Casters make life in your restaurant’s kitchen a whole lot easier. They allow you to roll heavy equipment around for cleaning. They make your mop buckets mobile and power hand carts and loaded shelving in your walk-in and storage areas. They even let you roll the trash out quickly. The lowly caster serves many purposes, but what many restaurateurs don’t realize is how easy they are to replace, and, most importantly, how much money you can save by buying casters for new equipment separately.
Let’s start with new restaurant equipment and shelving. Any time you buy a new piece of heavy restaurant equipment like a gas range, a fryer, or a reach in refrigerator or freezer, the manufacturer will want you to buy an accompanying caster set. Casters on this heavy equipment is a great idea because it makes cleaning your kitchen much easier. An even better idea is to buy an after-market caster set separately, with the same weight capacities and heavy duty construction, at a fraction of what the equipment manufacturer wants to charge you. Most heavy restaurant equipment will take a plate caster or a threaded stem caster.
The wire shelving you use in walk-ins and for storage are much easier to handle if you mount them on casters. That way, shelving can be moved for cleaning, and the extra height will help you meet the minimum 6” space between the bottom shelf and the floor required by the health inspector. Shelving usually takes an expanding stem caster. And while we are on the subject of shelving, if you are buying some for your walk-in, make sure you get the epoxy coated kind! The moist environment in a walk-in causes non-coated shelving to rust very quickly, which not only looks bad, it means you’ll be buying more shelving within a few years.
Hand carts, dollies, and mop buckets also have casters. Unlike restaurant equipment, these items usually come already mounted with their casters, so buying them separately is not an option. However, those casters often break or wear out long before the item is no longer useful. Replacements are often hard to find unless you know where to look. These casters are often very easy to replace, getting a replacement caster can extend the life of your carts, dollies, and mop buckets.
So the next time you need some new equipment casters or need to replace some old ones, remember that you have options, and if you look around, you can save some significant dough by buying smart.