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Range, hood, ice maker recommendations

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'm opening a commercial kitchen this year and would like opinions on what brand of commercial range, hood and ice maker you find the most reliable. I know the most popular hood is Captive Air and the most popular ice maker is Manitowoc but I'd like to know if they are worth the money.

At this moment, cost isn't an issue but of course it will be when I make a final decision.

Thanks for the help.
post #2 of 5
I recommend buying all large fixtures used, with warranty. With the hit the economy is taking there is plenty of stuff available; and equipment brokers should be more than cordial to buyers.

It's commercial equipment. If you're planning to own it for more than a couple of months, it's going to get scratched and dinged. Don't pay for shiny-new, it's just a waste Because it's new to you, you'll get the same tax advantage.

Look at it this way: Plan on succeeding or not. If you succeed, you'll have controlled your costs during the early phase of the business and can buy new. If you don't succeed, you've fronted thousands of dollars less. And if you're in the netherland of struggling -- those thousands of dollars may make the difference between ultimately succeeding or not.

The only exception I'd make is that you may be able to get better financing on new. Cash is almost always the biggest first year problem, so look to the first year bottom line when you make your projection.

Whatever you buy, make sure that it can be quickly and inexpensvily repaired in your area -- which I gather is Sacramento. Downtime is incredibly expensive. Commerical equipment can be regional -- and this manifests itself mostly as parts availability. For instance, Wolf makes more sense out here in the west than it would in Pennsylvania.

post #3 of 5
If you want to buy new, as BDL says, check out who in your area is a factory registered dealer/repair for that particular brand.

Gas ranges are a pretty safe bet to buy used. Not much goes wrong with them, and they are pretty low tech to repair. That being said, most models up to a few years ago have constant pilot lights, and these can eat up gas. Models older than 10-15 years usually have lower BTU ratings (20,000 vs 25,00 and 30,000 on newer models) on the burners.

The hood? It's just a hunk of S/S. Thing is, you need a registered mechanical engineer to draw plans for the shaft, extraction fans and intake fans and submit them to City hall--no mech. eng. stamp, no permit. Then you need the make-up air--which almost always is tempered (read: A/C) and the fire supression system. New or used for the hood, extraction fans, make up units and fire supression equipment is fine. It is the ventilation system that usually is the biggest single cost item for any kitchen.

Ice machines.... With anything electro-mechanical--especially refrigeration it's best to go new. Kind of buying a used car--dealer swears it was driven by a little old lady once a week to go to church. Many factors can really wreak havoc on refrigeration, these can include insufficent amperage--bigger strain on the compressor=shorter life on compressor, infrequent cleaning/no cleaning of compressor radiator=shortened compressor life, insufficient/non performance of cleaning out the ice machine system, machines running in warm/hot areas= prolonged strain on compressor, and storage of yeast, yeast products, tomatoes, acidic ingredients in fridges. Believe me these items will corrode the coil in a mattter of less than a year, which normally results in the replacement of the evaportor coil=big bucks. Refrigeration is one area where it is best to buy new, the only exception being used panels and doors for walk-in units.

Get your shelving, china, glass, sinks, and assorted smallwares used if possible. Either it's broke or it isn't, very easy to tell. With electro-mechanical equipment it's very hard to tell, and the last thing you want is the d/washer breaking down on a Friday night or your cook calling you up Sunday morning telling you that when he opened the freezer, the ice-cream puddled all over the floor.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 


Thank you both for the advice, especially about making sure I have local people to fix what I've bought. That will save me a bundle on something that I hadn't even considered.
post #5 of 5
For ice machines,

I know Hoshizaki, Scotsman, and Manitowac to be great manufacturers of them.
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