Want to know the best-kept secret to successful restaurants? Portion control. When it comes to saving money and delivering on consistent dishes, look no further than a food scale. It may not seem much when you inadvertently add a little extra to a dish here or there, but those small additions add up quickly to something much larger quicker than you think. Chefs use scales to keep their recipes on track—both by taste and cost. Chances are you're ready to add a kitchen scale to your operation, and we're here to help. At Tundra Restaurant Supply, we feature a variety of food scales for the commercial kitchen such as bench scales, pizza scales, receiving scales and many more from the industry's leading manufacturers like Escali, Edlund, Taylor and Globe. For more about food scales, check out our Commercial Scale Buying Guide.
Mechanical Scale or a Digital Scale
There are some traditionalists out there who love the feel and style of a mechanical scale. As a kitchen tool that's stood the test of time, a mechanical scale can get the job done without worrying about a power source. The biggest challenge that faces mechanical scales is cleanliness; if you're portioning out floured dough, it's near to impossible to keep food particles out of the scale mechanisms. Plus that daily wear and tear will take a toll on the springs of your scale, so you might find yourself needing to replace certain parts more quickly than others.
A digital scale, however, is often a fully sealed unit that protects inner mechanisms from food particles and other grime. Easy to clean and easier to use, digital scales provide foolproof calculations to anyone on your staff. If you can get past the one caveat of a digital scale (it's cost), you could have a very helpful tool on your hand.
Kitchen Scales and Their Uses
Mechanical and digital scales are by far the most popular type of scale found in a commercial kitchen. That said there are a variety of other food scales designed for specific tasks that make life just a little bit easier for chefs like you. For example, a pizzeria may be interested in stocking up on a few pizza scales for their back line so that cooks can build a great pizza using the proper ratio of ingredients each and every time. Hanging scales are still a favorite for grocery stories, delis and bakeries when you need an easy-to-use and easy-to-read weight done quickly without breaking the bank. Finally, for those businesses that take in product at high quantities, a receiving scale is crucial for managing inventory control.
Scale Purchasing Considerations
Besides obtaining an accurate weight reading, there are other scale features you should consider before purchasing. On digital scales, features like an automatic shut off can help preserve precious battery life while a tare feature can help you reset the displayed weight back to zero in a flash. Mechanical scales, on the other hand, require scale calibration kits to ensure consistent (and accurate) scale readings. And it may seem odd, but think about the actual size of the scale as well. If you're hoping this scale will do double-duty around the restaurant, consider how easy it is to transport as well.
Finally, consider the long-term life of your scale. Food scales made out of stainless steel are rustproof, a key feature in hot and humid environments (i.e., most commercial kitchens). Some kitchen scales can even be run through the dishwasher! Ideally you want a scale that matches your unique needs—there's no point sizing up on a sale if you don't need to use the additional features.