The Top 12 Essential Commercial Kitchen Tools and Equipment Every Restaurant Needs
The equipment in your commercial kitchen contributes to the type of menu you can serve, the quality of your food, and even to your kitchen efficiency. Although there is some kitchen equipment you take for granted, such as your commercial freezer or range, there are other tools and equipment to consider.
The tools and equipment your restaurant invests in can also make or break your business. Here, we look at the top 12 essential kitchen tools and equipment that every restaurant needs to succeed.
Commercial ovens allow you to prepare a long list of menu items from fresh bread and buns to pastries, and from casseroles to perfectly roasted meats. They provide high-capacity cooking, with many sizes available to suit your kitchen size and customer demand. There are many oven designs available from pizza ovens to those specifically designed for trays of baked goods. Therefore, your menu and restaurant type will help you choose the kind of oven or ovens you require, including:
- Convection ovens for cakes, cookies, roasting, toasting, and dehydrating.
- Combination ovens to steam, roast, bake, and broil.
- Pizza ovens for the obvious dishes.
- Conveyor ovens for consistent, quick-cooking items for a specific amount of time, which are ideal for things such as toasted bagels and breakfast sandwiches or cheese breads.
Ranges are ideal to create all types of food cooked in pots, pans, and skillets from pasta to sauces and meat dishes to sides. You can choose between gas or electric, with gas ranges providing the live flame that is the gold standard for chefs.
3. Gas or electric grill
Restaurants that want to grill the perfect steak or salmon filet opt for the classic grill. However, restaurants that specialize in all-day breakfasts or a diverse list of sandwiches all benefit from the grill. Keep in mind that grills require proper ventilation, and take up space, so not all restaurants will be able to accommodate an indoor grill.
Ranges require proper kitchen ventilation to ensure correct airflow and improve kitchen and restaurant air quality. Your ventilation system requires a ventilation hood that is up to code for safety regulations. You need more air volume for gas ranges and grills where you are cooking things such as meats, compared to a restaurant that just prepares soups and pastas.
5. Freezers and refrigerators
All restaurants require commercial freezers and refrigerators to keep food fresh. Freezers also help keep your restaurant more cost-effective, thus allowing you to buy more food in bulk. However, many restaurants prefer to serve fresh meats and produce only. Your commercial cold storage must keep food at safe temperatures in line with safe food handling best practices. You can choose between a long list of fridges from walk-ins to reach-ins and under-the-counter or countertop models. It all depends on how you set up your kitchen, the type of menu you serve, and even if you have a self-serve component to your foodservice. Larger restaurants might prefer walk-in fridges and freezers, as they offer more storage space.
6. Food processors
Food processors make short work in busy kitchens where the menu requires a lot of slicing, chopping, blending, blitzing, and pureeing. Smaller food processors are excellent for making your own dressings, dips, and condiments as well. Choices include:
- Batch bowl processors to collect food as it is sliced or chopped.
- Continuous feed food processors for large kitchens where production is ongoing.
- Buffalo choppers for heavier jobs such as chopping meat.
You want to choose a food processor to meet demand, and that offers the right attachments for your needs.
If you prepare a lot of baked goods, then a mixer is a must. You can choose from:
- Hand mixers or immersion blenders ideal for things like sauces and soups.
- Countertop mixers for small batches of things like cookies, cakes, or bread.
- Floor mixers for larger batches of baked goods, or where capacity is higher.
Different from processors, slicers are designed for slicing meats and cheese. They are more commonly found in delis and sandwich shops, although the trend for handcrafted charcuterie platters might call for slicers in some restaurants.
Sinks play a number of different roles in commercial kitchens from safety protocols such as washing hands and dishes to cleaning and preparing food. In most cases, restaurants require a triple-sink wash station and a commercial dishwashing machine. A separate sink is also required for handwashing. Sinks include:
- Compartment sinks where you can rinse, wash, and sanitize tools, dishes, etc.
- Bar sinks to dump out unfinished drinks and ice.
- Disposal sinks for dumping and disposing of food scraps.
- Handwashing sinks to reduce the risk of cross-contamination from food scraps and bacteria.
- Mop sinks installed at floor level for filling and emptying mop buckets.
- Portable sinks for mobile vendors, available for various purposes including handwashing stations.
The steam table can be used to keep foods warm at a safe temperature so they can be served quickly without sacrificing quality. They are excellent for cafeteria-style service, and can also be used for self-serve restaurants with buffets.
Although many chefs might consider the microwave taboo in their kitchen, they definitely serve a purpose for most restaurants. Since most don’t have the staff to prepare every single dish fresh, commercial microwaves come in handy for everything from reheating food to defrosting, and from pre-cooking to preparing a quick stream of fresh vegetables.
Ice-makers are a must for serving cool drinks and cocktails, but can also be used for food presentation for things such as oysters or shrimp cocktails. Busy restaurants with bars should consider purchasing ice machines with an ice bin so the ice is ready to use.
To learn more about the types of commercial coolers, fridges, and sinks available, call Ancaster Food Equipment at 866-711-5486, or contact us here.