Natural Foods Merchandiser

Outfitting your kitchen

If you’re starting from scratch, you’ve probably spent a good deal of time laying out plans for your prepared-food areas. You dream of artisan cheeses and gluten-free breads, free-range meats and organic salads. To make your dreams a reality, read on for information on how best to equip your kitchen.

Ranges. Though new ranges can cost much more than used ones, spending the extra money is worth the warranty. Choose a range with six to eight burners, a flat-top griddle and standard ovens. Consider a salamander grill for browning, but make sure you have a stand-alone broiler.

Steamers and Combi Ovens. Steamers are great, versatile pieces of equipment. Combi ovens give you the functionality of both a steamer and a convection oven. They’re both great for maximizing space and functionality.

Dishwashing stations. Dishwashing machines are worth the splurge just in the long-term labor savings, but their complex nature means they are often in need of repair. Consider a preventative maintenance contract with your dish soap and chemical vendor because that company will have a vested interest in keeping the machine running.

Small delis can get away with a heavy-duty, under-counter machine; larger departments should get an automatic, door-type rack machine. If you’re especially strapped for space, consider an energy-saving power sink, which saves money in labor and energy costs and doesn’t require a hood. For larger items that won’t fit in either option, make sure you pick scullery sinks with large, deep bowls.

For further resources, check out CFESA’s Foodservice equipment guide.

Some of the information in this article was adapted from a 2002 NFM article.

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