Are you thinking about starting your restaurant?
Are you thinking about what equipment you will need for your restaurant’s kitchen?
There’s a lot of essential things to be done when starting a restaurant. You have to choose a location, design it, hire staff, and a lot more.
Similarly, getting the right equipment for your kitchen is also crucial for starting a restaurant.
For that reason, we have listed all the essential kitchen equipment you need for your restaurant. Having all these tools will give you a strong foundation for operating your kitchen efficiently.
We have also categorized all the different types of tools according to their usage. This will help you stay organized when shopping for these tools. Here is a checklist of equipment a commercial restaurant kitchen needs:
- Cooking equipment
- Kitchen range
- Refrigeration equipment
- Freezers and refrigerators
- Ice machine
- Beverage dispenser machine
- Storage equipment
- Kitchen racks
- Storage containers
- Food preparation equipment
- Food processors
- Food preparation counters
- Small useful tools
- Cleaning equipment
- Kitchen sink
- Commercial dishwasher
- Electronics equipment
- Restaurant management software
- Printers & kitchen display system
Let’s start the list.
Obviously, cooking equipment is crucial for every restaurant kitchen.
But, what kind of cooking equipment will be suitable for your restaurant?
While choosing your cooking equipment, make sure that you recognize which pieces of equipment your staff will use most frequently. Don’t be hesitant about spending money to get high-quality equipment. Otherwise, it might cost your restaurant more money in the long run.
Here’s a list of essential equipment for cooking:
It’s obvious; every kitchen needs to have an oven.
But what type of oven will you need?
This depends on the type of meals that your restaurant offers.
There are many types of ovens:
- Commercial oven: These are for general commercial purposes. Every restaurant kitchen needs at least one of these ovens.
- Convection oven: Used for baking things like pastries, pies, bread, etc.
- Combination oven: Can be used a lot of cooking methods like grilling, roasting, frying, and baking.
- Pizza oven: Used for making pizza or even desserts.
Pick at least one commercial oven. You can choose other special ovens according to your restaurant’s requirements.
Here are some factors to consider:
Ovens take a significant amount of floor space in the kitchen. So, you will need to calculate your kitchen space before buying an oven. Keep in mind how much food your restaurant needs to cook in a day and make your decisions accordingly.
There are many good brands of ovens available. Before buying a specific brand of an oven, make sure you check the user reviews of the oven on the internet.
2. Kitchen range
Just like ovens, these are also crucial for restaurants. They allow you to cook a variety of recipes.
Difference between the kitchen range and stove?
Kitchen ranges are generally integrated with your oven. A stove is a cooking appliance without an oven.
There are two types of kitchen ranges:
- Gas: These ranges offer a faster cooking speed. The downside is that they come with a risk of fire and accidents. They are also harder to clean.
- Electric: These ranges are easy to use and clean. But, they are slower and can result in a high electricity bill.
Every commercial kitchen must have a powerful ventilation system. A good ventilation system ensures good air quality for your entire restaurant. Without proper ventilation, your staff might have health issues. So, no compromise should be made when building the ventilation system.
First, you need to think about the layout of your restaurant kitchen while building your ventilation system. For example, you should have vents over your stoves and fryers to suck out all the oil and smoke from the cooking. Conversely, you probably won’t require a vent over your kitchen’s sink.
Here are some other factors you need to consider while choosing your ventilation system:
- Air volume flow rate
- Electric efficiency
Steaks and burgers are delicious! If you want to offer them to your customers, you will need a grill.
But, a major problem with having a grill is that they take space. If you have an outdoor space like a terrace, you can easily use a commercial grill. Otherwise, you will have to use an indoor grill.
If you plan to use an indoor grill, make sure you design your kitchen layout and ventilation system such that it can handle it.
Note: If grilling is not very important for your restaurant, you can always use a multi-functional oven that can grill food. Do this if your restaurant needs to use the grill occasionally.
This multi-purpose equipment can be quite useful for a restaurant kitchen. You can use it to defrost any frozen ingredients or reheat prepared food. It’s good to keep a microwave oven in a commercial kitchen.
6. Other useful cooking equipment
We have talked about essential cooking equipment. Now let’s look at a list of some other useful equipment for cooking:
- Deep fryer: Useful for making fried food like french fries, chicken tenders, etc.
- Holding cabinets: Used to hold your food at a certain temperature before it’s ready or served.
- Toaster: Used for numerous breakfast dishes.
- Coffee maker: Even if you are not starting a cafe, coffee is a popular beverage that your restaurant should serve. It’s ordered very frequently for breakfast.
There are three most important questions to ask while choosing your refrigerators and freezers:
- Capacity - How much food does your restaurant need to store?
- Shape - Does it fit your kitchen layout? Is it too large?
- Cost - How much do you need to invest?
1. Freezers and refrigerators
You need to invest in high-quality freezers and refrigerators to keep your food and ingredients fresh.
Refrigerators and freezers are crucial for proper inventory management and cost economy. For example, it will cost less if you buy 50 kg of raw chicken in bulk and freeze it.
Before buying a freezer, you first need to consider:
- The size of your restaurant kitchen
- How much food you will need to store
- Your budget
Tip: Choose a freezer that will be easy for your staff to use and access anytime.
There are two types of freezers:
- ‘Reach-in’ Freezer: They are normal commercial freezers. They are well suited for small or medium restaurants.
- 'Walk-in' Freezer: This is the largest type of commercial freezers. They offer a lot of space but generally, only larger restaurants need to use them.
The same logic also applies to choosing a refrigerator. Choose a size depending on how many raw ingredients you will need to store.
Before choosing the freezer/refrigerator, make sure you check the reviews of the brand on the internet.
2. Ice Machine
Ice machines are not just used for bars only. Suppose most of your customers order a glass of lemonade or chilled water; it will be convenient to have an ice machine. Look for an instant ice machine that can provide your staff ice cubes instantly, whenever they want.
3. Beverage dispenser machine
If you are planning to start a fast-food restaurant, you can consider getting a self-service beverage machine for your customers. It will generate profits for your restaurant, and they are pretty easy to manage and maintain.
Storage space is one of the most important aspects of any kitchen. Just like choosing refrigeration equipment, here are some questions you need to consider when purchasing:
- Storage capacity - How much does your restaurant need to store?
- Shape - Can it fit your kitchen layout?
- Cost - How much does it cost? Will it be a worthwhile investment?
1. Kitchen racks
These are usually a one-time investment because you are unlikely to change your storage racks in the future unless you plan on a full renovation. So, your kitchen racks must be well organized and durable.
While building your kitchen's storage space, there are a lot of different materials to choose from: Stainless steel, chrome wire, polymer, anti-microbial, etc. What you choose is dependent on your budget and personal preferences.
An organized storage system is crucial for every kitchen. It makes it easier and more efficient for your staff to access various appliances, utensils, and ingredients. Store the frequently used items such that it’s quick and easy to reach. You can store the less frequently used items in the bottom racks. It’s important to plan your storage system while designing your commercial kitchen layout.
You can also use mobile storage racks with your normal racks if you need to move your storage space from time to time. They offer additional convenience and are good for storing as well as transporting food.
2. Storage containers
Storage containers have a lot of utility in a kitchen. You can use them to store a lot of things like fresh vegetables, mixed sauces, sugar, and dry ingredients like pasta, rice, & flour.
Here are some types of containers that you should get for your kitchen:
- Vegetable storage containers: Used to keep your vegetables fresh.
- Small kitchen canisters: For storing small amounts of raw ingredients like sugar and coffee.
- Medium-sized airtight boxes: Useful for storing dough for baking pastries or other desserts.
- Large airtight containers: For storing dry ingredients like flour or rice.
Note: Choose the storage containers that are transparent or allow you to easily label or color-code them. Labeling your containers will save a lot of time for your staff and keep your kitchen organized.
Food Preparation Equipment
For food preparation equipment, different restaurants will require different tools depending on the type of food they cook. We will discuss the essential equipment that most restaurants need:
1. Food processor
Food processors are essential equipment for busy restaurant kitchens. It makes a lot of essential processes faster & easier, like slicing, chopping, shredding, grinding, and blending.
Here are some different types of food processors that you can buy:
A. Common ‘Batch-bowl’ food processor
This is most commonly used in domestic kitchens. It has a large bowl where you put the food ingredients, close the lid and run the machine.
B. Continuous food processor
With these types of food processors, you can continuously pour food while the machine is running. The processed food collects in a separate bowl. It’s well suited for a commercial kitchen since your staff does not have to wait while the food is being processed.
C. Heavy-duty processors
They are sturdy machines, and they can even cut meat. However, most restaurant kitchens won’t need it.
2. Food preparation counters
Food preparation counters, tables, and cutting boards are important for any restaurant kitchen. Your restaurant staff will frequently be using it, so you need to invest in tables that are versatile as well as durable.
Stainless steel food counters are a great choice for any restaurant. These tables are durable, anti-microbial, and can be cleaned easily with chemicals. Also, keep small refrigerators under your counters for more convenience.
While choosing cutting-boards, you can choose either plastic or wood. We will suggest using durable plastic boards as they are non-porous, which makes it harder for bacteria to live. They are also easier to clean. It’s also good to change your cutting boards periodically because if the board develops cracks, it makes it easy for bacteria to grow in them.
Note: Color-code your cutting boards according to the type of food you use them for. For example, you can mark your boards with red for meat, green for vegetables, yellow for dairy products, etc. This prevents cross-contamination.
If your restaurant sells baked items like cakes, pizzas, bread, or pastries, you will need to buy a commercial food mixer.
Here are some types of commercial mixers that you can use for your restaurant’s kitchen:
A. Hand-held mixer
Handheld mixers have a long straight handle with sharp rotating metal blades at the bottom. They are efficient for quickly blending sauces and soups or chopping raw food ingredients quickly.
The biggest advantage of this tool is that you don’t have to put your cooking ingredients into a separate food processor or a blender.
B. Countertop mixer
These are more for small bakeries or restaurants that only need to use mixers occasionally. These are also commonly used for household kitchens.
C. Large commercial mixers
Also called ‘floor mixers’, they are made for large bakeries or pizza restaurants that need to constantly produce a huge amount of dough and sauce regularly.
These are huge and need to be set up on the floor. They consume a lot of electricity and can produce ingredients very quickly.
Slicers won’t be necessary for every restaurant kitchen. It’s an effective tool for slicing cheese and meat. You should consider getting a slicer if your restaurant serves a lot of sandwiches or similar dishes.
Blenders are commonly used in cafes and bars. Blenders have a lot of uses, for example, making cold beverages, making milkshakes, mixing sauces, etc. If your restaurant serves a lot of beverages, you should purchase a blender.
Small Useful Tools
Just like a carpenter needs a hammer and saw, your kitchen staff also needs sets of tools like knives, tongs, bowls, etc., to work efficiently. Here are some handy kitchen tools that you should put on your shopping list:
- Chef-knives: It’s crucial to buy sharp chef knives. They make it easier to cut and prepare food ingredients and also reduce the risk of accidents.
- Kitchen spoons: Provide plenty of kitchen spoons for your staff members. They are very versatile and have a lot of useful functions like stirring sauces, tasting dishes, serving food, removing cooking ingredients from a bowl, and a lot more.
- Tongs: Like kitchen spoons, tongs are also versatile tools that are used for a variety of purposes like serving food, plating, food preparation, etc.
- Pans: There are different types of pans, like sauteing, braising, and frying pans. What pans you should buy depends on what kind of dishes your restaurant will prepare.
- Pots: There are also multiple types of pots like boilers, pasta cookers, sauce pots, etc. Buy according to the type of dishes your restaurant will offer.
- Mixing bowls: When buying mixing bowls, ensure that you purchase multiple sizes for different purposes.
- Kitchen Whisks: It’s a tool used to mix air with food ingredients. This gives the food light and soft texture.
- Stones for sharpening knives: You want to keep your expensive knives sharp. Occasionally using sharpening stones will keep your knives sharp as new.
Tip: While purchasing these tools, make sure you buy them in enough quantity. This will ensure that your staff doesn’t need to fight for using tools!
For the food-service industry, cleanliness is crucial. That’s why you need to ensure that your restaurant has all the required cleaning supplies and equipment. Here is a list of some essential cleaning equipment that every restaurant needs to have:
1. Kitchen Sink
In a restaurant, kitchen sinks have 3 main purposes:
- Washing dishes
- Preparing cooking ingredients
- Washing hands
There are different types of sinks available. Let’s discuss them:
A. 3 Compartment Sink
The 3-compartment sink is the most commonly used sink in restaurant kitchens. You can use these compartments for various purposes. For example, you can use one compartment for washing utensils and a separate compartment for washing hands and sanitizing.
B. Bar Sink
Bar sinks are generally used in bars for disposing of drinks and ice. These sinks often have a separate compartment for washing glassware.
C. Disposal Sink
These sinks are equipped with a waste disposal system for food waste. It’s good to cover these sinks when they are not in use.
D. Handwashing Sink
These special sinks are built for washing hands. Generally, a three-compartment sink is enough for this purpose.
E. Mop Sinks
These sinks are set on the floor. They are used to fill or dispose of the water from a mop bucket.
F. Portable sinks
These are mainly used by food trucks and other mobile food businesses. They can be connected with a water tank.
2. Commercial dishwasher
Investing in a commercial dishwasher is a great decision for your restaurant. In fact, in many countries, there are rules from the health department which make it mandatory to use a dishwasher.
These dishwashers automatically use dishwashing chemicals and also keep the water temperature constant. Dishwashers are essential because they help to prevent the spread of foodborne bacteria and other germs.
Tip: To maintain excellent hygiene in your kitchen, you might need a commercial dishwasher.
3. List of other cleaning equipment
Here is a detailed list of cleaning equipment:
- Cleaning Rags and Microfiber Cloths: They have a lot of uses, like cleaning food or liquid that's spilled on the floor, wiping tables and counters, polishing glassware, etc.
- Chemical cleaners and sanitizers: Ensure that the cleaning chemicals are safe for kitchen use. Also, have plenty of sanitizers in your restaurant.
- Trash bins: It’s crucial for every restaurant. Place them throughout your restaurant in a planned way.
- Mop and mop buckets: Used for keeping the floors clean. Clean up any food spill on the floor.
- ‘Wet-floor’ signs: For safety, use it when your staff is mopping the floor or when the floor is wet.
- Scrubbers and sponges: Use them to remove hard stains on the floor, tables, or other kitchen surfaces.
- Washroom supplies: Toilet papers, hand soaps, paper towels, and air-fresheners.
- Brooms and dust collectors: Keep the floor clean from dust or solid food waste. Use them for both the kitchen and dining area. You can also buy a vacuum cleaner.
- Buckets for cleaning: Add cleaning chemicals to these buckets for mixing them safely. You can also color-code them to keep them organized.
Modern restaurants must be equipped with modern technology. This makes the entire restaurant‘s operation process faster and more efficient. Here are some electronic devices that you need for your restaurant’s kitchen:
1. Restaurant management software
The restaurant management system is essential software for every restaurant. It not only helps with managing your kitchen but also helps you manage your whole restaurant. Here are some things a restaurant software can do:
- Print and generate invoices
- Manage your staff
- Tracking your restaurant sales
- Manage your inventory
Read this article about what is a restaurant management software if you want to know more.
2. Printers & kitchen display system
In the 21st century, there’s no need to shout out your customer’s food orders to the kitchen. Your staff doesn’t need to use hand-written tickets either. These methods are stressful, and also mistakes are not uncommon.
How does it work?
When the waiter accepts and confirms the guest’s order on the restaurant software, it’s immediately sent to the kitchen, where it gets printed. The kitchen staff can now start preparing the dish.
Similarly, with a kitchen display device, the orders automatically appear on the screen after the waiter accepts them. In this way, every kitchen staff member will be able to view all the on-going food orders.
This system makes the restaurant operations organized, faster, and accurate.
Should You Buy Used Equipment For Your Restaurant?
Purchasing restaurant equipment can be pretty expensive since there are a lot of things that you’ll need to buy. That’s why many new restaurant owners buy pre-used equipment for their restaurant. Like everything else, there are advantages and disadvantages to this decision, let’s discuss them:
It is possible to get used equipment in excellent condition at a significantly lower price. This is because some food businesses fail, and they sell their equipment at a low price. Generally, such equipment is relatively unused.
There could be internal damages in used electronic equipment that can’t be detected easily. Plus, if the warranty isn’t available anymore, it could be a huge problem.
Answer: It depends. It's a good choice to buy certain used equipment like ovens or kitchen sinks. But it can be risky to buy used electronic appliances like freezers and refrigerators.
Know These Things Before Buying Your Kitchen Equipment
There are a lot of things that a restaurant needs to operate smoothly. It will take time to choose and purchase everything, so don't be in a rush. First, have a clear idea of the type of restaurant that you are planning to start. Then you need to think about your space and budget.
Also, make sure that you purchase high-quality, durable products that can last a long time. Plus, make sure that the equipment can fit into your designed kitchen layout.
Let’s discuss this in more detail:
1. Think about your available space
Before buying any large piece of equipment, calculate whether it can fit in the kitchen comfortably. Ensure that there is enough space for your kitchen staff to move around comfortably.
Design your kitchen layout in such a way that it can keep all your required equipment and still leave plenty of space for your kitchen staff.
2. Manage your costs
Budget is important for every restaurant. If your budget is low, think about which pieces of equipment are the most important for your restaurant. Your staff will be using such equipment very frequently so you should buy high-quality equipment even if it costs more.
To save money, you can also purchase multi-purpose equipment. For example, you can get a multi-purpose oven that can bake, fry, grill, etc.
Note: Make sure not to purchase low-quality materials. This can be risky for your kitchen.
3. Think about using leased equipment
For those restaurant owners who have a low budget, this can be an excellent option. If you rent equipment, you will have to pay a bit of money every month rather than paying a lot of money all at once. This will save you some money for other major expenses.
An advantage of using rented equipment is that when your business grows, you can end the contract and buy your own equipment. You might also have the option to buy the rented equipment. However, some items like spoons and cleaning equipment will not be available for a lease.
Choosing and buying all the equipment for a restaurant can be a stressful and expensive task. So you can add check out this PDF file with a checklist of all the equipment mentioned here, and access it whenever you plan to buy your kitchen equipment.
Useful Articles For New Restaurant Owners
- Learn more about what is a restaurant POS system and why you need it.
- Learn how you can build a website for your restaurant and start accepting online orders.
- Learn how to turn your home into a restaurant.