The modern commercial kitchen needs plenty of items to get started. Not only that, but they need to be properly maintained to ensure your restaurant stays in optimal condition. Your chosen equipment can make the difference between a functioning kitchen and a stalled one.
20 Essential Equipment You Need in a Commercial Kitchen
From ovens to freezers, there are so many things to buy before you can get the ball rolling. Here are 20 essential items you’ll need for your restaurant, whether it’s on the go or stationary.
1. Commercial Ovens
Unlike residential ovens, commercial ovens are designed with greater cooking capacity and power outputs. When choosing a convection, combination, pizza, or conveyor oven, pay attention to its size relative to your layout, the oven’s quality, and the oven’s brand name.
Watch this video by Kitchen Gadget Zone to see some of the popular commercial ovens out there:
2. Ranges and Vents
Ranges are necessary for cooks to make food over an electric or gas-powered flame. Vents, on the other hand, are essential to ensure proper airflow and better quality air. When building a ventilation system, you’ll want to follow safety regulations for placement and air volume.
3. Food Processors
Food processors are a must in busy kitchens because it makes the work of chopping, slicing, blitzing, blending, and pureeing that much easier. Your kitchen will need a batch bowl processor, but it may also need a continuous feed processor or buffalo chopper for specialty foods.
Watch this video by Info TV to see some of the popular commercial food processors:
4. Commercial Mixers
Kitchens that are looking to make baked goods like cakes, breaks, or pizzas would benefit from a commercial mixer. Hand mixers, countertop mixers, and floor mixers are the most common types. Only get a floor mixer if you’re going through pounds of dough on a daily or weekly basis.
5. Commercial Slicers
Commercial slicers are perfect for prep work, but the type you use will depend on your menu. A kitchen that uses a lot of deli meat, produce, or cheeses would need one with a sharp blade and higher horsepower. If you’re slicing vegetables, check if the slicer comes with a veggie hopper.
6. Prep Counters/Boards
You can have all the best equipment in the world, but it won’t matter if you have nowhere to prepare your food. Install multiple prep counters made of stainless steel to make the surface easy to clean. For cutting boards, choose plastic or wood and label them for each food type.
7. Freezers and Fridges
Kitchens won’t be able to use all their food in a single night. For this reason, freezers and fridges are necessary to preserve the quality of your food. Smaller restaurants may only need a traditional freezer or fridge, while busy restaurants will require walk-ins and a lot of space.
8. Safety Equipment
Before you open up your kitchen, be sure to get a quote for fire systems and stock your business with first-aid kits and medical emergency kits. Always check your local guidelines before purchasing any safety, fire, or sanitation equipment to keep your kitchen up to standard.
9. Storage and Shelving
All loose kitchen equipment should be properly stored at all times, which is why you’ll need multiple shelving units or storage racks. Any item that’s used daily (i.e., utensils) should be within arms reach. All bottom shelves should be at least six feet off the ground to ensure safety.
Watch this video by Pac Rim Reps to learn some food storage tips:
10. Storage Containers
Whether you have a delivery service or in-house guests, you’ll need storage containers for food. Storage containers made of plastic are perfect for food and prep items, while delivery boxes are great for take-out or leftovers. Make sure to buy a good quality tape to keep everything sealed.
11. Cooking Tools
Cooking tools are defined as items that are used specifically to cook food, not to prep it. Any commercial kitchen will need pots, pans, spoons, sheet pans, whisks, bowls, ladles, spatulas, whisks, bench scrapers, squeeze bottles, and much more. Take note of what you’ll require.
12. Restaurant Serving Ware
If you’re using some or all parts of your commercial kitchen to serve guests, then restaurant serving ware is necessary. You should keep plates, bowls, cutlery, ramekins, glasses, and cups on hand, but some foods may require special serving ware, such as salads or pizzas.
13. Commercial Sinks
Commercial sinks cover everything from defrosting frozen produce to washing your hands. To ensure you maintain high health and safety requirements in your establishment, install a triple sink for food prep. You should also install a designated hand washing station and a dishwasher.
14. A KDS and POS
A kitchen display system (KDS) and a point of sale system (POS) are necessary to connect the front and back of the house. KDSs are designed for tracking orders sent by the POS software or through online ordering platforms. The POS should be easy-to-use by all staff members.
15. Steam Table for Sauces
It’s best to avoid keeping foods and sauces under a lamp for too long. Fortunately, a steam table solves these problems. Instead of direct heat, steam tables use water to keep food in metal containers warm for hours. They’re perfect for soups, stews, sauces, and large buffet tables.
Watch this video by Chef’s Toys to learn more about Steam Tables:
16. Washing Equipment
When you’re done using your equipment, you’ll need to clean it. Washing equipment is vital for cleaning used plates, mugs, and utensils, but it’s also great for scrubbing tools and other parts of the kitchen. You’ll need towels, sponges, brooms, mops, brushes, and cleaning solutions.
17. Commercial Ice Maker
Whether you serve drinks or need to keep food cool, a commercial ice maker will really come in handy. If you have a bar, you’ll need a small ice maker to help the bartender serve drinks. Make sure to buy an ice maker with a bin and consider the size and shape of the ice you’ll need.
Watch this video by ABP Amazon Best Picks to see some of the popular Commercial Ice Makers available on Amazon:
18. Sharpening Stones
A chef is only as good as their tools. To keep your knives in tip-top shape, use sharpening stones and blocks. Although using a sharpening stone looks easy, you’ll need to train your staff on how to use it. This training will preserve the quality of your knives and the stone itself.
19. Commercial Microwave
It’s ideal to cook everything in your restaurant from scratch, but it’s sometimes easier to warm or completely cook a dish using a microwave. A microwave can really come in a pinch if you’re busy or understaffed. Find a microwave that can defrost, steam vegetables, and reheat well.
20. Gas or Electric Grill
If your kitchen serves burgers, steaks, or mock meat, you’ll need to buy a gas or electric grill. Unless you’re cooking outside, purchase an indoor grill, as it’s much cheaper. If you serve a lot of breakfast foods, you’ll need a smaller grill and likely a two-piece waffle marker right beside it.
While all kitchens have their own equipment needs, most of them, whether they’re in a food truck or a building, need the same type of tools. The 20 pieces of items and equipment found in this list should help you get started building your restaurant and maintain it for years to come.
Fallon Chan is a food and lifestyle photographer and blogger.