The Essential Commercial Kitchen Equipment Checklist

What is the beating heart of a modern restaurant? What truly brings a culinary space to life? No, it’s not just the food and customers—or necessarily the staff, either—but your chosen kitchen equipment. Your foodservice business can’t cook, whip up, or serve delectable menu items without the basic appliances, gear, and equipment found in a functional commercial kitchen. You must stock up your back-of-house space with the right tools of the trade to create dazzling recipes and establish a loyal customer base.

Similar to what pioneering businessman James Rouse believed, “Profit is not the legitimate purpose of business. The legitimate purpose of business is to provide a product or service that people need and do it so well that it’s profitable.” How then do you kickstart a successful commercial kitchen operation? Where do you begin to be able to provide exceptional service? We’ve broken down the core kitchen supplies you need into five different categories. These groupings are as follows:

  • Refrigeration
  • Food preparation
  • Cooking line
  • Small wares
  • Storage

Let’s take a closer look at these categories on the essential commercial kitchen equipment checklist. Remember, you can easily adjust this general checklist to meet your personal business needs and budget. No two foodservice businesses operate the exact same way. As you read through this inventory list, consider your kitchen layout and menu plan above all.

Refrigeration Equipment

Investing in commercial-grade refrigerators and freezers is key to ensuring the top-quality of every menu item you prepare. Keep capacity, shape, and size in mind as the core factors to think about for refrigeration equipment. Regardless of the style, the main goal is to keep any ingredients cool until a chef or staff member readily prepares them.

Fridges, Freezers, and Merchandisers

Food handling operations differ from facility to facility, and those with larger space or crowd flow may benefit from walk-in fridges or pass-through freezers. Generally, reach-in standalone fridges or freezer units offer enough storage space for smaller foodservice businesses. Again, choose your model set up based solely on your operation needs. Ease of access helps to grab items quickly, FIFO stock, and replenish the basics daily.

You’ll typically find commercial reach-in fridges with 1-3 metal or glass doors. You can also purchase glass-door coolers or merchandisers to sell prepared foods or pre-packaged drinks front-of-house.

Food Preparation Equipment

Next up is professional food prep supplies. Your commercial kitchen may require a variety of prep work tasks and methods to prepare food for customers. What you invest in mainly depends on counter space and your recipes.

Prep Tables

Prep tables are the most common items to have back-of-house to place various appliances and supplies on. These stainless steel tables come in different sizes but tend to be wide and rectangular. Their sturdiness offers prime surface space to cut, mix, and prepare ingredients or assemble dishes together.

Mixers or Processors

Mixers might be more beneficial for pizza shops, sandwich shops, or bakeries. It depends on whether you cook or bake on-site or offer quick-service items. Versatile food processors come in handy to save time on chopping, combining, blending, pureeing, dicing, or shredding.

Ice Machines or Beverage Dispensers

If your foodservice establishment or business offers a variety of drinks, you may need assorted equipment that assists with beverage preparation. Ice machines, dispensers, blenders, slush machines, or espresso machines are all good options.

Cooking Line Equipment

A wide array of cooking appliances definitely belong on the essential commercial kitchen equipment checklist. The particular type of equipment your operation needs depends on your menu and theme. Think about what core pieces you will use the most often every day.

Range

Gas or electric ranges are essential for pan-frying, broiling, browning, sauteing, stir-frying, and more. You can find them with burner grates or flat surfaces. Your choice here depends mainly on building setup and kitchen configuration.

Oven

Electric or gas ovens may be standard, but the specific type of oven to invest in depends on your menu items. Convection or combination ovens are the most beneficial appliances you can have in your commercial kitchen. These versatile combi-ovens give you the option of braising, baking, roasting, and more. Microwave ovens can also help to reheat or defrost foods quickly. Consider function, heating speed, and size when selecting the right oven for your business.

Deep Fryer or Pressure Fryer

Quick-service food establishments can utilize fryers for customer favorites, such as french fries, chicken tenders, tempura, churros, and so much more. The best part is that these appliances are available in floor or countertop models to suit your kitchen setup.

Grill or Griddle

Any favorite meats, seafood, or veggies are wonderful to cook up on a commercial grill or griddle. Classic grills offer that traditional smoky flavor, but commercial-grade griddles are fast-and-easy mainstays for diners and quick-service operations.

Smallware Supplies

Smallwares are the tools and pieces of tableware staff use to cook, prepare, and serve food. This list of equipment includes pots, pans, mixing bowls, and cutting boards. Don’t forget key cutlery and utensils such as knives, spoons, spatulas, whisks, turners, and tongs. Last but not least is serving ware, such as serving bowls, platters, and dishes. Consider both “for here” or “to go” options—plates vs. bags, etc.

Storage and Cleaning Supplies

When it comes to storage and cleaning gear for your commercial kitchen, the possibilities are endless. Be sure to select adequate shelving, food storage containers, utility carts, air-drying racks, garbage bins, and recycle bins to keep the space tidy and well-organized.

Organization is the foundation of an efficient, profitable, and successful foodservice business—and so is up-to-code cleanliness when it matters the most. Handwashing stations, utility sinks, and sanitizing dishwashers help to ensure safe food handling practices. A safe and sanitary workspace ensures first-rate service.

Choose DSL: Foodservice Equipment Supplies

Whether you focus on quick-service or sit-down menus, each establishment needs something from this essential checklist. Is your business in need of commercial restaurant equipment in the Edmonton area? Look no further than DSL, with over 100 years of service experience across Western Canada. DSL is ready to serve your foodservice business with the kitchen equipment you need for success. As a proud supplier of top-of-the-line products from reputable manufacturers, you can’t go wrong with our partnership.

Peruse through our current inventory in our online collection today, or feel free to reach out to our team to learn more about how our kitchen equipment offerings can benefit your business. Let us help you expand your profits and provide excellent service time and time again.

The Essential Commercial Kitchen Equipment Checklist

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