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Fast Food Equipment and You

Updated on November 14, 2010

Though derided by foodies, nutritionists, and politicians everywhere, fast food still sells. It sells big, in fact. Despite competition from many different types of restaurants and food services, fast food still holds its own in the hypercompetitive restaurant biz. Fast food restaurants, like McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and KFC, are not only a destination for hungry eaters, but also for hungry entrepreneurs, itching for the next challenge. Obtaining a fast food franchise, or starting one’s own fast food joint, when run correctly, is a great way to start a profitable business with room for growth. However, starting a new food endeavor requires a lot of knowledge, from food service, to sales, to marketing, to customer relations. One area of concern for some would-be franchisees is how to obtain and use fast food equipment. This article will highlight some of the more important fast food equipment on the market, with some information on cost and how to obtain it. For those not interested in starting a new business, read on for some inside secrets on the fast food industry! (Note: This hub assumes the fast food business will be of the burgers and fries variety – your needs will vary depending on the particular niche you want to fill.)

Fast Food Equipment for Cooking

The most important items you’ll need to get started are those needed to actually cook and serve the product to your customers. For burgers, chicken, and the like, you’ll need to obtain char grills or broilers. The cost of a char grill or broiler can range from $500 on the low end to $2500 or more. You will need to select your particular grill or broiler based on the business you are in, the volume you need to produce, and the budget for your particular restaurant. You will also need to know the dimension of your kitchen to ensure that you don’t buy something too big or too small. Consider getting ones that can also double as a griddle, especially if you will be serving breakfast.

Another crucial piece of equipment is a commercial deep fryer. This can be used to make fried chicken, chicken nuggets, or the king of fast food, french fries. Maybe you’ll be making desserts, like funnel cake or donuts. There are many other potential applications for the fryer – people love anything and everything fried. All that’s required is a little imagination. The typical commercial deep fryer cost can range from $250 to $3000 and up. Price differences depend on the size and features of your particular fryer. Again, the dimensions and utilities of your kitchen (i.e. electric or gas) will influence your decision. Don’t forget to pick up accessories for your fryer too, like the baskets to hold the food while frying.

Other fast food restaurant equipment you might need for cooking, depending on your niche, may be microwaves (for heating or reheating food), rotisserie ovens (for chickens and other poultry), and sandwich stations (where you can build sandwiches for customers out of prepped ingredients). Prices for these will range wildly; check with your equipment provider for a price quote. Expect to pay thousands of dollars for decent equipment.

Fast Food Accessories

There are other pieces you will need to buy in order to satisfy consumer experience. One is food warmers. These keep food warm if it has to sit for awhile. Coupled with a microwave, this can ensure that your customer receives the freshest, hottest food possible. There are many different types of warmers available, depending on the food you are cooking. Keeping soup warm requires different equipment than keeping french fries warm, for example. Warmers can range in price from less than $100 to $1000 and up, depending on your needs. Don’t forget the opposite – coolers! These can store drinks, like sodas and iced teas, either for your access or for the customers’.

There are also fast food supplies you’ll need for the consumer experience overall. One such necessity is a condiment station, where customers can get ketchup, salt, pepper, straws, and whatever else they need. These alone can be hundreds of dollars. You will also need to obtain trays and baskets for customers to transport their food throughout your restaurant. You can usually pick up trays and baskets in bulk, but expect to pay a pretty penny for these necessities as well.

Fast food equipment is not cheap. Some franchisers require you to have hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash up front. Going into business for yourself isn’t that much cheaper, because you will be starting from scratch, without the support of a trusted brand. It is a risk, as all business endeavors are in the end. However, with the right knowledge, support, financial backing, and hard work, your business can be successful beyond your wildest dreams.


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