For most foodservice operators, the thought of raising menu prices is shudder-inducing. But if there’s one thing consumers have proven consistently, it’s that they are willing to pay for quality, convenience and unique experiences – even if it’s a little bit more. So, while it’s natural to think twice (or even thrice) before investing a significant portion of your budget on new equipment, there are times upgrades and high-dollar purchases can improve your food quality, boost your overall efficiency and help you carve out a unique niche in the marketplace. And those are an investment worth passing on to your customers through your menu prices.
1. It’s time for an aesthetic overhaul
Never underestimate the literal value of great atmosphere. Instagram has spurred an entire category of foodservice concepts based solely around creating photogenic food. So, while you’re contemplating tasty beauties like rainbow bagels and charcoal-black soft serve, consider Instagrammable décor as well – from curb appeal that grabs patrons’ attention and lighting that draws them in, to servingware that encourages them to snap and post photos, and a patio they want to return to again and again.
2. Your equipment needs an upgrade
When your equipment starts to deteriorate, it can impact your business in more ways than one. In addition to repairs being a financial drain, malfunctioning equipment can bring down food quality and reduce your overall efficiency. This is especially true for ranges, ovens and large refrigeration units like walk-ins. A new walk-in protects the freshness and quality of your food, and can provide better organizational opportunities that boost your efficiency. A new range or oven can help eliminate downtime in your operation – while also speeding up production and giving you a competitive edge that all businesses need.
3. You’re building a better bar
From fountain drinks and juices to full bar service, beverages are high profit-margin menu items for any foodservice operation – making them extra special just gives you the opportunity to make those margins even higher. Want to craft artisan sodas and juice blends, with a cult following? You’ll need cold-press juicers, an enhanced water filtration system and high-end taps. And for a traditional bar worth coming back to, consider unique, specialty glassware to help create a stand-out experience.
4. You’re ramping up the flavor
Sometimes, the creation of signature flavors just can’t be achieved with everyday commercial kitchen equipment. Sous vide machines deliver flavor infusion and cooking perfection that’s hard to beat. Rotisserie ovens provide even cooking and easy basting and can be accessorized to cook other meats and vegetables as well. Smokers and wood-burning grills or ovens are two more good examples – allowing you to burn your own blend of wood and chips to impart a flavor all your own.
5. You have a need for speed
Good food delivered fast is the quickest way to a loyal customer’s heart and wallet. So, any equipment that can speed up production in your kitchen is worth it. A high-speed oven, for example, can add a toasty crunch to your gourmet sandwiches in 20 percent of the time it takes a traditional oven, and a clamshell grill can get your lunchtime burger crowd in and out the door with speedy satisfaction.