The Essential Restaurant Equipment Checklist

Thinking of opening a new restaurant? Check out this essential restaurant equipment buying guide for everything you will need to open a commercial kitchen.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be construed as legal or public health advice. Please always consult a knowledgeable professional advisor.

Opening a new restaurant requires a great deal of thought about what may feel like a million things at once – and there is no one-size-fits-all solution as each restaurant has its own unique needs.

However, one of the most important factors for all new restaurants is kitchen equipment. While different food outlets will have varying requirements, there is certain essential equipment that every new restaurateur will need in order to get cooking.

Creating a list of equipment that meets the requirements of your restaurant’s menu ensures everything will be in place ahead of the big opening day.

Restaurant equipment checklist

Ovens and Grills

There are many different types of ovens and grills to choose from but the best fit will depend on the style of food being cooked.
A flat-top grill is a good all-rounder that can be used for almost anything. A convection oven heats up quickly, while brick ovens offer an authentic cooking style in a pizza restaurant. Commercial ovens and grills typically have a long lifespan, so buying second-hand is always an option for entrepreneurs on a budget.

Hobs and Ventilation

Gas hobs have higher daily operational costs than electric, however, they are typically more durable and cheaper to fix if anything goes wrong.
Having proper ventilation is an essential part of meeting HSE criteria, to remove cooking fumes at the source and provide enough air in the work environment.

Fridges and Freezers

To keep food fresh and to meet health and safety regulations, fridge and freezers are a must. Fridge and freezers help you to store food properly, ensuring proper temperature control for ingredients. Investing in the highest affordable quality of fridges and freezers is always a good decision.

Cookware

The catalogue of cookware required will depend on your menu and the available space in your kitchen. A basic starter combination will include a set of pans in a range of shapes and sizes, baking trays and cake tins, tongs, spatulas, ladles, whisks, spoons, colour-coded chopping boards (another health and safety consideration) and of course, a good quality set of knives.

Food Processors and Blenders

An industrial food processor with a comprehensive set of attachments can make your dreams come true in a busy kitchen environment. Food processors can be used to speed up many daily processes such as grating cheese. Blenders are also a handy tool and essential for restaurants intending to serve soup on the menu.

Sinks and Washing Equipment

Each commercial kitchen is required to have at least two sinks, which includes one dedicated for handwashing and another for equipment washing. Most will also need a third sink for food preparation and cleaning. Each sink should be used only for its designated purpose – and typically needs to be quite large too.

Microwave

Even gourmet restaurants will sometimes find a microwave handy, particularly when the stovetop is full. They can also help to ensure all food is piping hot ahead of service. Commercial microwaves have a higher power than domestic microwaves so do your research.

Food Preparation Areas

Food preparation areas need to be large enough for purpose and at a height that allows chefs to work comfortably. There should be enough room to be able to separate high-risk categories of food such as raw meat and fish, ideally with a dedicated service pass separate to the preparation zones.

Shelving and Storage

Regulations state that no food can be kept on the floor in a commercial restaurant environment, which includes tinned goods. Having plenty of shelving and storage is an essential element when complying with health and safety legislation. The lowest shelves should be a minimum of six inches from the floor.

Serving Ware and Cutlery

Whether a restaurant is dine-in, takeaway or a combination of the two, having the appropriate style and quantity of serving ware and cutlery is vital. The maximum number of potential customers will dictate the volume required. Breakages should also be accounted for as this is almost unavoidable in a bustling restaurant environment.

The right hardware for your restaurant

Once the restaurant kitchen equipment list has been checked off, hardware is the next concern. The primary component of hardware for any restaurant is a payment system which facilitates streamlined service.

POS software offers a range of benefits over and above the traditional cash register. With an integrated Square payment system, restaurant owners can take payments in person and online with ease. The system can also help with managing inventory, planning seating at busy times, monitoring stock levels, sending orders to the kitchen and even coordinating deliveries and collections.

There are multiple options that are ideal for restaurants of all shapes and sizes.

  • Square Stand is compatible with iPads and includes a card reader and dock to provide smooth transactions for customers.
  • Square Terminal can be integrated into any payment system and allows both contactless and chip and pin payments on-site.
  • Square Register can be integrated with the Square Point of Sale app for a one-stop shop for all your payment service needs.

Software solutions for your restaurant

Square’s restaurant POS system provides many advantages for new business owners and for established restaurateurs seeking new ways to improve operations.

The fully integrated software system can help out with many of the practical parts of running a restaurant. To help streamline service, you can use Square to optimise floor plans and take orders via an app, which are then sent to the Kitchen Display System for preparation.

Having an effective software system in place provides all team members with the technology they need to deliver great customer service, as information can be accessed at the touch of a button.

The software can also be used to track live sales to help with rota planning, generate close of day reports, increase efficiency in the kitchen through station analysis and generate menu reports to help with future menu planning and ingredient inventory.

With the opening restaurant equipment checklist completed, the preparation for opening a restaurant does not stop there. Once the kitchen has been fully stocked, next steps include establishing a brand identity, choosing decor, considering marketing channels and of course, finalising the exact dishes on the menu, before scheduling the exciting opening night.