If you’re opening a new restaurant, one of the most important factors to consider is your kitchen equipment. Depending on your menu, you’ll need different pieces of kit, but there is some equipment that is essential to get cooking.
When choosing what equipment to get for your restaurant kitchen, you’ll want to make sure you choose what’s going to make your business run as smoothly as possible. Making good use of your space is key, and placing things in the right places means you’ll have less to worry about when you open.
Here’s our checklist for what equipment your restaurant kitchen needs.
Food and Ingredient Storage
- Ice Machines
Food Prep Station
- Prep tables
- Extraction Units
- Food processors
- Specialty Equipment
What to think about before buying restaurant kitchen equipment
Restaurant kitchens require a lot of equipment, so take the time to think about what will work for your space, and what you can afford. Look for high quality items that will last you for years, and consider renting your kitchen equipment to make the cost more manageable.
Before you purchase anything, think about the following:
You should ideally buy the highest quality equipment you can afford. Think about if the equipment is new or previously used, the quality of the manufacturer and what the equipment is made from. If you do want to purchase or rent used equipment, ask about how old the equipment is and what state it is in.
Spend time thinking about the size and layout of your restaurant kitchen. Think about how your staff will move around and use each piece of equipment, and how much room your have for it.
Pricing will probably already be at the top of your list of considerations, so think about which pieces of equipment will be most key to your operations. You should spend more on what you’ll end up using every day. You can also think about purchasing equipment that’s multipurpose, such as combination ovens.
Hiring a restaurant kitchen planner
If you’re building a new restaurant kitchen from scratch or doing a complete renovation, then using a commercial kitchen design service like us can help you work out what you actually need. We’ll help you design a layout that makes sense for your space and your menu, so you don’t end up buying anything you don’t need.
Restaurant kitchen equipment checklist
Food and ingredient storage
The size of your kitchen, number of covers, what’s on your menu, and frequency of ingredient delivery will all affect what storage you need. Think about how much refrigeration, freezer, and dry storage space is needed by working out how often you’ll be receiving each type of delivery, and how quickly the ingredients will be used. You’ll want to place these in accessible locations.
1. Refrigeration equipment
Undercounter fridges are a great choice for most kitchens, allowing you to save space and split up ingredients depending on the prep area. If you need more storage, an upright fridge should be considered.
If you have a large amount of fresh ingredients and produce and have a larger space available, we would recommend a cold room.
Similarly to their fridge counterparts, undercounter freezers are great for saving space and integrating into your prep areas. If you need more storage, go for a chest freezer. Again, if you have large amounts of frozen food to store, you can opt for a walk in freezer room.
3. Ice Machines
If you’re serving cold drinks, an ice machine is a must have. Use it to keep drinks cool as well as in smoothies or blended cocktails.
Food prep stations
Your food prep area is most likely in between your storage and cooking area. Make sure you’re keeping raw meats separate from other foods to prevent cross contamination.
4. Food prep tables
Stainless steel prep tables are a durable choice, as they are easy to clean, don’t corrode, and don’t absorb bacteria from food. You can get these in a variety of sizes, or get one custom built for your kitchen.
You’re not allowed to keep any food on the floor in a commercial restaurant kitchen, so you need to make sure you have enough storage for dry ingredients. An organised shelving system will help to streamline your kitchen, so keep the most used items close to where they will be used.
You’ll also need sinks for both hand washing and pot washing. Each sink should only be used for its designated purpose.
Your cooking equipment is the heart of your kitchen, and this is the area that will be most determined by what you’re serving on your menu. Think about what you’ll be cooking every day and as such, what kitchen equipment is the most important.
Commercial ovens are designed with higher power and bigger capacities than residential ovens.
First you’ll need to decide if you want to go with gas or electric. Gas is more responsive when adjusting heat levels, but can be more expensive to install. Check if your kitchen actually has access to a gas supply too!
Ovens take up a lot of space in your kitchen, so realistically calculate what you have room for and how much food you’ll need to cook. Choose something that’s going to stand the test of time and take a look at different brands and service agreements.
Types of Ovens
There are a lot of different types of commercial oven, and you’ll want one that works best for what you’re cooking.
Combi ovens are a steamer and convection oven in one. If you have a smaller space, a combi oven is a great choice as they can be used for so many functions. This could save you from spending on extra equipment.
Convection ovens have a fan that circulates air around the food, meaning food is cooked more evenly. These are useful if you plan on baking or roasting foods.
These are specially designed for pizzas, as they reach high temperatures that achieve a crispy crust and melted cheese.
Ranges are used to cook items over a gas flame or electric heat, used for pans, skillets, boiling water and simmering dishes.
Gas ranges have live flames, which allow for higher precision and faster cooking than an electric burner. However, an electric range cooks food more evenly and are easier to clean although they take longer to heat up. It will be personal preference which one you choose.
A flat-top grill can be used to cook almost anything, making it a good option for most restaurants.
10. Extraction Units
Commercial kitchens have strict regulations for extraction to ensure cooking fumes are removed. They also help to keep your kitchen cool by providing proper airflow. Make sure your system meets the HSE criteria.
If you need a fryer to cook chicken, chips and fish, you have the choice between a free standing fryer, or a countertop fryer. A free standing fryer holds large quantities, and are more robust. A countertop fryer is a great way to save space in smaller kitchens.
Make sure you go for a commercial microwave, as domestic models are not powerful enough or durable enough to cope with every day use in a commercial kitchen.
13. Food processors
Investing in an industrial food processor can help to speed up a lot of kitchen processing, including grating cheese and dicing veg. They can also be used for making sauces and dips.
The cookware you need depends on your menu, but you’ll need to consider:
- Pans in different sizes
- Baking trays
- Utensils such as tongs, spatulas, ladles, spoons
- A range of colour coded chopping boards
- High quality set of knives
You’ll need more than one of each item, so you aren’t slowed down if things are being washed.
15. Specialty Equipment
Depending on what type of restaurant you are, you’ll probably need more specialist equipment. This could include:
- Pasta Cookers
- Pizza Ovens
- Panini Grills
- Salamander broilers
If you’re serving food and drinks, you’ll need a dishwasher and a glasswasher for your restaurant kitchen.
There are three common types of dishwasher:
- Undercounter dishwashers for smaller venues
- Passthrough dishwashers for medium venues
- Conveyor dishwashers for larger venues
Make sure you have a clear route for the dirty dishes to come in.
Designing a commercial kitchen? We can help.
We can help you plan your kitchen layout, source your equipment and install it for you. Our team is fully prepared to get you cooking, with hands-on experience working with a range of customers, from high end restaurants to pubs, bars, and coffee shops. Contact us with any questions you have or for a personalised kitchen quote.