Planning a restaurant kitchen is a challenging task, one that requires a heap of research, careful consideration, and proper budgeting. It’s not simply finding out who the best manufacturers are and hitting the checkout. There’s a lot to worry about before you get close to actually buying.
Restaurant concept – cuisine, menu, style – determines some of the decisions you make, but other operational factors – output, scale, flow – also influence how you come up with a finished restaurant kitchen equipment list.
It’s vital that you have a vision for your kitchen layout, so here’s the quick list of restaurant kitchen equipment you’ll need to start planning your dream culinary business:
· Cooking Equipment:
o Grill & Griddle
o Deep Fryer
· Refrigeration Equipment:
o Ice Machine
· Food Preparation Equipment:
o Stainless Steel Work Tables
o Commercial Sinks
o Food Processors
· Storage Equipment:
o Under-counter storage
The Ultimate List of Essential Kitchen Equipment
First and foremost, commercial kitchens prepare delicious food, so it’s obviously a priority to find high-quality cooking equipment. Here’s what you need to know:
There’s not much to say about ovens that you won’t already know. They’re incredibly multi-functional, used for roasting, braising, and baking. The most immediate considerations are capacity and size, though you’ll be happy to hear those extremely powerful yet compact commercial ovens can be found quite easily. You’ll also have to think about how many ovens your business needs, which largely depends on your cuisine.
A kitchen range is utterly fundamental to a restaurant business, but you will have to decide which kind is best for you: gas or electric. Gas ranges have far greater temperature control and will of course continue working if the power goes out. Meanwhile, electric ranges spread heat more evenly and are generally more efficient, though despite this they do still result in higher operating costs.
“If you can’t handle the heat,” as the old saying goes, “get out of the kitchen.” Proper ventilation allows you to take away both heat and moisture from the workspace, creating a more comfortable environment for everyone. There are a few things to consider when buying this equipment, namely:
· Flow Rate: the maximum air volume that can flow through the ductwork, generally measured as cubic feet per minute (CFM).
· Size & Placement: With ventilation, capacity correlates with size. This means that the power you can harness depends on the space you have available. The position of large fans must comply with various regulations, and thus where you place your ventilation should be a chief concern when designing your layout.
· Efficiency: It’s better to invest in a more capable system than rely on underpowered units. When a ventilation system stays at a high work rate, efficiency sharply drops, plus components will likely fail much sooner. Look to install equipment that won’t constantly struggle to keep up with your basic requirements.
4. Grills & Griddles
Char-marked steak is perhaps the biggest icon of restaurant dining, made possible through the use of a quality grill. If your cuisine calls for it, there’s simply no substitute. Excellent examples also include a separate griddle area and the flat metal surface that’s perfect for toasting bread or flipping eggs and pancakes.
Whilst a skilled chef won’t cook with a microwave, these small appliances are unbeatable for quickly heating up sauces, defrosting ingredients, and preparing certain desserts. They are incredibly convenient, especially in kitchens with less space to spare.
It’s entirely possible to prepare some tasty toast on a griddle, but if you’re preparing larger quantities you should invest in specialist equipment. Serving breakfast in your restaurant will likely be a stressful experience if you haven’t installed a commercial toaster.
7. Deep Fryer
If you’re whipping up any quintessential fried foods (chicken tenders, onion rings, and of course French fries), a deep fryer is the way to do it. Plenty of customer favorites come from these small yet powerful units, so they’re a top priority for many kinds of restaurants.
Refrigeration Equipment for your Restaurant
Keeping your food fresh means that you not only save money on produce but also adhere to food health and safety regulations more seriously. Installing excellent refrigeration equipment ensures proper food hygiene standards, keeping your expensive ingredients tasty for longer.
Refrigerators are large in size, so the exact kind of equipment that best suits your restaurant depends on the scale of your operation and the physical space you have. The most common kinds of commercial refrigerators are as follows:
Reach-in Refrigerator: These are essentially a larger version of your household fridge. Food is stored on rows of shelving behind a glass or metal door, which can either be hinged or sliding. The key difference is that they have far greater capacity, both in terms of power and storage.
Walk-in Refrigerator: Everyone has heard of walk-ins, spacious refrigerators that allow you to store heaps of ingredients. They are critical for large-scale restaurants offering a large variety of dishes, with the added energy-saving benefit of a door that can close behind you. There are quite a number of considerations with walk-in refrigerators, most importantly size, power, location, and electrical requirements.
Under-counter Refrigerators: in select businesses, like sandwich shops, pizzerias and even food trucks, the convenience, and efficiency of a smaller under-counter refrigerator is ideal. Nicely tucked away under food prep surfaces, you don’t sacrifice vital space yet still keep key ingredients – vegetables, fruits, condiments – close to hand.
Just like refrigerators, there are many kinds of commercial freezer designs. Reach-in and under-counter freezers are easily found, and the same rules concerning power, size, and location apply.
3. Ice Machine
Places such as cafes and bars require a large amount of ice, whether they’re blending smoothies or mixing cocktails. A dedicated ice machine enables a restaurant to properly manage their ice, meaning that they’ll never face the embarrassment of running out of cold drinks on a hot, sunny day.
Food Preparation Equipment for your Restaurant
A roaring grill, bubbling pots, and the whir of the oven are the first things to mind when we think of commercial kitchens, yet no dish hits the pan without the proper prep beforehand. That’s why the following equipment should be on any kitchen equipment list for restaurants.
1. Stainless Steel Work Tables
Having the space to work comfortably is critical for the smooth running of a commercial kitchen, making stainless steel work tables a critical investment for any restaurant business. There are plenty of designs available, though you should be primarily concerned with the quality of materials.
Stainless steel sinks don’t only offer higher levels of sanitation; they also withstand the stress of a commercial environment. Sinks with multiple compartments are great for preparing many ingredients at the same time, speeding up your prep, and lowering customer wait times. Also note that health codes require separate sinks for washing equipment and preparing food, so do consider the number of units you’ll likely need.
3. Food Processors
A food processor is an absolute workhorse in the commercial kitchen, chopping, slicing shredding, blending, and pureeing all sorts of produce. There are a few different types of food processors though, you’ll most commonly see these:
· Batch bowl Processors: food is dropped into the processor, and set to the specific cut desired, which then collects at the bottom. When finished, the bowl easily detaches.
· Continuous-feed Processors: food can be continually added to the processor, again collected in a detachable bowl at the bottom.
· Combination Processors: some models make use of an attachment for alternating between batch and continuous-feed configurations.
Commercial slicers are designed for one thing, which as you may have guessed is slicing. Though not all kitchens will see the need for such equipment, businesses such as delis, sandwich shops, or simply restaurants serving charcuterie platters. When buying a slicer, consider things like blade size, power, and whether they operate manually or automatically.
If you’re dealing with bread dough, cake mix or similar, heavy-duty mixers dramatically cut down prep time, while at the same time improving overall product quality. There are various kinds of mixers that a professional kitchen can benefit from:
· Countertop Mixers: compact appliances capable of light to medium output, great for smaller restaurants and bakeries with limited room to spare.
· Stick Mixers: handheld devices that can chop, grind and blend ingredients at extremely high speed. They’re perfect for making soups, sauces, and select desserts.
· Floor Mixers: heavy-duty units that handle larger quantities of food extremely quickly. If your menu or product list requires heavy use of mixers, these self-standing examples are the best option for your business.
Storage Equipment for your Restaurant
Not all produce has to stay refrigerated, so a busy restaurant also needs to find sensible storage solutions for staple ingredients, not to mention the select equipment and utensils that are constantly in use.
1. Under-counter Storage
Efficient food prep requires plenty of countertop space as well as clever storage options. Many work tables come with undershelves or closed cabinets for keeping either ingredients or cookware clean and within reach. It’s also possible to purchase individual undershelves to fit in an existing kitchen set-up.
Just as restaurateurs can maximize under-counter space, so too can they use shelving and racks to increase vertical storage. Standard wall shelves provide a safe space for equipment and ingredient frequently used throughout the day. Specialist shelving like a microwave wall shelf provides a secure area for small kitchen appliances, so there’s really no limit to what you can store with stainless steel shelving.
3. Storage Racks
Storage equipment can take all forms, so it’s not all countertop units and wall shelves. Aside from simply storing equipment, restaurants can use storage racks to perform specific functions. For instance, dunnage racks keep heavier equipment and bulk ingredients off the ground, whilst bakery racks are the go-to choice for businesses preparing a lot of baked goods (breads, pastries, desserts). Storage racks keep your kitchen organized and thus more efficient.
General Considerations when buying Kitchen Equipment for Restaurants
Alongside the specific concerns of items on the restaurant equipment list, here are some general considerations when buying commercial kitchen products:
1. Material and Build Quality
The first thing to consider when making a purchase on anything is quality, which applies to materials, design, and assembly. Restaurant equipment is no different and so you should pay attention to details such as who manufactured it, what it’s made from, and what people say about it.
Trusted suppliers offer higher quality goods for superior customer experience, with Amgood Supply proud to be leading the pack. For equipment that’s likely to be used extensively, choosing the highest quality products that your budget allows will save you from future headaches.
2. Size and Capacity
As a general rule, the size of equipment increased with the capacity, meaning that restaurant owners are always balancing these metrics with the kitchen space they have to work with. Always measure your work areas before you make any purchases, which of course includes the doors into the kitchen.
The ultimate goal is to create a layout that maximizes efficiency, which much of the time can be done with common-sense solutions. Take the time to think about how kitchen staff will move through the space, with particular regard to the equipment and ingredients they’ll most frequently be using.
3. Ease of Use
Remember that when buying kitchen equipment, you’re investing in the long-term experience. In the restaurant industry, efficient design is crucial. A few clever touches can save countless work hours over a long period of time, whilst also reducing the risk of an accident. Ensure that equipment is ergonomic and easily operated, but also look for extra storage or tech features.
Choosing multi-functional equipment can make the lives of your kitchen staff easier, with the added benefit of lowering costs by combining what would have been two or more items. Also remember that ease of use applies to cleaning, too. Stainless steel restaurant equipment is by far the most convenient to maintain, so it’s wise to make this your first choice.
More importantly than anything else, kitchen equipment has to work well with the staff using it all day, every day. Top suppliers are able to put years of industry experience into the products they make, which are designed with those who use them in mind.
Where can I find the Best Kitchen Equipment?
With such a long kitchen equipment list for a restaurant, prices soon run quite high. An early question that business owners ask themselves is where to find all this gear. Here’s a quick comparison between buying new versus used:
A) Buying Equipment from Trusted Suppliers
Restaurant equipment experts understand the ins and outs of the business and therefore design their products to withstand the specific workload and challenges of the busy kitchen. This means that you can expect better performance and longevity from new equipment, which can save you innumerable time and money in the long run.
Buying equipment from these places also means that you can ask for expert assistance relevant to your particular kitchen and business. Leaders like Amgood Supply are committed to helping restaurateurs find the products that their business actually needs to succeed.
B) Buying Used Kitchen Equipment
It’s not a bad idea to shop around for some used kitchen equipment. There’s a high rate of failure in the restaurant industry, meaning that it is possible to find relatively new equipment for a great price.
With that being said, there’s no telling how used equipment has been treated, where unforeseen damage can result in greater cost down the line. Certain equipment is slightly riskier to buy used. For instance, refrigerators should be carefully inspected whilst a gas grill is highly durable. As you have no warranty, this burden is entirely yours to bear.
So Should I go New or Used?
Ultimately, it’s your decision where you shop for your kitchen equipment list, though buying new gives you absolute certainty over materials and overall quality. At the same time, going with a trusted manufacturer or supplier means that you’re dealing with professionals that can offer you the best advice on your specific business.
Choosing the Best Supplier for You
When you finalize the kitchen equipment list for your restaurant and you’re ready to buy, there are a lot of retailers and suppliers waiting for you. It can be a little overwhelming to compare thousands of options, which is precisely why it’s best to choose to work with reputable manufacturers.