Essential Supplies for Premium Restaurant Kitchens

Essential Supplies for Premium Restaurant Kitchens

If you're thinking of opening a new restaurant or completely revamping a new space to turn it into a kitchen, the costs can add up fast. Licensed commercial kitchens require a lot of equipment to be effective at serving food, while also meeting all relevant health and safety regulations.

Zanduco is here to provide you with the best in commercial kitchen supplies and appliances, and we'll do whatever we can to help you outfit your kitchen within your budget. However, prioritization is key here. What are the most important items and appliances to purchase at a start-up?

This is what we recommend when would-be restaurant-owners come to us for advice.

The Twelve Most Important Types of Restaurant Equipment

1 - Ovens

Few restaurants will be able to get very far without at least one high-quality commercial oven unless they are only doing fast-food frying. For everyone else, your oven will likely be the most important appliance in the kitchen. The size and type will be based on what you plan on serving, but they broadly fall into a few types:

  • Traditional ovens for baking, roasting, and broiling.
  • Convection ovens for toasting, dehydrating, and other smaller items.
  • Pizza ovens, if you're serving pizza.
  • Conveyor ovens, allow for large quantities of food to be continuously cooked at once.

2 - Ranges (and ventilation)

A high-quality professional range is another must-have for virtually any kitchen. You'll want multiple burners although, again, the exact size and heating power will depend on your exact needs.

The big decision here is gas vs electric. Electric ranges are typically more efficient and have a lower risk of gas leaks and fire. Gas ranges have better temperature control, plus they can still work even if the power goes out.

Don't forget to add ventilation above the range, which is typically a legal requirement as well as just being a good idea.

3 - Deep Fryer

In all likelihood, you'll want some form of the commercial deep fryer as well, although some particularly health-conscious restaurants might be able to skip this one or stick strictly to pan-frying on their range. Nevertheless, there are plenty of items that are best cooked in a deep fryer. Mechanically, they're all similar, just pick one that matches your expected volume.

Deep fryers also require ventilation, although you could potentially put the fryer and range side-by-side to share one large vent hood.

4 - Microwave

Serious professional kitchens don't like to admit they use a microwave, but trust us, they do. You definitely need a professional-grade microwave, if only to handle minor thawing jobs or emergency situations where something needs to be reheated ASAP. A microwave is a microwave, so just get one that fits the size of the dishes you'll be making. Don't go crazy on power unless you plan on microwaving especially large items. They can easily waste power if you get a microwave with more wattage than you actually need.

5 - Cooling Systems (fridges and freezers)

Another absolutely critical must-have is a cold storage system to preserve food when not in use. A commercial refrigerator is a bare minimum, although you will almost certainly want a freezer of some size as well. Walk-in freezers are much more expensive to install but allow you to buy ingredients in bulk and store them for weeks or months - potentially saving a lot of money in the long run. Smaller freezers are better for smaller kitchens, or situations where you're mostly dealing with fresh food and only occasionally need a frozen item.

Look for a solution that will allow you to easily separate, label, and store items within reach for easy accessibility during rush periods. You don't want your kitchen losing time searching for the foods they need!

6 - Mixers

A quality professional mixer is almost certainly a must-have. They're necessary for any baked goods, as well as for mixing soups, sauces, or potentially mixed drinks if you're planning on getting a liquor license. 

If you won't be doing any baking, you probably only need a hand-held immersion blender for sauces, soups, and drinks. If you'll be doing baking, you'll need a good countertop stand mixer to knead the dough, or potentially even an industrial floor mixer for really large batches. (Such as a dedicated pizza restaurant that makes its own dough.)

7 - Food Processor

A commercial food processor is a mixer for dry foods - and you should not try to use one appliance for both purposes. They're needed for chopping, blitzing, and pureeing, and are useful in a wide variety of applications.

Some of your options here include:

  • Batch bowl processors, are hand-operated and only do one task at a time.
  • Continuous-feed processors put items on a conveyor belt or large container for bulk processing.
  • Buffalo choppers, are more powerful and intended for breaking down tough items like meat.

You also have numerous options in attachments and heads, which will just depend on your menu.

8 - Slicers

Commercial slicers do exactly what it says on the box - they slice meats, veggies, and cheeses. This might seem like a skippable item, but you will quickly wear out your prep workers if they have to slice everything by hand. Plus, only the best sous chefs can actually achieve the same level of slicing consistency as a commercial slicer can provide.

Keep in mind that slicers can be quite dangerous. Your workers need to be specifically trained in their use, and we recommend keeping at least one first aid near the slicer in case of an accident.

9 - Sinks

You'll need multiple commercial sinks around your kitchen for various tasks - don't try to get by with just one. For starters, most areas legally require a dedicated hand-washing sink which is separate from sinks used for food prep or dishwashing.

Aside from the standalone hand-washing sink, we recommend a sink with at least two basins, and possibly three. If you have the money, separating your food-washing and dish-rinsing sinks can reduce the possibility of cross-contamination, but isn't strictly required.

10 - Shelving and storage

It's easy to underestimate how much storage you'll need, and difficult to have too much storage, within the limitations of the space. So plan on picking up plenty of commercial-grade shelves, racks, and cabinetry. Remember that you typically have loads of room underneath countertops and other working spaces, and many restaurant work tables come with storage built-in underneath.

Be sure to organize them well, use labeling, and encourage your workers to always put items back in their proper place.

11 - Basic utensils, equipment, and cooking tools

Be sure to leave some room in your budget for all the various utensils and small wares needed for food preparation. This includes items like:

  • Pots and pans
  • Baking sheets
  • Mixing bowls
  • Knives
  • Tongs
  • Ladles
  • Whisks
  • Large spoons, forks, etc

If possible, plan so that you know that the utensils and small wares you're picking up will all fit within the shelves and cabinetry you're planning on buying. But leave room to grow - it's virtually guaranteed you'll discover later on that you're lacking something you need, or didn't buy enough plates, pots, etc.

12 - Safety Equipment and Cleaning Supplies

Finally, remember to pick up all the items you need to keep your staff and your kitchen safe and sanitary. We recommend looking into your area's local laws on health & safety or consulting with a lawyer. Many of these commercial cleaning supplies may be required by law.

For example:

  • Hand soaps and sanitizer
  • First aid kits
  • Janitorial cleaning supplies (buckets, chemicals, brushes, cleaning cloths, etc)
  • Gloves
  • PPE gear like face masks
  • Wet floor warning signs
  • Restroom cleaning and sanitation supplies, plus toilet paper, etc

If you've got everything on this list, you've probably got what you need to start your kitchen going. This doesn't include customer-facing items like dinnerware and furniture if you plan on having a dining area, but that's a topic for another list.

Zanduco Keeps Your Restaurant Supplied!

We're one of the world's top sources for the best in commercial restaurant equipment, appliances, utensils, cooking ware, and more. We carry absolutely everything you need to outfit a restaurant, aside from the food.

If you're looking to buy everything at once, contact us to discuss pricing. Or, if you're looking to save money, check out our ever-changing selection of discount discontinued and refurbished products!

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