When doing so, be sure to inspect the equipment for signs of wear and tear or damage, as safety should be a top priority.