When opening up a new restaurant, there are many items you need to have to ensure that you’ve stocked the kitchen for the grand opening and every day after. While most of the kitchen equipment you’ll need will be obvious, one piece that many people tend to overlook is a bench scale. Granted, depending on the type of restaurant you’re opening, this might not be one of the most vital things you’ll need, but it could have its niche uses within any kitchen.
However, that doesn’t mean you should just go out there and buy the first bench scale you find. There are certain qualities that you’ll want to look for in the one you end up purchasing. Use this guide on 10 must-have features on every restaurant bench scale to discover what to look for in this kitchen essential.
This first feature is easily the most important one on this entire list. You need to make sure the bench scale you buy has a digital readout instead of an old-fashioned needle one. Digital scales are more accurate, easier to read, and more functional in general. Many of the following features in this list can only exist in a bench scale that uses a digital format. The main goal of a needle-based scale is to be basic and cheap, but in a busy restaurant, you’ll need something that can do it all.
Percentage or Tolerance Weighing
In the restaurant world, when you have a scale, you’ll typically use it for mostly the same food items. A perfect example is that many establishments use their scale for weighing meat. Restaurants usually determine a steak’s price based on its weight, so you’ll want to make sure it matches the serving size that a customer asked for.
A straightforward way to determine if an item is close enough to the requested size is to use a percentage or tolerance weighing feature. Both will tell you how close the object on the scale is to the desired weight. If it falls within your accepted weight range, then your chef will know that it’s good to go.
Of course, figuring out these variations when you’re not on the clock would be ideal. That’s why you should make sure your scale has an output printer. This feature will allow you to determine the weights of certain foods when it first comes in and print out a label so that your cooks can check the food’s weight without wasting time at the scale. An output printer might not be a solution for all foods, but it will certainly help with some of them.
If you didn’t know, you can use bench scales for more than just weighing. Some can count the number of comparable items as well. If you know the average weight of a piece of food, you can input that into a scale, load it up with a bunch of that item, and get a reasonably accurate count of how many you have. This is invaluable for rapid inventory checks.
While most bench scales are on the smaller side, some of them can get pretty large. In a fast-paced kitchen environment, traffic jams at the scales are something you might want to avoid. Sometimes the best course of action is to bring the scale to the food, so having an easily portable one might be an aspect you’ll want to consider.
It’s no secret that restaurant kitchens can get quite messy. That’s why it’s practically a necessity to check a scale’s ingress protection (IP) rating before buying it. The better the rating, the less likely it’ll break down when dust particles or water droplets sneak their way into the scale’s primary components.
Legal for Trade
While it’s not a requirement for a kitchen scale to be one that’s legal for trade since your products are served for consumption, this isn’t a bad feature to have. If a scale is legal for trade, that means it went through a lengthy certification process, which will ensure that the measurements it outputs will be as accurate as possible. If you want to provide a high level of precision with your food’s weights, this is a crucial feature.
Unfortunately, not all food is the same size or shape. Round objects or smaller ones that you have to weigh in large groups might have trouble staying on the scale while you’re weighing them. Luckily, one of the most common features on a bench scale is a tear functionality. This feature allows you to use a bowl to put these food items into in order to keep them stationary. With this function, you can weigh the bowl first, then press the tear button to subtract the weight of the bowl. That way, you can easily determine the measurements of only the food, not the food plus the bowl.
Of course, the one problem with the tear functionality is how much time it can take. Things need to move fast in the kitchen, and removing the food from a bowl to weigh it, then putting the food back in can be a hassle. Fortunately, some scales exist that have a bowl-shaped platform instead of a standard flat one. The only problem is you won’t be able to fit all your food products into that bowl with ease.
That’s why you should try to find a scale that has interchangeable platforms. This feature will allow you to use either the flat or bowl platform, depending on your current need. Plus, most of these platforms are super easy to remove, so it’ll take you no time at all to switch them out.
It should go without saying that you wouldn’t want to overpay for your bench scale, but you don’t want to go too cheap either. Finding a reasonably priced option is ideal, but there’s a reason why we’re bringing up cost as one of our must-have features on every restaurant bench scale. It’s because there’s a good chance that you’ll want to buy more than one.
Suppose your kitchen staff needs to weigh various food products often, or you want to have one scale with the bowl attachment and one with the flat one. In those cases, it’s beneficial to have more than one active scale at a time. Making sure you get a good deal on yours will help make this a possibility that won’t break your budget.
Lucky for you, here at Prime USA Scale, we have a large selection of bench scales for sale at affordable prices. Just be sure to take your time to find the one that has all the other features you’re looking for. Contact us today to find the right solution for your restaurant!