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Become a Restaurant Equipment Contractor

Research the requirements to become a restaurant equipment contractor. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in restaurant equipment contracting. View article »

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Restaurant Equipment Contractor

Restaurant equipment contractors sell, design, and install professional-grade restaurant equipment to clients in the food service industry, or those setting up food service operations. They also provide support for business development, such as performing cost analysis of a project, planning proper workflow utilizing restaurant equipment, and recommending safe food handling procedures. They share duties and education requirements with construction managers, who handle cost analysis and construction project management for commercial buildings like restaurants.

This career is also similar to interior designers, who address work space and workflow issues in restaurant kitchens; and wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives, who sell equipment to restaurants.

These professionals are occasionally called on to work long hours to meet deadlines or service their customers; however, they also get to travel to see clients and their businesses in order to assess their equipment needs.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree preferred
Degree Field(s) Engineering, construction science, construction management, architecture.
Licensure/Certification Contractor licensing requirements vary between states; voluntary certification is also available
Experience Experience in general and kitchen-specific contracting
Key Skills Skills with project management software; use of equipment, such as levels and scanners; ability to use construction tools and materials; specialized working knowledge of materials, tools and processes used to construct commercial kitchens; knowledge of commercial kitchen workflows, equipment and procedures
Salary (2015) $87,400 per year (Median salary for all construction managers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET OnLine, State licensing boards

Restaurant equipment contractors typically use project management software. They are comfortable using equipment such as levels and scanners, and construction tools and materials. This career requires specialized working knowledge of the materials, tools and processes used to construct commercial kitchens, knowledge of commercial kitchen workflows and related equipment and procedures.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2015 that construction managers in general earned a median annual salary of $87,400.

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Restaurant Equipment Contractor

This career requires a combination of training, education, and experience.

Step 1: Get Training

Individuals interested in becoming restaurant equipment contractors must obtain experience in the construction industry. This requires on-the-job training as an apprentice or helper working with experienced workers. Although gaining experience in the construction industry eventually leads to a position as a contractor, a bachelor's degree is increasingly important to obtain these positions.

Individuals also gain knowledge by attending trade, technical, or vocational schools, and some companies also hire contractors who completed an associate's degree program.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Although individuals with only a high diploma and years of construction experience could become restaurant equipment contractors, a bachelor's degree in a construction-related field, engineering, or architecture is important. Classes often include construction materials, structural analysis, cost estimating, contract administration, surveying and mapping, construction accounting, and construction liability.

Success Tip:

  • Complete an internship. Hands-on experience is essential to succeed in the construction field. By completing an internship, students have the opportunity to learn from experienced construction personnel and develop practical skills at estimating construction products, learning about materials and tools, and understanding the work environment.

Step 3: Acquire Specialized Knowledge

To specialize as a restaurant equipment contractor, individuals need to acquire knowledge about the installation, requirements, and use of commercial-grade kitchen appliances. Training is acquired through a training program or through experience working with a commercial kitchen equipment contractor.

Step 4: Become Licensed

In many states, general contractors must obtain a state license to work as a contractor in the construction industry. The requirements vary by state but include verification of work experience and passing an examination covering topics in construction techniques, state laws, and safety codes. A contractor adds specialties as he or she gains the necessary experience.

Success Tip:

  • Take an exam preparation course. Many community colleges offer courses designed to prepare students for state contractor certification or licensure. Taking one of these classes helps individuals pass the examination the first time they take it.

Step 5: Obtain Certification

Voluntary certification is available to construction managers through such organizations as the Construction Management Association of America and the American Institute of Constructors.

To obtain certification, construction managers need to pass an examination after gaining the requisite experience. These certifications demonstrate to employers that a candidate possesses the experience, skills, and knowledge required for a position.

Demonstrable, hands-on experience is required for employment as a restaurant equipment contractor. Formal education, such as through a technical, vocational, or academic degree program, is important, with a bachelor's degree in a construction related field becoming more commonly required. Many restaurant equipment contractors have specialized training, voluntary certification, and a state license where required by law.

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