Whether you are running a restaurant, hotel, or bar, you will need industrial equipment that can resist the daily grind in the kitchen. Reliable kitchen appliances improve both the quality of your food and the service you provide.
Choosing the right essential equipment for a commercial kitchen can also help you optimize productivity. They can be a very good long-term investment. After all, it wouldn’t make sense to buy low-cost equipment that won’t last long.
In this article, I will break down the essential commercial kitchen equipment that any restaurant must have, offering a starting point from which you can expand to match your particular requirements.
I’ll also go over a few key considerations to make when purchasing new kitchen equipment. Your staff should be able to prep, cook, and bake. And basically perform their culinary chores efficiently on a daily basis.
It is worth noting that not all commercial kitchens are the same. Some restaurants may require additional equipment. Others may only need basic kitchen appliances. When it comes to picking the right equipment, you should make a list that matches the demands of your business.
Things To Consider Before Buying Restaurant Kitchen Equipment
There’s a lot that goes into acquiring a quintessential commercial kitchen. You need to keep in mind general factors like the quality of the appliance. As well as the space you have. Below are some of the key things to keep in mind before buying your equipment.
It is generally advisable to inspect the quality of restaurant kitchen equipment in person prior to acquiring it. Verify if the equipment is used or brand new. For new pieces of equipment, you must check whether or not it’s from a reputable brand. Looking at the construction will also help you learn if it’s durable or not.
While there is no harm in getting a used appliance, you should still check the condition and where it came from, as well as how old it is. Make sure to check the equipment in person to search for faults in the design and operation.
You save more when you buy used equipment. So if you’re deciding to get used ones, I suggest that you acquire them from recently closed restaurants that have not been in business for a long time. A lot of them fail in the first phase of their business due to their inability to manage expenses, so you may get good deals from them.
Checking the quality of the equipment will ensure that all of its components are properly working. Always pick the best quality you can afford and try to save money whenever possible.
A new restaurant may have a fantastic location but a little cooking area, thus affecting the type of kitchen equipment required. It would be impossible to fit bulky cooking appliances like a six-burner range with a convection oven if it can only accommodate a four-burner stove.
The dining area of a restaurant can take up around 60 percent of its space. This leaves you with a little less than 40 percent cooking space. Which means having bulky equipment will make your kitchen overly cramped. Think about how your staff will navigate your space. You don’t want to impede the workflow and limit their productivity.
It’s always best to first develop a layout that is efficient and flows nicely without being too cluttered. I recommend taking up measurements of your preferred appliances and space to see if they will fit. But if you’ve already found a location with limited space, then you might look into getting multifunctional equipment.
Commercial kitchen equipment are expensive, and the cost is an important factor here.
You must first determine how often you’re going to use the equipment. If you’re not going to use it that much, I recommend that you buy used appliances. This will save you money that you can invest in something else. But for kitchen equipment that you know you will be using frequently, go for brand new ones to ensure quality.
After evaluating which one will be used and not be used often, you may want to create a list in terms of frequency and necessity. Decide what restaurant kitchen equipment you require and can afford, as well as which ones you can do without.
Another good money-saving approach is to invest in versatile kitchen equipment that can handle a variety of functions. For example, a convection oven that can bake, roast, and grill can save you even more money. A food processor with several attachments is also a wonderful option.
Ease of Use and Cleaning
Attractive design is not worth going through the hassle of figuring out how to use and clean your equipment. You’ll want commercial kitchen equipment that is practical to use by chefs every day. Something that is both easy to clean, and maintain every day.
Stainless steel is one of the easiest to clean materials. It also lowers the possibility of housing harmful bacteria. The NSF label is important in identifying whether or not an appliance meets safety regulations.
To make sure you’re performing the right cleaning method, always consult with the manufacturer. Some equipment have dishwasher-safe components, while others need to be washed by hand. It all depends on the type of appliance (for example, you can’t submerge a blender in water) and its construction.
You need to consider ergonomics, the convenience of opening and closing doors, and storage solutions. As well as any innovative features that may be handy or complicated to use.
Look for the Right Supplier
Finding a trusted supplier might be a tedious process to some. It plays a big part in acquiring high-quality equipment that you can rely on. The right suppliers should provide you with a comprehensive guide on the selection process. And offer you lots of options but without pressuring you to buy.
In addition to that, you should inquire about installation. The best restaurant commercial kitchen equipment suppliers should also assist you in installing your new equipment.
Your kitchen equipment could malfunction at times, which is inevitable. So, it’s crucial to consider warranty and service in the event that your equipment runs into a problem. This will guarantee that your restaurant operates smoothly.
Consulting With a Restaurant Kitchen Planner
Hiring a professional restaurant kitchen planner can be a lifesaver in choosing the right equipment. This is particularly helpful when building a new restaurant or renovating your kitchen.
A restaurant kitchen planner will be open to your ideas. And they can share their own concept as well. They should be able to guide and help you in designing a kitchen that is appropriate for your space and the food you will be serving.
Since there is a chance that you might purchase equipment that you might never use, hiring a kitchen planner will help you away from unnecessary equipment. This will save you both space and money. Getting professional help may be a pricey investment, but it can save you money later on.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Buying Used Cooking Equipment?
We are drawn to used equipment in order to save money. Which I think is actually a wise idea. However, buying used commercial kitchen equipment has its pros and cons.
• You are not paying full price for brand-new equipment.
• Used restaurant equipment are usually in excellent condition.
• They are easier to acquire since you won’t sweat that much in terms of price.
• You don’t know the equipment’s past. Was it properly maintained? Is it functional?
• Used equipment will no longer be covered by a warranty.
As I have mentioned above, make sure to check to see if purchasing used equipment would be more suitable for you. Review your list and evaluate which ones you can go with secondhand. As well as which equipment you need to buy fresh out of the box.
Restaurant Kitchen Equipment List
The commercial equipment you need will depend on the format of your kitchen and the type of food you cook. Here’s a list of the most essential cooking equipment for a commercial kitchen.
One of the most important pieces of equipment in a commercial kitchen is an oven. This versatile appliance can accomplish a range of cooking tasks like roasting, baking, braising, and more. Depending on the type of business you have, you can have multiple ovens.
A good commercial oven is equipped with higher power outputs and a larger capacity for cooking throughout the day. And you will definitely cook an entire menu every day, so an oven that can do a lot of things will be worth the investment.
Types of Oven
You’ll come across various types of commercial ovens, so you should know what type of food you’ll be cooking. If you run a pizzeria, you can opt for pizza ovens. But for most restaurants, a multipurpose model is preferable.
It’s also worth noting that ovens can eat up counter space, so you must consider your kitchen size. The next thing you need to do is figure out how much food you intend to cook during a typical day. This way, you’ll know how much capacity you’ll need.
The NuWae Brio is a good size oven that can air fry, grill, bake, rotisserie, and more. It has a large capacity of 15.5 quarts, which could be a wonderful addition to your restaurant. With higher outputs between 900 to 1800 watts, you’ll have endless possibilities in the kitchen.
Refrigerators and Freezers
Other essential pieces of restaurant equipment are fridges and freezers. Most commercial refrigeration systems are typically used by big-scale restaurants and hotels. They are very useful to keep a significant amount of perishable products like meat and poultry. As well as drinks, frozen goods, and more.
Picking the best commercial refrigeration equipment is crucial. You want to make sure you’re getting a reliable unit that operates at the optimum level.
Size and Capacity
You can choose between reach-in coolers, walk-in coolers, and restaurant freezers. Small to large walk-in refrigerators and freezers are typically used in most restaurants. But the size of the refrigeration system you need will depend on the space in your restaurant kitchen.
The first thing you need to do is to calculate the external and interior measurements of your space. You may begin by measuring the entryways and entrances since your fridge will need to fit through them to your kitchen.
If you need to store frozen food in bulk, a walk-in freezer is the best option since it maximizes space and is easy to use. The downside is that large units will entail more maintenance.
But if you run a restaurant where frozen food isn’t the main item on your menu, then a reach-in freezer should suffice. The Arctic Air AF49, for example, would be a great option for reliability. Its bottom-mounted compressor helps in the efficient operation.
Smaller restaurants may not need a walk-in cooler, despite the fact that they offer more cold storage capacity and could be tailor-made to adapt to any kitchen. If you find adding small refrigerators cluttering your space, there are also outdoor options.
Keep in mind that a good refrigerator will allow you to store all your perishable items so you’ll have enough supply. A high-performing fridge guarantees that the quality of the food is preserved and that it does not spoil soon. It will also be safe to use and maintain the overall quality of your dishes.
Commercial mixers are essential in every restaurant, especially if you specialize in baking or bread production. This restaurant equipment allows the automation of repetitive processes. Such tasks include whisking, stirring, and beating. You can also use a mixer to knead the dough using a dough hook attachment. They are available in various sizes.
If you own a pizzeria or bakery where you need to make large quantities of doughs and sauces on a daily basis, investing in a large heavy-duty mixer would be a viable choice
Types of Mixers
A countertop or stick mixer, on the other hand, may be a good option if you only require a mixer occasionally. Also, you can opt for such compact models if you don’t require one every day.
For combining thick ingredients, such as pizza dough, a spiral mixer would be a preferable choice. This type of mixer spins at a high speed and handles 50 to 600 pounds of dough. But if you don’t need to mix heavy batter, a planetary mixer is the way to go.
Planetary mixers spin at lower speed than spiral ones. They are great for producing a variety of items, from whip cream to pizza doughs to mashed potatoes. Planetary mixers are available in both countertop and floor models. Which gives you the option to choose the one that best fits the space of your restaurant.
A light-duty mixer is also ideal if you only require a mixer occasionally. There are also standard-duty mixers that are suitable for a restaurant or café that mixes its own batter and dough. But if you were to mix thick or heavy batter at large quantities every day, a heavy-duty mixer has a more durable design.
Are you serving french fries, doughnuts, mozzarella sticks, or churros on a regular basis? Then you will need a heavy-duty commercial fryer. The first thing to look for in a commercial deep fryer is the ease of use and maintenance. When your deep fryer is easy to maintain, you save more time.
The best commercial deep fryers should increase the efficiency of your kitchen. All while also allowing you to serve that your consumers crave. A heavy-duty deep fryer like the VIVOHOME Electric Deep Fryer is equipped with 5000-watt power. It’s guaranteed to fry food quickly and maintain oil temperature.
This commercial deep fryer comes with a 20.7-quart capacity, which allows you to fry large batches of French fries, fish, shrimp, onion rings, catfish, and more. It also has easily removable parts that are easy to assemble after cleaning.
Knife sets are one of the most-used items in any commercial kitchen. They are in your hand for most of the time you are preparing the food.
The best commercial kitchen knives are made of high-quality materials. Which ensures their reliability, sharpness, and convenience of use. Restaurant kitchen knives are designed with performance in mind to accomplish certain chores.
The two main things to consider in finding a good knife set are blade shapes and material.
The blades are generally classified as either Western or Japanese.
Western-shaped knives or German knives have a curved cutting edge. They are handy for chopping and mincing, allowing the knife to easily bounce back and forth. Such knives are also heavier and thicker, which allows them to cut through harder ingredients.
However, due to their heft and thickness, these knives can make them difficult to grip after a time. One of the popular brands that offer German knives is Mercer Culinary.
Japanese knives have a straighter cutting edge, making them perfect for quick chopping and cutting. They have a thinner, lighter profile than their Western equivalents. Master Maison is a good brand for Japanese knife sets.
You can also find knife sets that incorporate the silhouettes of both styles. Many kitchen knife brands combine the useful curved design of German knives with the lighter, sharper edge of Japanese knives.
For blade materials, most are made from stainless steel, which resists rust and corrosion. They are also exceptionally durable and easy to clean. High carbon steel blades are also durable, edge retention, and have hardness. But they are more prone to rust and you need to wash them by hand and dry them right after.
Ceramic is lightweight but can keep its sharpness for a longer period of time. However, they can crack or break if not handled correctly.
For the handles, materials range from natural wood, metal, to plastic or polypropylene. Whichever handle material you choose, make sure it’s non-slip and provides a pleasant, ergonomic feel.
Having a good commercial cookware and bakeware set is arguably one of the best investments. For this, you need to list down the types of cookware you need to use for cooking your dishes.
Stockpots, frying pans, woks, and saucepans are available in aluminum, stainless steel, and cast iron.
Certain kinds of cookware can look a lot better with higher durability than others. Stainless steel is regarded as one of the best in terms of durability. But you need to keep in mind that some metals react to acidity, which may alter the flavor of the food you’re cooking.
Aluminum is perhaps the most often used cookware in restaurants for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is affordability. This material is also excellent at heat distribution, which is great for uniform cooking.
In terms of capacity, you need to figure out how much food you intend to cook on a typical day. Most sets come with pots, pans, and skillets of varying sizes.
A commercial range is a piece of restaurant equipment that has distinct cooking areas that are fueled by gas, electricity, or induction. Which allows you to use various cooking methods in a single piece of equipment. Commercial ranges often consist of a range top and a range base.
Since you’ll be using your range frequently, day in and out, you must buy them brand new. Used stoves may not look rusted from the outside, but the iron on the inside gets worn out due to continuous use.
Types of Ranges
You must first decide whether to install a gas range or an electric range.
Commercial gas ranges are often preferable since they deliver more precise quick temperature control.
Electric ranges, on the other hand, will be a good choice when electricity is less expensive per unit than gas. They are also great when your space or building does not permit proper ventilation for such a range. But this is not to say that electric ranges aren’t useful.
Although commercial gas ranges allow you to gauge heat and adjust heat settings more quickly, electric models offer a smooth, attractive design. Industrial electric ranges are also easier to clean than gas ranges. And while typical ranges use a coil, those with smooth tops let you cook right on the top of the flat surface.
If you opt for induction cooktops, they have a cooler surface than constant high electric ranges. However, they need magnetic cookware to function.
In terms of size, you need to choose the one that fits your space. It’s important to make enough room in your kitchen to accommodate often bulky ranges.
Many restaurants require either a heavy-duty or standard-duty commercial range. But many restaurant owners will often opt for a heavy-duty range for high-volume cooking. If you have a smaller restaurant, a typical, restaurant-style range model should suffice.
Coffee is one of the most-consumed beverages in the world. A coffee brewer could be a wonderful inclusion for your beverage menu. This comes in handy even if you aren’t running a cafe or pastry. Such restaurant equipment brews into decanters or servers and has heaters to keep freshly brewed coffee hot.
Brewing and Storage Capacity
Look for a machine that can produce at least 40 liters an hour. This equates to around 300 cups of coffee. Keeping coffee could be an added advantage. So, I recommend opting for a machine with storage containers of around liters, with precise temperature control in order to keep your coffee fresh.
Your coffee brewer should also be durable enough to make high-quality coffee on a daily basis while also being efficient enough to suit your business’ demands.
If you plan on selling more than one flavor, you will most likely have to purchase additional drip coffee machines. Consult with your supplier about the ideal model for your business.
Commercial food processors are versatile cooking equipment that needs a spot in your commercial restaurant kitchen. They make repetitive slicing and dicing fast and efficient. You can grate cheese, shred veggies, puree fruits, whisk cream and sauces, and more. It’s a great way to easily prep your ingredients.
A food processor is essential restaurant equipment since it has easy touch controls that can be used for a range of purposes.
Types of Commercial Food Processors
To meet your food preparation needs, you may pick from a variety of models. You can choose from batch bowls, combination processors, and continuous feed machines.
A light-duty model would be more suitable for the occasional grating application. If you intend to make sausage or chop potatoes with your food processor, a heavy-duty one should do the job.
One of my favorite heavy-duty food processors is the Robot Coupe R101B CLR. It is a combination food processor equipped with a fan-cooled ¼ HP motor. A true workhorse, this model spins at 1,725 revolutions per minute (RPM) for dependable food processing results.
Depending on how many ingredients you’ll be processing in a single run, choose one with a bowl large enough to accommodate your food on a usual workday. Certain models have multiple bowl sizes. Which lets you adjust the capacity depending on what you’re processing.
Other Essential Equipment for a Commercial Kitchen
Here is a list of other essential equipment to make your commercial kitchen a functional space for creating the best dishes.
Commercial kitchens require a diverse selection of tools for various culinary chores. They are hand-held items used for preparing meals. There are so many types of kitchen utensils that you can use depending on the food you’re making.
You can get tools for food preparation like cutting boards, knives, can openers, mixing bowls, and grater. There are also kitchen utensils for cooking and baking like spatulas, tongs, ladles, measuring cups, and thermometers.
In a restaurant kitchen, you have a whole team working together to create unique dishes or serve menu staples. And ample tabletop space is required to give chefs a sufficient work area. That being said, this stainless steel work table from DuraSteel may be a reliable and durable solution.
Holding cabinets keep your food warm, preserving the temperature at a specific level. They are great for storing food, making them fresh for serving.
Shelving and Storage Units
Every kitchen should have an adequate shelf to store dry ingredients like coffee, herbs, and spices. There are simple-to-install choices. And you can keep your smaller equipment organized (think of grinders). You can also use shelving to store pots and pans, tableware, cutting boards, and other items.
You may opt for pieces with lockable wheels if you need to relocate your shelf regularly. There are also security shelving alternatives where you can keep valuables safe in your kitchen.
Commercial sinks are essential in any restaurant. They supply clean, running water for safe use. Also, they offer room for washing food and cleaning kitchen utensils. Sinks are an important aspect of your kitchen and food safety standards. These components promote hygienic practices in your restaurant.
Cooking equipment is responsible for half of all fires in restaurants and other food establishments. For commercial kitchens, there is the possibility of fire escalating. Since the majority of fires arise on the stovetop, having a fire control system ready will be very important.
Fire extinguishers come in a variety of sizes. You can have them in your kitchen’s existing hood. Having this safety equipment protects your business, your staff, and your customers.
Classy chef wear improves your kitchen and establishes a sense of professionalism. They are essential in keeping your staff comfortable. Which allows them to move around freely.
Other fits like chef jackets, pants, shoes, and chef caps will keep your kitchen staff looking good. You can also invest in suitable protective gear like oven mitts and safety eyewear.
It’s worth noting that the equipment you’ll need will depend on the size and the type of food business you want to establish.
You can add other types of equipment that are not yet on the list, something more tailored to your business concept. This may include an ice cream maker if you want to include artisan ice cream in your dessert menu. You can even add a commercial toaster if you plan to serve fresh toasts along with coffee in your cafeteria.
The equipment I have listed above are only a few of the basic and essential appliances you may need. Whichever equipment you choose to add to your restaurant kitchen will be dependent on your menu plan and kitchen layout.