Welbilt has rolled out its first ever ‘pay as you go’ solution for professional kitchens in the form of a kitchen leasing programme – but it currently has no plans to extend the initiative to the UK.
The manufacturer, which owns brands such as Convotherm, Garland and Merrychef, said the “first-of-its-kind” scheme is designed to provide all of the hot, cold and beverage equipment needed to run a professional kitchen without customers having to finance it from a fixed capital budget.
As well as lowering the initial costs of setting up a professional kitchen and easing cash flow pressures, the benefits of leasing for restaurant chain customers include access to newer products and warranties and the opportunity to update kitchen layouts.
“We are excited to be the first company to offer commercial kitchen leasing solutions that will allow our customers to effectively ‘pay as you go’, rather than to pay entirely up front, for their professional kitchen,” explained Hubertus Muehlhaeuser, president and CEO of Welbilt.
“This is another important step to further tailor our services to our customers’ needs and underlines our commitment to revolutionise the foodservice industry with fresh concepts,” he added.
Welbilt has tied up with Marlin Finance for the project, which is currently available to customers in the US. Asked if there were any plans to roll it out to the UK, a Welbilt spokesperson said “unfortunately not at this time”.
Welbilt said that in the US it will partner with dealers to help operators design the kitchen they wish to lease. Should an operator prefer to lease certain appliances, but not a full kitchen system, it will allow them to bundle equipment.
Mr Muehlhaeuser continued: “Leasing an entire kitchen provides restaurant owners with a high level of flexibility, lower risk of full ownership, an uptime guarantee and better cash flow. Our customers can buy the equipment at the expiration of the lease or get brand new models with new warranties and new advanced technology features. In addition, operators can exchange one brand for an entirely new brand with little to no cost. This flexibility allows restaurants to constantly evolve their menu concept, improve their kitchen design, and to introduce innovations in cooking solutions.”
The leasing of catering equipment is a topic that remains pertinent to the UK market, however. Nisbets last year introduced a leasing programme to make it more affordable for customers to source new cooking and refrigeration equipment, and CEO Klaus Goeldenbot acknowledged it could become an important tool for the firm.