A vacuum packing machine can make any business owner’s life much, much easier, whether it’s by preventing food spoilage or by making it easier to pack and store large quantities of food. Vacuum sealers also help you make savings by avoiding food lost to freezer burn, as well as conserving food without the need for chemical preservatives.


When food is compacted down during vacuum packaging, it takes up far less space, allowing you to open up more storage room in fridges, freezers and shelves. Whether you’re in the catering or restaurant industry, you can make use of cost-effective bulk buying, knowing that you can save some ingredients for later.


Though the benefits of a commercial vacuum sealer are obvious, it can be difficult to decide on the best model for you if your business is on the smaller side. Independent cafes can benefit from a vacuum sealer, but they need to choose a model that will work for their unique needs. Here’s our guide on what to look for.


It’s all about size


Larger commercial vacuum packagers can be impressive but may not be appropriate for a smaller scale independent café. A bigger vacuum sealer may take up more counter space than it’s worth, and you may never get to take full advantage of its size if you only ever seal small quantities of food or use it infrequently.


A vacuum sealer that doesn’t really work for you is in many senses worse than no sealer at all. That’s why it’s important to determine your needs and invest in a model that will make your life easier without unnecessary expense. In a small independent café, you’ll likely have only small amounts to vacuum seal at any one time and can seal multiple batches in the odd event you have larger quantities.


Carefully examine what ingredients are most used in your kitchen (for example coffee beans, baking batters, frozen pastries, or milk) and roughly in what quantities. Also consider the space you have available to store packages once they’ve been vacuum sealed – it’s no use sealing fifty bags only to realize you don’t have anywhere to store them!


Cost is important, too


You may be tempted to splash out on a larger model, but the expense may not be justified when you factor in the savings it will help you make in its lifetime. The thing about a vacuum sealer is that once you start using one, you may find yourself able to get by with sealing less over time, since you’re being more efficient, and working through already sealed pouches. This may mean your vacuum packager is sitting on a counter somewhere, not doing much but taking up space.


It may be preferable to go with a compact, more affordable option. A sealer designed for frequent domestic use may suit your cafe perfectly. Though it’s true that more expensive models will work more quickly and form a more robust seal, there are plenty of cheaper options that still get the job done and suit the requirements of a small café.


Consider your unique workflow


No two cafes are quite the same, and yours will no doubt have its own peculiarities when it comes to stock flow, staffing and food served. It’s worth taking the time to understand exactly what you want from a vacuum packaging machine before making a purchase. Pay attention to food that most commonly spoils or needs to be thrown out. Notice also where there is extra potential storage space in your kitchen or coffee bar. Consider if there are any ingredients that you could buy in bulk and make savings on and consider how this weighs up against the outlay for buying a vacuum sealer.


Finally, choose a vacuum sealer that will fit in with café life – you’ll need something that is easy to wipe clean, and can be used with minimal fuss by all of your staff. You’ll want something that’s robust and hard wearing. Before you decide on the model to go with, look at the price of the storage bags and make a rough estimate of how much you’ll pay monthly.  It’s usually a better bet to opt for a model that can use a range of bags, so you can go for the more affordable option.


Small, independently run cafes can make efficiencies just like bigger restaurant kitchens and commercial catering operations. But when vacuum sealers are concerned, they can typically start to reap the benefits with a smaller, more modest model that doesn’t break the bank.