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After Covid-19 and the Russo-Ukraine war, it is difficult for my restaurant to recruit suitable chefs and waiters. Even if I persuade with a salary that is half higher than before, few people will be willing to join my team. I consulted with the manager of a restaurant chain I’m close to, and he complained that the situation was spreading to three-quarters of his restaurants.
My restaurant continues to serve diners at lunch and dinner, and I have mobilized my mother, wife, father, and even my 16-year-old son to join the fight. But this is not sustainable action and I feel powerless. My restaurant relies on steady operating income to support bills, rent, and wages, so I have to stay in business.
Anxiety and Struggles of Restaurateurs
My biggest annoyance with the lack of cooks is that I abandon many orders, especially takeout orders. My restaurant’s operating income has decreased by 40% compared to 2019. After seeing many restaurants on the street gradually closing down, I had a strong feeling that I might be next.
I thought about giving up on this restaurant and trying to avoid further losses. But I have paid a lot of money for this restaurant, including the purchase of cooking equipment, rent, and decoration of the restaurant; these have eaten up most of my savings. On the other hand, restaurants are my only source of income and other than that, I can’t find any job that can support household consumption expenses.
New turning point
After 2021, the local government lifted the policy of restricting customer flow in public places, which helped my restaurant get many orders. It gives me a positive sign. I believe this will be an opportunity to turn around a dangerous situation. The frenzy didn’t last long, and my restaurant dropped many orders due to chef shortages.
During COVID-19, my chef has chosen to step down due to the virus or closure of operations. Since then, the number of chefs has been reduced from 10 to 5, which is where it remains today. I spend almost half of my day in the job market trying to attract or interview chefs, with daunting results.
One weekend, my family and I went to Panda Express restaurant for dinner. I saw a chef stir-frying noodles in an automatic stir-fryer. It piqued my interest. The chef told me that in 2019, an innovative cooking technology was being developed in Guangdong Qinxin technology co.,ltd. It’s a technology that cooks, stir-fries, seasons, and cleans automatically.
I believe this will be a great machine to help restaurants cook more food, but I’m still concerned that it will be a worthless investment. The manager of Panda Express maintained enough confidence. He told me that the purchase price of this automatic stir-frying wok cooker is a quarter of a chef’s monthly salary. Even if it is a failed investment, the loss is acceptable. So far, its capabilities are commendable.
Buying Commercial Automatic Cooking machines
Before I made a purchase decision, I asked a Chinese friend Peter to go to Guangdong Qinxin technology co.,ltd (Lestov) to check the production and operation process of the automatic cooking machine for me. He sent me a video and chatted with the developers on Zoom. It is not an exclusive service for me. Peter told me that the Lestov manufacturer provides it for every customer.
I have consulted with many automatic cooking machine manufacturers in China to purchase the most reliable, affordable, and problem-solving equipment. I’ve compiled a list of over Ten automatic stir-fryer suppliers. I’m not sure which one is right for me. Peter told me that the automatic cooking machine is innovative cooking equipment. There are not many manufacturers that can develop it, and most of them are dealers in the market.
Tips for Buying a Commercial Automatic Cooking Machine
A Few Factors That Changed My Opinion About Automatic Cooking machines
If there is a machine that can automatically cook large batches of food, it is commendable. After three months of using my automatic stir fry pan, I’m wary of its capabilities. Why do I feel this way? I still praise the cooking ability of the automatic fryer, but I expect it to cook more food at a time to satisfy more orders.
Low version ≠ cost saving
After I expressed my needs to the Lestov manufacturer, he provided me with a catalog of automatic stir-fryers. A manual detailing the cooking capacity, functions, and dimensions of each automatic stir-fryer. When I bought the lower version of the automatic fryer to save testing costs, I didn’t take future needs into account. If you want to purchase automatic cooking machines, but hesitate because you cannot estimate the product capacity, please come to my restaurant to visit its cooking process.
Low version ≠ standard taste
After I used the LT-TGS30 automatic cooking machine for three months, I found that it did not reduce my workload. I need to arrange for a chef to pour the ingredients, season, and clean the wok. Although one chef can control three automatic wok cookers, this is still a lot of work. On the other hand, the chef cannot guarantee that each dish can achieve the standard taste, which means that there will be taste differences and trial and error costs. In comparison, a stir-frying pan that can automatically stir fry, season, and pour ingredients will be a better choice.
Low version ≠ Dish innovation
A constantly updated menu is an important factor in attracting more diners to a restaurant. But whether it is a professional chef or a restaurant owner, it is difficult to guarantee that new dishes will be promoted to diners every week. It is a long process from creating a new dish to practical application, which means more research and development expenses and trial and error costs.
The ability to innovate dishes is a factor that I value especially when recruiting chefs, but unfortunately, no chef has such abilities. I told this requirement to the manufacturer of lestov, but at first, he didn’t reply to my email until six months later.
He told me that with the addition of an SD card to the new automatic cooking machine, it will store unlimited recipes. The recipe is input by the chef with the cooking steps, heating time, and seasoning capacity, and then the automatic frying machine cooks the food according to the recipe.
You can download recipes from other chefs from Google, Bing, and Facebook, and input them into the automatic cooking machine. It does not require you to learn how to stir-fry a dish, the action will be done by the automatic cooking machine. I am amazed by this, it means that my restaurant can push new dishes to diners every week, every day, but I don’t need to pay for R&D.
I believe there will be a better way to improve the shortage of chefs and fewer orders, and perhaps automatic cooking opportunities are a good way. From my experience, I suggest that you come to my restaurant, manufacturer factory to check the production and cooking process of the automatic cooking machine before buying.
If you run a canteen or chain catering, I do not recommend the LT-TGS30 automatic cooking machine, which is cooking equipment suitable for small restaurants and fast food restaurants. Some automatic stir-fryer machines with large cooking capacity and intelligent cooking will be more suitable for your needs.