Here are some great ideas and tips on how to get the best out of a canteen upgrade and save money.
You are always best to go for commercial equipment where possible. Domestic warranties don’t apply when equipment is used in a canteen. One school I know had its domestic oven burst into flames. It was put down to the fact it was used virtually all day every trading day and wasn’t designed for that.
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative and don’t mind secondhand then I know of multiple schools that have got some great buys from www.graysonline.com.au auction. If your local auction place has a catering section it may be worth a visit. I got a slushee machine for$25 and stainless bench for $50
If you are going for a grant or upgrading the canteen there are lots of different ways to spend your money. The following list is from schools I have worked with and what they have spent their money on recently. If you have anything to add to this list please send an email to the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Air conditioners- Aim for ones like Coles so you don’t have to close everything up
Benches- If you are changing to stainless steel benches get some of them with lockable wheels so you can move them about if you need to.
Cash registers, scanners and point of sale equipment- The scanners are excellent if you have self-serve. You cannot track your stock or secure your funds without the correct type of register
Coffee machines- the volunteers will love you for it! Go for ALDI type at $70 or a barista style for 5k and have a café in larger schools
Coin counters-makes sorting and counting so much quicker at the end of the day
Cold room- you can also get ones that are half freezer as well. Much easier to cook in bulk. Add on the glass front doors and you have a self-serve drinks cabinet you can restock from behind.
Commercial blender- smoothies…yum
Commercial dishwashers- they have 1 and 3 minute cycles and can fit extra large items. Volunteers will love you for this one too! Saves on chemicals as they reach a high heat and sanitise
Commercial foot pedal bins
Commercial Ovens-If you are buying a commercial oven make sure you purchase the matching large baking trays at the same time. Remember to find out how much it will cost to install. One Canteen recently paid more for the installation than they did for the oven itself. The unox ones even wash themselves…with suds!
Commercial range hood
Commercial sandwich toasters/grills- or the unox oven has a toastie setting and its perfect, fast and easy
Counter fridges- they save all that walking and the customers can see what is for sale. Cold display units from Cossiga are great.
Cupboards- Make sure you get doors on the cupboards to limit vermin access and try to get a couple of big drawers as well as standard size.
Electricity. Make sure you get power to the front counter and overhead power to the food prep bench. Check that the circuits can take the load so you don’t have power trip outs. Get a few extra power points in case you need them later
Freezers- you can purchase upright double door freezers [like the drink fridges], they use less floor space and you don’t have to unpack everything to get to the items[ much easier on your back] or go for one like a cold room
Fruit and vegetable sink- A stand alone F&V sink is great for schools that do a lot of food prep.
Hand wash station- Go for flick mix taps or sensor taps. One school I saw recently had a hand dryer as a part of the tap.
Hot and cold counter display units- these are the fancy version of the old pie oven. Like the cossiga ones in hot too
Hot drink dispensers- great for high schools in winter
Office space- Allow room for a desk and filing cabinet and office chair on wheels. A computer with internet access is handy for ordering and flyers and all the paperwork.
Laminator- so you can laminate all those signs for ease of cleaning.
LCD menu display screens- Definitely becoming more popular in high schools
Phone- A cordless phone is much easier for ordering as you can move around with it.
Roller doors that electronically open- One convenor I know pushes a button and all 8 rollers go up. No more sore backs
Sandwich making fridge/bench- these are good if you make a lot of sandwiches or are in a hot climate
Screens- make sure your screen doors are fitted with auto closers and that counter screens are customer friendly [so volunteers, older students and parents are not constantly bending down]. You can get ones that slide across or ones that roll up.
Sinks- Go for large double sinks so you can fit the big things in them, but don’t go that large that they take too much water to fill up for normal use. Or are too deep that you have to bend over to reach in.
Slushee machine- buy your own and use 100% juice
Soup kettle- Great in winter for soup or pasta dishes
Trolleys- save your back where you can
Zipboil urns- Good for larger schools who use the kettle a lot
Remember you get what you pay for. Investing in decent equipment usually ends up saving you money in the long run