When it comes to shopping for new restaurant equipment – big and large – it can be trying to find reliable reviews. For the residential counter-parts, Amazon is the go-to-resource for customer reviews that really tell the story on how you could expect a piece of equipment to work in the home kitchen, but there’s something about the restaurant industry that doesn’t lend to extra time for leaving reviews for others to learn from (I mean, everyone that works in the restaurant industry has the extra time to sit in front of a computer and write reviews, right?). With that said, here are a few tips on how you can find the answers you need when shopping for new commercial restaurant equipment.
1. Research the category first.
Start with researching the over-arching-category first. You likely know what you’re in the market for, i.e. searching for a new ‘fryer’ will yield better results than searching for ‘restaurant equipment.’ Search the web for key phrases that may help you find the information you need:
- Deep fryer + buying guide
- Commercial deep fryers
- Shopping for restaurant deep fryers
This will help you find the questions you should be asking when searching for a new piece of equipment and will help you narrow down your choice to the type of sub-category and/or products you should be further researching.
2. Start researching specific equipment models.
Just like you’d do with buying residential equipment, using the research you’ve already done, get specific brand name and model numbers of equipment you may be interested in and see if there are reviews written in various places across the web. Let’s take a Hamilton Beach CPM700. This heavy-duty mixer is similar to other popular mixer brands, but maybe you’re not as familiar with it. Before you make the investment, do some digging on what other buyers think about the mixer – take note of reviews and questions you find on other retailer sites. Search the web for these key phrases:
- Hamilton Beach + CPM700
- Hamilton Beach + commercial mixer
3. Search product videos.
While you’re doing your search, make sure to switch over to ‘videos’ (in Google, it’s one of the options below the search box) and take a look at product videos that may exist. There are usually comments below the videos that could help with your research as well.
4. Ask the professionals.
Most sites have a Live Chat feature that allows you to chat instantly with a customer service rep. When you’re able to share the details behind your purchase (e.g. how you’ll be using the equipment, how often you’ll be using the equipment, etc.), they can often better match you with the equipment that’ll suite your needs. Don’t be afraid to chat.
5. Ask your peers.
Lastly, if you have time to wait for feedback, find a forum where peers are more than willing to share insight on their own experiences with different restaurant equipment and brands. You can search the internet for ‘equipment category + forum’ and typically get results for existing forums in your profession, especially when you start making the search results more granular, e.g. ‘equipment category + forum + restaurant.’