What Does Every Commercial Kitchen Need?

A well-equipped kitchen is the foundation of every successful restaurant. However, if you find yourself faced with the daunting task of constructing one from scratch, filling it with the necessary tools and equipment can be overwhelming. Thankfully, we've compiled a list of things every commercial kitchen needs in order to create culinary masterpieces and please a dining room full of customers. 

Countless culinary tools and equipment exist, but every successful commercial kitchen needs:

  • Oven

  • Stovetop burners

  • Hoods

  • Refrigerator

  • Ice machine

  • Pans 

  • Mixing bowls

  • Workstation

  • First-aid kit

  • Fire extinguisher

Of course, this is far from a comprehensive list, as many more appliances and tools are vital for a functional commercial kitchen.  

Although this list stated above is a great start for any commercial kitchen, most won't get far with just these common items and appliances. To help, we've created a more comprehensive list of everything these kitchens need. For easy navigation, the list is split into four categories: appliances, tools, storage and spaces, and sanitation and safety items. This way, you can check off each item as you go to confirm your commercial kitchen has everything it needs.

Appliances Every Commercial Kitchen Needs

One of the first steps in preparing a new commercial kitchen is to purchase and install all the essential appliances necessary to prepare and cook various dishes. 

For commercial kitchens, we recommend having the following:

  • An oven(s)

  • A gas or electric range with multiple burners

  • A grill

  • Hoods

  • A food processor

  • An electric mixer

  • Multiple deep fryers

  • An ice machine

We will provide the disclaimer here that the purpose of a restaurant can sometimes affect whether they need some of these appliances and how frequently they are used, but generally, you'll see at least one of each item listed above in every commercial kitchen.

Most of these appliances, like the oven, ranges, and grill, are used for cooking foods using various techniques to yield unique and tasteful results. Larger commercial restaurants might have several of each in order to boost productivity and keep their services flowing smoothly. 

Hoods are important, particularly over the grill and deep fryers. They help remove smoke and grease from the kitchen, as they are hazardous to chefs and other individuals in the kitchen if inhaled in large quantities. 

Basic appliances like food processors and electric mixers are helpful in food preparation. Many chefs will use them hours before service in order to have the necessary ingredients blended or chopped and ready to go when service starts. 

Lastly, your ice machine plays a crucial role in keeping food and beverages cold when not stored in a refrigerator or freezer and can be used for common cooking techniques, such as ice baths. They are also useful if your particular restaurant serves cocktails or other alcoholic beverages.  

Tools Every Commercial Kitchen Needs

Once you have all of your large, pricy appliances taken care of, commercial kitchen owners can move on to purchasing the tools their chefs will need in order to use these appliances and handle/prepare food safely. 

Common commercial kitchen tools that are relatively universal include:

  • Tongs

  • Spatulas

  • Ladles 

  • Whisks

  • Brushes (basting or pastry) 

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Knife sets

  • Cutting boards

  • Pans of varying sizes, purposes, and materials

  • Mixing bowls of varying size

  • Pots of varying size

  • Baking sheets 

Handheld tools such as tongs, spatulas, ladles, etc., are essential for handling, preparing, and incorporating ingredients without the use of hands to ensure food is made safely and hygienically. 

Although many chefs can create culinary masterpieces just by eyeing the ingredients they add, many dishes require the utmost precision when it comes to adding ingredients or teaching other chefs, which is why measuring cups and spoons are a must. 

Chefs will also need pans, pots, and bowls of varying sizes and plenty of them. When choosing your pots and pans, it is important to keep in mind that their material makeup will affect how well they conduct heat and which dishes and techniques they are best suited to. 

Pots and pans are also designed with specific purposes, such as sauteing, creating stocks or soups, frying, braising, and many more. Therefore, you'll want a variety of pans in your kitchen to fill these needs. 

Lastly, be sure to take exceptional care when purchasing your commercial kitchen's knife set. A sharp, high-quality knife can make a world of difference when it comes to precise and speedy cutting. The best knives are made from high-carbon stainless steel and are paired with a sharpening stone to help maintain that crucial edge. 

You'll also want a wide variety of knives for different tasks like filleting, carving, cutting bread, etc., for the same reason you need pots and pans of varying purposes.

Storage and Spaces Every Commercial Kitchen Needs

Next, let's discuss items used for storage or as spaces designated for a specific task. 

Every kitchen needs various places where items can be organized and stored safely or where chefs can work productively away from the other stations while still communicating with fellow co-workers. Common examples are:

  • Walk-in cooler

  • Walk-in freezer

  • Various workstations

  • Pantries

  • Shelving

  • Cabinetry

One could make a strong argument that walk-in coolers and freezers should be under the "appliances" categories, but we believe they belong here as a storage area. These two spaces help ensure restaurants are keeping their ingredients at optimal temperatures and preventing the growth of any harmful bacteria.

Having multiple workstations within one commercial kitchen allows chefs to spread out and divvy up tasks more easily. This is an exceptional asset when you have a large kitchen that assigns chefs specific culinary tasks, such as working at the grill station, sauté station, kitchen line, and more. 

These specified spaces help increase productivity and efficiency by giving the chef everything they need in one area and out of each other's way.    

The other items all commercial kitchens need are spaces designated for storing cooking tools, dry ingredients, and smaller appliances. Shelves, pantries, and cabinets are best suited for this and often line the walls of any commercial kitchen completely.

Sanitation and Safety Items Every Commercial Kitchen Needs

The final category we are going to cover is one that often goes overlooked but is arguably the most important in any commercial kitchen. 

Sanitation and safety items are often required by law to be in commercial kitchens to ensure employees' and guests' safety. These items include:

  • Cleaning rags

  • Cleaning buckets 

  • Rubber floor mats

  • Hand soap and sanitizer dispensers

  • Dishwashing station

  • Fire extinguisher

  • First aid kits

The last thing you want for a commercial kitchen is a reputation that it is dirty or unsafe, which is where these items come into play. 

Countless items are used for cooking and preparing food throughout the day in commercial kitchens, and they should always be clean before each task. The same goes for any surfaces in the kitchen that food contacts directly or soils. 

Keeping these spaces and items clean is essential to preventing the spread of dangerous diseases, bacteria, and allergens in the kitchen, rendering cleaning items and dishwashing stations essential.

It is also important to guarantee the safety of employees in these kitchens with items like rubber floor mats, as well as having lifesaving tools like fire extinguishers and first aid kits on hand in the event of an accident.

Final Thoughts

While we concede that there are some items required in kitchens of varying culinary focuses and elevations that aren't listed here, the items we've discussed are what you will typically find in any commercial kitchen. As long as you've covered the basics as far as appliances, tools, storage, sanitation, and safety are concerned, your kitchen should be able to function proficiently and successfully. 

Of course, don't forget the small things when stocking your kitchen, like dishware for plating and resting food as well as other helpful items, like additional tables and wracks for storage and prep, bright light fixtures, and any unique tools and appliances that will help elevate your culinary possibilities.

Also read: how much is a commercial coffee machine? 

Sources:

https://chefstoys.com/blog/essential-equipment-every-commercial-kitchen-needs/

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/commercial-kitchen-equipment-checklist-2888867

https://www.gofoodservice.com/blog/kitchen-and-restaurant-equipment-checklist

https://www.lightspeedhq.com/blog/restaurant-equipment-list/

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