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September 30, 2004 11:07 AM quote 
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 To Ansul or not to ansul?
Hello everyone. I am literally 3-4 weeks away from opening my cafe. I have had my plumbing inspection, electrical will be done this week and signed off on, floors are ready to be laid down, all furniture ready, equipment is ready so of course you know that I have problems. My original estimate for the ansul system was budgeted and the other day when the company came out they did a walk thru and the cost shot up by more than 50%. The rational "oh we didnt know that we needed to do this, now you have to do that" familiar words to alot of you on the board. I am at the end of my budget and it will not a lot to squeeze out much more especially when the price goes up more than 50%. I am not going into my reserve money because we all knnow you need that . I want to scratch the ansul system and work with the electrical equipment we have (panini, soup warmers) and purchase instead a small pizzza conveyor oven so that I can do small pizza, buffalo wings, potatoe skins ect. 90% of the menu so far does not call for food that needs to be under a grill. We are mostly serving cold sandwiches, panini's, soup (ready made) a ton of desserts and espresso drinks. My partner feels that we need the ansul system to have a fully functional kitchen for two reasons- 1. we have done so much to the space that we mine as well keep going and 2. there are a number of bars and other restaurants building out on the main street (it is about 8 blocks) I feel that we need to stick to what we do which is dessert and coofee with other lite fare and not let these coming restaurants and bars dictate what we do. Putting in the ansul system at this price (and I have called around to other company's telling them exactly what this company said. Price has been pretty comparable) will cut us so close that it makes me sick to think about it. I dont understand why my partner thinks that we wont be successful without serving food food. I have worked the numbers on just the coffee and dessert and I am happy with what they are saying. Any thoughts?

Nitika

PS- Can I get some names of insurance companies that dont frown upon new ventures. I have an insurance company lined up but I have been holding off on them because they want to charge me $14,000 a year with liquor liability). I have the check waiting for them but of course i would like to get something cheaper. I am also in NY so that might be a big factor as well. Any help would be appreciated.
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September 30, 2004 11:24 AM quote 
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The only thing that comes to mind is that you gota do a whole lot more shopping for contractors. Don't tell them what price you are looking at. They will automatically price close to what you tell them. Instead consider two options:
1. Tell them that you are looking for quotes, this automatically let's them know that you will be going to their competitors if they want your business they better give you the best price.
2. I hate to say this - but lie to them. Tell them about the original price you got (the cheaper price) and ask them if they can beat it.

As another suggestion - what about a phased approach. How about you go without the ansul system for now. Get your cafe up and running and then bring it in later. Kind of like a compromise between you and your partner.

Mik
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September 30, 2004 12:13 PM quote 
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Nitika, it's not up to you if you want or don't want the anusl system....it will depend on the type of equipment you will be using and what your local fire codes say. You should have a buildings inspection department that will tell you the requirements for ansul and ventilation systems. I assume that your intial building plan was reviewed by them and they have been making inspections already.

To answer your second question, try your state restaurant assocation, they may point you in a better direction for insurance coverage. Also call around to some other restaurants, they can be a good head-up for leads.

Howard
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September 30, 2004 2:42 PM quote 
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Nitika-

Howard ( Burgerman) is correct - your plans , equipment and menu will dictate whether or not the inspectors feel you need a fire suppression system or not. Do your homework and contact your local fire marshal to be sure of what you need before you attempt your final inspection. Remember that it always costs more to "redo" something than it does to do it right from the start.

- H
September 30, 2004 6:14 PM quote 
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NITIKA:

If the others didn't get your attention your fire insurance rates will if you are cooking anything, and friers are the worst. Our state health & safety code will not allow an unhooded cook stove. If you are only re-heating on it that's probably different.

Enjoy your new venture and good luck!!!
October 1, 2004 2:21 PM quote 
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dear nikita,
all these answers are based on your builing code where you are, some municipalities require this equipment to pass code others do not, check with the local codes enforcement officer to find out . also there are various insurance companies that will wrte your policies but be prepared to pay a higher premium cost because you are a startup. travelers insurance company has one of the lowest rates available and theyre online check out there website www.travelersins.com
October 2, 2004 9:59 AM quote 
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I did check with the fire department and they stated that any open flame, fryer or oven needs to be under a hood. THey also told me that they are backed up at least 4-6 weeks for inspections!!!!!!!!!! That really made me make up my mind. I am going to have the hood installed and let my contractor do all the prep work for the ansul system and open without it. At least I will be eliminating an inspection. One of my cousins (you know how they come out of the woodwork) is a cook at a restaurant two blocks away from me. I called him the other day and he gave me the lowdown on a lot of my competition and he went over my menu with me. He made a lot of suggestions on the preparation that would eliminate the hooded equipment. He also told me about a few fires that he had in his kitchen and he wasnt smiling at all!!!!!!!!! I dont need any fires right now or ever so the ansul is scratched until the cafe's revenue can pay for it and until I am able to hire an expereinced cook to be in the kitchen with all that equipment. Thanks for everyones input on the subject. It was greatly appreciated.
October 2, 2004 12:23 PM quote 
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Nitika...how big a hood are you talking about?

The ventilation system (hood) is important for ventilation, ever been in a hot kitchen in the summer? The anusl system is to prevent major fires, something that will be paid for by the savings on your insurance premiums...just like an alarm system.

Howard
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