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Premium vs. Budget Equipment: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

The premium vs. budget dilemma isn't unique to galley equipment. Whether it's washing machines, TVs, or cars, at some point in our lives, we'll all find ourselves weighing up quality against price. At the end of the day, this decision comes down to priorities. What do you want to get out of your purchase, and how important is the item to you? Picking galley equipment is no different – you'll just be asking yourself a slightly different set of questions before making a decision. To help you make the right choice, we've put together a list of five questions you should ask yourself before choosing equipment.

Two people researching at marine catering equipment

What's your budget?

Budgets are a pretty obvious place to start, but it’s a bit more complicated than “this is how much I have to spend, so this is the equipment I'll buy." While you have to manage upfront costs against your budget, it’s always worth thinking long-term. When you purchase a piece of budget equipment, your upfront costs will be lower, but you may end up spending more in the long term once you've factored in repairs, replacements, and downtime.

If you're replacing a piece of budget equipment, it’s a good idea to take a look at how much it initially cost and how much you've spent repairing it over the past 5 years to determine whether it would have been cheaper to purchase premium equipment that would have been more reliable.

Sometimes budgets are fixed and can’t be changed, but if you think premium equipment will save you money in the long term, it’s well worth having the conversation.

What are your objectives for the equipment?

Aligning your equipment budget with your objectives is essential if you want to make the right purchase. This isn’t a "you must always buy premium equipment" blog! In some cases, opting for budget equipment makes sense. For example, if you're doing the annual refit of a passenger ferry and you only want the equipment to last a year, budget equipment will most likely do the job. However, if you’re equipping a galley that will be operating in harsh conditions and you need the equipment to be reliable, going for budget equipment wouldn’t be sensible.

How essential is the equipment to your operation?

It should go without saying, if a piece of equipment is essential to your operation, going for a budget option is not a good idea. Going back to the passenger ferry analogy, if your ferry has one fryer and it breaks down, you won’t be able to serve your full menu and your company will lose revenue (not to mention the cost of downtime caused by unscheduled maintenance). As your operation relies on this piece of equipment and you’ll lose revenue if it breaks, you should go for a premium option. However, if your passenger ferry has three fryers, the impact of one breaking down is likely to be far smaller. As you’re not as reliant on each of the fryers, you can afford to purchase less reliable budget equipment.

How much space do you have? Do you have redundancy?

These two questions go hand in hand. Equipment redundancy means having two of the same piece of equipment either both working at half capacity or with only one being used. The reason for doing this is that if one breaks, the other can handle the full workload with no disruption to your operation. Depending on how and where equipment will be used, redundancy can reduce the risk of purchasing budget equipment. That’s where question number two comes in. Redundancy is great, but it requires space. Many ships have limited galley space, and taking it up with a piece of equipment that’s either being used at half capacity or not at all just doesn’t make sense. If space restrictions mean that equipment redundancy isn’t an option for you, then you should choose premium equipment.

Considering these five questions will help you make a more informed decision when it comes to selecting galley equipment. However, there's no one-size-fits-all answer – it depends on your specific needs and circumstances. At Wathen Marine, we specialise in designing galleys that balance price and performance. Contact us today to speak to an expert.

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