Measurement equipment manufacturer Testo is urging end users to reconsider its investments into thermometers, claiming that ‘cheap’ units are more costly than the industry realises. Testo’s product marketing manager, Ashton Baylis, advises the catering equipment industry to dig deeper into its pockets for more suitable measuring equipment:
As all those in the in the food, service or catering industries will know well, the ability to make quick temperature spot checks is an essential part of your daily routine. There are a number of foods which must be cooked at a minimum internal temperature in order to remove any harmful bacteria; from meat and poultry, to eggs and other products.
Utilising a food thermometer is the easiest way of taking such measurements; ensuring both safety and the food is cooked to the desired taste. They also provide an easy way of making certain prepared food is kept at the appropriate temperature prior to being served (although you of course need to make sure you either use a different thermometer to measure cooked foods, or sanitise appropriately).
Since a food thermometer is such an important tool in food preparation, making sure you have a fully functioning, reliable thermometer available at all times is absolutely essential.
The problem is, with so many cheap, poorly manufactured thermometers available, many businesses are tempted by the low price point. To an extent this is understandable, if the person responsible for sourcing the company’s equipment is looking through a brochure or website, it can be hard to differentiate between models when it comes to things like robustness and build quality.
It looks the same, so I may as well buy the cheap one, right? In the short term, perhaps this is the case, but a few months/years down the line, try taking another look at the numbers when it comes to replacement units. You’d be surprised.
In many cases, we’ve found the frequent turn-around of thermometers is more of an issue than you’d think, particularly for those facilities and restaurant chains which are buying in large quantities.
And with costs continuing to rise in the restaurant industry, any ways a business can cut costs and improve efficiency is of course very welcome. According to the latest Benchmarking Report from ALMR Christie & Co. operating costs across now stand at an all-time high of 51.5% of turnover, with growth across the entire survey at 1.1%.
Some of the cheaper models are so flimsy, with such poor build quality they can almost be considered disposable. For example, say you’re paying £15 to £20 per thermometer, and these are being replaced every 2-3 months because of it being dropped or getting wet, the battery running out, probe snapping or the unit just packing in all-together because of poor build quality, this soon adds up and isn’t doing much good for your equipment budget. Not to mention the added hassle of getting more equipment ordered on a regular basis, and the risk of a situation where there is no available thermometer to make a simple spot check, leaving you no adequate way of making the required checks, and ultimately putting you and your customers at risk.
In this situation, it may make sense to explore a more robust option, for instance a robust waterproof thermometer which could last 5 to 6 times longer. Some manufacturers, for example Testo, offer a 2-year warranty of all thermometers, so you can be sure they have been built to last. In many industries, but particularly when dealing with such delicate substances as you do within the food sector, there is needs to be a certain degree of emphasis on ‘quality over quantity’. Like with so many things in life you get what you pay for, and thermometers are no exception.
Further to the issues surrounding longevity, when it comes to cheap thermometers, there are also further issues in terms of functionality and, more importantly, accuracy.
Cheap thermometers will only offer very basic functions whilst top quality thermometers can offer more than one measuring function, for example infrared for non-contact measurement as well as a penetration probe for core temperatures. In terms of taking accurate measurements, by using a cheap thermometer you can’t be certain you are even getting the correct measurements and of course when using a measurement device accuracy can be critical.