Whether you’re just stepping into the restaurant world or you’ve been a part of this industry for years, having an effective restaurant equipment checklist is essential for your business’s prosperity. In a market flooded with numerous brands, models, and suppliers, it can be daunting to distinguish between necessary investments and unnecessary expenses. To simplify your decision-making process, we’ve crafted this exhaustive list of commercial restaurant equipment.
Essential restaurant kitchen equipment checklist
Ovens hold a pivotal role among the essential equipment in a commercial kitchen. The choice of oven depends significantly on the nature of your restaurant and the cuisine you offer. For instance, a bakery may require a different type of oven compared to a high-end fine dining establishment.
- Commercial Oven – Almost every restaurant incorporates at least one commercial or standard oven into its kitchen equipment lineup. These ovens are renowned for their ability to ensure even cooking and are particularly well-suited for baking. They are considered a fundamental necessity for most dining establishments.
- Convection Oven – Distinguishing itself from commercial ovens, convection ovens come equipped with fans that facilitate the circulation of hot air. These ovens are indispensable for bakeries, excelling in the baking of items such as bread, pastries, pies, and cookies. Additionally, they serve admirably in toasting, roasting, and dehydrating.
- Combination Oven – The combination oven marries the features of a convection oven with those of a steamer. Its chief advantage lies in its versatility. With a combination oven, you can undertake a wide array of culinary tasks, including roasting, steaming, smoking, frying, baking, and grilling, among others.
- Pizza Oven – As its name implies, a pizza oven is primarily designed for crafting delectable pizzas. However, due to its high operating temperature, it is not limited solely to pizza preparation. A pizza oven can also handle a diverse range of dishes, from desserts to meats, with finesse.
- Conveyor Oven – Conveyor ovens are a familiar sight in neighborhood sandwich and pizza shops. In these ovens, food traverses a conveyor belt, where it undergoes cooking or heating at a predetermined pace and temperature.
2. Ranges and Ventilation
After addressing your oven needs, it’s time to turn your attention to ranges and ventilation. Ranges serve as vital components of your cooking equipment, while ventilation systems ensure a comfortable and safe airflow environment for your staff.
- Gas Ranges – Gas ranges are lauded for their precise temperature control. These range types swiftly reach the desired heat level and provide superior control compared to electric alternatives. An added advantage is their ability to function even during power outages. However, it’s worth noting that gas ranges tend to be more challenging to clean and carry a heightened risk of fire or gas leaks.
- Electric Ranges – Electric ranges are renowned for their efficiency and ease of cleaning. They excel at cooking food evenly, minimizing the risk of fires or gas leaks in your kitchen. On the downside, they can lead to higher electricity expenses.
- Ventilation – Commercial kitchens often present uncomfortable and crowded working conditions. A robust ventilation system takes charge of managing airflow and maintaining optimal temperature levels throughout your commercial restaurant kitchen. This ensures a pleasant, hygienic, and safe environment for your staff.
3. Food Processors
A food processor is a versatile kitchen appliance capable of chopping, slicing, shredding, grinding, and pureing a wide variety of foods. Although various types of food processors exist, it’s prudent to focus on four primary categories when considering them for your restaurant.
- Batch Bowl Processor – Frequently found in household kitchens, this variety of food processor accumulates food as it undergoes processing. Kitchen staff can introduce ingredients vertically and select their desired cutting style. With this type of processor, it’s simple to detach the bowl and empty its contents.
- Continuous Feed Food Processor – Ideal for commercial kitchens, the continuous feed food processor enables a continuous addition of ingredients while it operates, with the processed food being collected in a separate bowl.
- Buffalo Choppers – Buffalo choppers are robust, all-metal processors capable of handling even meat. While not typically a necessity for most commercial kitchens, they excel in heavy-duty tasks.
- Combination Processors – Serving as a versatile middle ground, combination processors integrate batch and continuous processing through the use of specialized attachments.
For those with intentions of baking bread or crafting delectable desserts, acquiring a commercial kitchen mixer is imperative. Your choice of mixer should align with both the quantity of food you intend to prepare and the frequency of its usage.
- Floor Mixers – Among the most favored mixer types in commercial settings, floor mixers boast substantial power, capable of efficiently blending large quantities in a short timeframe. These models are ideal for restaurants requiring regular and high-capacity mixing.
- Hand Mixers – Hand mixers, also referred to as stick mixers or immersion blenders, are handheld devices well-suited for tasks like blending soups and sauces. They enable emulsification, chopping, and high-speed mixing.
- Countertop Mixers – Frequently encountered in small bakeries, compact restaurants, and even home kitchens, countertop mixers are a familiar sight. They are well-suited for environments with lower output and limited space.
As the name implies, slicers are invaluable for precisely slicing items such as meats and cheeses. While not indispensable in every restaurant kitchen, they prove exceptionally useful if your menu includes items ranging from sandwiches to cold cuts and charcuterie platters.
When acquiring a slicer, assess the following factors according to your restaurant’s requirements –
- Automatic or Manual Operation
- Blade Size
- Light, Medium, or Heavy-Duty Capability
6. Food Prep Counters and Cutting Boards
Preparation tables, counters, and cutting surfaces serve as indispensable components in your restaurant’s kitchen. These areas will be in constant use for various prep tasks, so it’s crucial to invest in versatile and durable options.
When it comes to prepping counters, stainless steel is the optimal choice. These counters offer robustness, resistance to bacterial absorption, and durability, capable of withstanding repeated exposure to various cleaning products. Additionally, consider installing small refrigerators beneath your prep counters on the cooking line to maintain efficiency.
As for cutting boards, plastic emerges as the superior option. Plastic cutting boards possess lower porosity compared to wood, making it more challenging for bacteria to hide in crevices. They are easier to clean, dishwasher-safe, and play a pivotal role in preventing cross-contamination.
7. Refrigeration and Freezing Solutions
Ensuring the freshness of your food while mitigating the risk of food safety violations necessitates an investment in high-quality freezers and refrigerators.
Begin your selection process by evaluating the size and capacity requirements tailored to your restaurant’s needs. Subsequently, focus on the features. Ideally, prioritize reach-in refrigerators, as they offer the utmost convenience for your staff. If space allows and your restaurant demands extensive food storage, a walk-in cooler presents a user-friendly and secure option.
Moving on, consider the condenser, a vital component in temperature regulation for your freezer or refrigerator. When choosing a condenser type, you have the option of either a top or bottom-mounted refrigerator.
8. Cooking Equipment
In the hustle and bustle of a busy kitchen, the luxury of pausing to wash a tasting spoon between dishes is a rare commodity. Therefore, it’s prudent to consider your cooking equipment needs in terms of a complete shift—ensuring seamless execution without the need for constant dishwashing.
Here’s a checklist of essential items to have in ample supply –
- Pots and pans, spanning various sizes and equipped with lids.
- Mixing and tasting spoons.
- Chef’s knives.
- An assortment of mixing bowls.
- Whisks for blending and beating.
- Spatulas for precise flipping and scraping.
- Ladles for serving and portioning.
- Tongs for handling hot items.
- Baking pans, sheets, and roasting pans.
- An ample stock of towels and rags for quick cleanup and kitchen maintenance.
Seasoned chefs understand the importance of having the right serving dishes and utensils to present and serve a wide array of dishes. It’s crucial to ensure your inventory includes an array of cutlery, bowls in various shapes and sizes, ramekins, cups, and glasses. When assessing your needs, consider the different sizes of platters and plates required, while also accounting for potential breakage. Preparing for all contingencies is key.
Here are the primary categories of serving ware essential for your restaurant –
- Dishware – Comprising plates, platters, bowls, and serving plates and bowls.
- Glassware – Including wine, cocktail, beer, water, dessert, and specialty glasses.
- Flatware – Encompassing knives, spoons, forks, and essential serving utensils.
- Dinnerware Accessories – Covering charger plates, ramekins, sauce cups, dessert dishes, plate covers, bread and butter plates, coffee mugs, teacups, and saucers.
- Displayware – Incorporating baskets and appetizers or tasting dishes.
- Linens – Such as cloth napkins and tablecloths, to enhance your dining presentation.
10. Food Storage Containers
Efficiency in minimizing food waste is a hallmark of a successful restaurant, and this hinges on having the right food storage containers and fostering best practices among your staff. Given the diverse array of ingredients used in the cooking process, it’s imperative to maintain a well-rounded collection of storage containers.
Ensure your inventory includes –
- Vegetable Crispers – Highly effective for preserving the freshness of produce.
- Large Ingredient Bins – Ideal for storing dry ingredients in bulk, such as flour.
- Kitchen Canisters – Useful for housing smaller quantities of ingredients like coffee or sugar.
- Dough Boxes – Specifically designed for storing unbaked dough, making them invaluable for baking bread and desserts.
- Food Storage Containers – Stock up on containers in various shapes and sizes, as their versatility will prove indispensable in your kitchen’s daily operations.