Restaurant Equipment List: A Guide Every Owner Needs

March 6, 2024

Starting a new restaurant or upgrading an existing one involves numerous challenges, especially when it comes to selecting the right restaurant equipment. Are you overwhelmed by the variety of options and unsure where to start? 

This guide will navigate you through the essential restaurant equipment list, offering insights on sourcing and choosing the right equipment for your culinary venture.

What is Restaurant Equipment?

Restaurant equipment refers to the broad spectrum of tools, appliances, and accessories essential for preparing, cooking, storing, and serving food commercially. This category includes large appliances such as ovens and refrigerators, as well as smaller utensils and kitchen gadgets. 

Beyond the physical hardware, modern kitchens also use software solutions like kitchen display systems and point-of-sale systems, which help optimize operations and boost efficiency. Choosing the right mix of equipment is crucial not merely for possessing the necessary tools but also for fostering an environment where culinary creativity can coexist with operational efficiency.

Restaurant Equipment List

As we delve into the restaurant equipment list, it’s important to remember your kitchen’s unique needs. Each piece of equipment should align with your culinary offerings, kitchen size, and operational demands. Let’s explore the key pieces of equipment that play a crucial role in restaurant operations.


1. Ovens

Selecting the right oven is crucial, as it varies depending on your restaurant’s concept and menu. The oven's size, purpose, and quality can significantly affect your kitchen’s functionality. 

Here's a breakdown of the types of ovens to consider:

  • Commercial Ovens: A staple in most restaurant kitchens, commercial ovens offer consistent heat and are versatile enough for various dishes. They’re designed to meet the rigorous demands of a busy kitchen, ensuring reliability and durability for any baking needs.

  • Convection Ovens: These ovens utilize a fan and exhaust system to circulate hot air around the oven cavity, promoting even temperatures for browning, crisping, and roasting. They’re ideal for multi-rack cooking and may reduce the need to rotate dishes. They’re known for their efficiency in cooking and are suitable for various cooking tasks.

  • Combination Ovens: Also known as combi-ovens, these can combine several cooking functions, such as steam and convection, in a single appliance. This versatility makes them suitable for a broad range of cooking tasks, from baking to roasting and steaming, offering convenience and efficiency in commercial kitchens.

  • Pizza Ovens: These ovens are tailored for pizza cooking and designed to reach higher temperatures for a perfect crust and evenly melted cheese. They are essential for any restaurant specializing in pizza, offering the precise cooking environment needed.

  • Conveyor Ovens: Designed for continuous cooking, these ovens move food through a heated chamber on a conveyor belt, ensuring consistent cooking times and temperatures. They are popular in fast-food restaurants and pizzerias for their efficiency in high-volume cooking.

  • Steam Ovens: Steam ovens are excellent for retaining nutrients and moisture, making them perfect for vegetables and delicate proteins. They provide a healthy cooking method that enhances food’s natural flavors.

  • Specialized Roasting Ovens: Specifically designed for roasting meats, such as ducks and pigs, these ovens often feature high heat and hooks for hanging meats, a technique common in Chinese cuisine to achieve crispy skin and tender meat.

2. Gas or Electric Grill

The choice between a gas or electric grill will depend on your specific needs and the dishes you plan to serve. Gas grills offer quick heat-up times and precise temperature control, making them a favorite for chefs who prioritize speed and adjustability. On the other hand, electric grills provide even heat distribution and are generally easier to clean and maintain. 

If you specialize in Korean BBQ, consider installing tabletop grills, either gas or charcoal, at each table to provide a unique and interactive dining experience. Alternatively, if your focus is Japanese-style cuisine, Robata grills are perfect for charcoal grilling, infusing dishes with a distinctive smoky flavor.


3. Ranges and Ventilation

There are two types of ranges commonly used in restaurants: gas ranges and electric ranges.

Gas Ranges


  • Live flames for superior speed and temperature control allow quick searing and stir-frying.

  • It can still function during a power outage.


  • Higher fire and gas leak risks.

  • Cleaning can be more challenging due to grates and open burners.

Electric Ranges


  • Consistent heat distribution for even cooking.

  • Easier cleaning with smooth surfaces.


  • Slower heating times compared to gas.

  • Electricity costs can be higher depending on usage.

Wok Ranges

In addition to these two main types, restaurant kitchens often utilize specialized wok ranges. Wok ranges are powerful, high-heat burners specifically designed for stir-frying and other Asian-style cooking. They typically feature:

  • High BTU output: Woks require intense heat for quick searing and even cooking. Wok ranges deliver much higher BTUs (British Thermal Units) than standard stove burners, reaching temperatures ideal for creating restaurant-quality stir-fries.

  • Burner rings: Wok ranges have a specialized burner with a ring-shaped grate that cradles the wok's rounded bottom, maximizing heat distribution and efficiency.

Don't forget about ventilation systems like hoods and exhaust fans, which are crucial for maintaining air quality and keeping the kitchen cool.

4. Griddle

A griddle is a versatile piece of restaurant equipment, perfect for cooking everything from pancakes and eggs to burgers and steaks. Its flat cooking surface allows for even heating and easy flipping, making it a vital tool for breakfast spots and diners. When selecting a griddle, consider the size and heat source (gas or electric) that best fits your menu needs and kitchen space.


5. Deep Fryer

No kitchen is complete without a deep fryer. Whether you’re whipping up fries, chicken, or tempura, a deep fryer is crucial for achieving that perfect, crispy exterior. Consider factors like oil capacity, temperature control, and safety features when choosing your deep fryer to ensure it meets your kitchen’s demand and maintains a safe working environment.

6. Slicers

When it comes to slicers, the choice between manual and electric models largely depends on your restaurant’s volume of food preparation and the precision required. For high-volume operations, a commercial electric slicer can save time and labor, offering consistent slices for a variety of ingredients. 

On the other hand, a manual slicer might be suitable for smaller establishments with lower throughput. The slicer type also matters—consider if you’ll be slicing primarily meats, vegetables, or both, as this will influence the blade size and model you choose.

7. Mixers

The next step in assembling your kitchen is selecting the appropriate mixer, which is vital for any establishment planning to prepare bread, pastries, or dough-based items. The type of mixer you choose should align with your menu’s demands and kitchen space.

Hand Mixers

Ideal for smaller kitchens or those with occasional mixing needs, hand mixers offer flexibility and ease of use. They're perfect for light tasks like whipping creams or mixing batters and can be easily stored away, freeing up valuable counter space.

Countertop Mixers

For kitchens with moderate mixing needs, countertop mixers are a step up in both capacity and power from hand mixers. They can handle various tasks, from dough kneading to blending ingredients, making them a versatile addition. Their compact size allows for easy placement on counters without consuming too much space.

Floor Mixers

If your restaurant requires heavy-duty mixing capabilities, floor mixers are the go-to equipment. Designed for high-volume, intensive tasks such as kneading thick doughs, these mixers stand on the floor and offer the most power and capacity. Their stability and durability make them a valuable asset for busy restaurants with extensive baking or pastry sections.

8. Food Processors

Food processors are versatile tools that every kitchen should have. They can be used for chopping, grinding, pureeing, and more. They also significantly reduce manual prep time and ensure consistency in dishes.

Different types of food processors cater to varying kitchen tasks, so choosing the right one is vital for optimizing your food preparation. Here’s a closer look at some options:

  • Batch Bowl Processors: Ideal for restaurants that prepare large quantities of sauces, dressings, or other mixed ingredients in one go. These processors allow for efficient, consistent results with each use, making them a smart choice for kitchens looking to maintain quality while managing time effectively.

  • Buffalo Choppers: These are heavy-duty processors designed to cut denser foods, such as meats and vegetables, into finer pieces. Their robust construction and powerful engines make them a reliable option for kitchens requiring high-volume food prep without compromising on texture or quality.

  • Continuous Feed Food Processors: For kitchens that need to process large volumes of food without stopping to empty the bowl, continuous feed food processors are a game-changer. They enable a steady flow of ingredients to be sliced, diced, or shredded, significantly increasing efficiency and productivity.

9. Microwave

Beyond reheating, microwaves are essential for rapid cooking and defrosting in a commercial setting. A high-quality microwave can improve your kitchen's functionality by providing a quick and convenient way to prepare certain dishes, making it an indispensable piece of equipment for restaurants.

10. Steam Tables

Maintaining the right temperature for prepared dishes until they’re ready to be served is crucial for any restaurant, making steam tables an essential item on your restaurant equipment list. They not only keep food at safe serving temperatures but also preserve the quality and taste of dishes. 

When choosing steam tables, consider the number of pans it can hold, the adjustability of heat settings, and overall durability. Opting for models with sneeze guards can also be beneficial for buffet-style setups to ensure hygiene and food safety.

11. Commercial Toaster

For restaurants serving breakfast or sandwiches, a commercial toaster is essential. These robust machines can handle a high volume of bread, bagels, and other items, providing evenly toasted results every time. They’re designed for heavy use, ensuring durability and consistency.


12. Freezers and Refrigerators

Choosing the right refrigeration units is critical to preserving the freshness and quality of your ingredients. Options range from spacious walk-in coolers to convenient reach-in models. Restaurants typically use chest freezers, stand-up freezers, and walk-in freezers, each serving different needs. Consider the size of your operation, the amount of storage space required, and energy efficiency when selecting these units.

13. Ice Makers

An often-overlooked hero of the kitchen and bar, the ice maker is crucial for food preparation and beverage service. When choosing an ice maker, consider the volume of ice your restaurant will require daily, the types of ice needed (e.g., cubed, flaked, or nugget), and the space available in your kitchen. Energy efficiency and ease of maintenance should also be on top of mind to keep operating costs in check.

14. Coffee Maker

No restaurant is complete without a coffee maker, whether you’re running a café or a fine dining establishment. A reliable coffee maker can enhance customer experience by providing freshly brewed coffee throughout the day. When selecting a coffee maker, consider the volume of coffee you expect to serve and the types of coffee drinks you plan to offer. This will ensure you have the capacity and functionality to meet your customers’ needs.


15. Blenders

Blenders are versatile kitchen tools, essential for making smoothies, sauces, soups, and more. The key is to choose a heavy-duty blender that can handle continuous use without overheating. Look for models with variable speed controls and durable, stainless-steel blades to ensure your blender can keep up with your restaurant’s demands.

16. Rice Cookers and Warmers

Especially vital for restaurants specializing in Asian cuisine, rice cookers and warmers are indispensable for preparing perfect sushi rice and other rice-based dishes. These devices streamline the cooking process and ensure that rice remains at an ideal serving temperature throughout service. Look for models with non-stick interiors and programmable settings to enhance efficiency and consistency in your rice dishes.

17. Induction or Gas Burners

For restaurants offering a hotpot experience, installing induction or gas burners at each table is a must. This not only enhances the dining experience by allowing guests to cook their meals to their liking but also adds an interactive element to the meal. When selecting burners, consider safety features, ease of cleaning, and energy efficiency to ensure a seamless and enjoyable hotpot experience for your guests.

18. Divided Hot Pot Cookers

Ideal for offering diners a variety of broth choices at one table, divided hot pot cookers are essential for restaurants specializing in hot pot cuisine. These cookers allow guests to enjoy different flavors simultaneously, enhancing their dining experience. They are also designed for efficiency and safety, with features that ensure even heating and prevent spills or burns.

19. Noodle Boilers

A staple in any kitchen offering ramen, udon, or other noodle dishes, noodle boilers are engineered for precision and speed. They enable the quick cooking of noodles to the perfect texture, which is crucial for the overall quality of these dishes. With adjustable settings, they cater to different noodle types and preferences, ensuring that every bowl served is as delicious as it is authentic.

20. Steamers

Steamers play a crucial role in kitchens that prioritize healthy and flavorful dishes. They are used for various tasks, from steaming vegetables to cooking dumplings and seafood. Steam cooking preserves nutrients and enhances natural flavors, making it a preferred method for preparing many dishes. High-quality steamers ensure uniform cooking and can handle the demands of a busy restaurant kitchen.

21. Food Prep Counters and Cutting Boards

The foundation of food preparation starts with adequate space. High-quality food prep counters and cutting boards offer a clean, safe surface for food handling. Materials like stainless steel for counters and non-porous, easy-to-sanitize materials for cutting boards are preferred to meet health standards and durability requirements.

22. Sharpening Stones

Keeping knives sharp is non-negotiable in a professional kitchen. Sharpening stones are key to maintaining the efficiency and precision of your cutting tools. When choosing sharpening stones, consider the grit size – a coarser grit for sharpening dull knives and a finer grit for honing. The type of stones, such as oil, water, or diamond, also plays a role depending on your preference and the knives you use.

Regular use of high-quality sharpening stones extends the life of knives and ensures clean cuts, which are crucial for presentation and preparation standards.

23. Cleavers/ Chef Knives

A chef’s arsenal is incomplete without high-quality cleavers and chef knives. These tools are essential for precisely cutting, chopping, and slicing ingredients. Investing in durable, sharp knives enhances kitchen efficiency and ensures your staff’s safety. Consider the variety of tasks your kitchen will perform when selecting these items, as different blades are suited for different types of cuts.

24. Storage Containers

Proper storage is key to maintaining the freshness and quality of your ingredients. Invest in a variety of storage containers, preferably those that are airtight and made from food-grade materials. This not only helps in organizing your ingredients for easy access but also plays a crucial role in food safety and waste reduction.

25. Storage Racks and Shelves

Maximizing kitchen space while keeping it organized demands the right storage racks and shelving. Look for durable materials that can withstand heavy use, adjustable shelves for flexibility, and consider the overall dimensions to ensure they fit in your kitchen layout. Effective storage solutions like these are crucial in maintaining a clutter-free and efficient workspace.

26. Restaurant Cooking Tools

High-quality cookware is fundamental to any kitchen’s operation. This category includes pots, pans, baking sheets, and specialized utensils designed for commercial use. Durability, heat distribution, and ease of cleaning are critical factors to consider. The right cookware will allow your team to prepare a variety of dishes efficiently and consistently.

27. Serving Ware and Cutlery

First impressions last, and your serving ware and cutlery are often the first tangible interaction your guests have with your restaurant. Here's a breakdown of the essential serving ware to consider:

  • Dishware: This includes plates of various sizes for appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Consider rimmed plates for saucier dishes and flat plates for drier ones. Material choices range from classic ceramic to durable stoneware.

  • Glassware: Offer a selection of glasses for water, wine (red and white), and other beverages you serve. Consider the shape and size to enhance the specific drink's aroma and taste.

  • Flatware: This refers to the utensils used for eating, including forks, spoons, and knives. Choose a comfortable weight and size for easy handling. Stainless steel is a popular choice for its durability, but you can explore other materials to complement your restaurant's style.

  • Dinnerware Accessories: These are additional serving pieces that complement your dishware. Examples include serving platters, bowls for condiments, gravy boats, and creamers. Choose pieces that match your dishware design and cater to the type of food you serve.

  • Displayware: This elevates the presentation of food. It can include cake stands, tiered risers, or decorative platters used to showcase appetizers or desserts.

  • Linens: Tablecloths and napkins complete the tablescape and contribute to the overall ambiance. Fabric choices like cotton or linen offer breathability and a touch of elegance while being washable for daily use.

Choose materials and designs that reflect your restaurant’s theme and can withstand the rigors of daily use and washing.

28. Sinks

The sink is a fundamental piece of any kitchen, and choosing the right one is more complex than it might seem at first glance. Various types of sinks serve different purposes in a restaurant kitchen, including:

  • Compartment sinks for washing, rinsing, and sanitizing dishes

  • Bar sinks to facilitate the bar area's operations

  • Handwashing sinks to maintain hygiene standards

  • Drop-in units for ease of installation in various locations

  • Disposal sinks to handle waste more efficiently

  • Mop sinks for cleaning purposes

  • Portable sinks for flexible use in different settings

When selecting sinks, consider the size of your operation, the layout of your kitchen, and local health codes.

29. Washing Equipment

Keeping your restaurant clean is just as important as serving delicious food. Ensure you have the following washing and cleaning supplies on hand:

  • Griddle brushes to keep your cooking surfaces clean

  • Brooms for sweeping floors

  • Absorbent hand towels for quick cleanups

  • Mops for thorough floor cleaning

  • Sponges and rags for wiping down surfaces

  • Commercial-grade cleaning products/solutions to ensure sanitation

This will help maintain a clean and hygienic kitchen, which is critical for the success of any restaurant.

30. Safety Equipment

Safety should always be a top priority in your kitchen. Accidents can happen in any busy kitchen, so being prepared is non-negotiable. Start by equipping your kitchen with the necessary safety equipment. This includes reliable fire extinguishers tailored to kitchen fires, comprehensive first-aid kits for unexpected accidents, and non-slip floor mats to prevent slips and falls. 

Moreover, it’s essential to adhere to local regulations by ensuring your kitchen is up to fire code standards and equipped with safety mirrors at blind spots. Don’t forget the importance of personal protective equipment like aprons, oven mitts, goggles, and hair nets to protect your staff from common kitchen hazards. Also, consider installing security cameras to monitor and enhance the safety of your workplace.

31. Kitchen Display System (KDS)

Integrating technology into the kitchen, such as a Kitchen Display System, streamlines operations by displaying orders electronically, eliminating the need for paper tickets. This system enhances communication between the kitchen and front of the house, improves order accuracy, and reduces wait times, leading to a smoother dining experience for your customers.

All-in one Hardware

32. Restaurant Point of Sale System (POS)

Identified as one of the most essential restaurant technology equipment, a robust Point of Sale (POS) system streamlines operations from order taking to billing. It acts as the operational hub, integrating various aspects of restaurant management for smoother service delivery.

When considering a POS, evaluate your needs by asking the following:

Selecting the right POS system is about finding the perfect balance between functionality and ease of use, ensuring it complements your operational flow rather than complicating it.

How to Source Your Restaurant Equipment

Procuring the right equipment is as important as selecting the items themselves. Here are the best practices for acquiring the commercial restaurant equipment you need:

  1. Research Reputable Suppliers: Begin by identifying suppliers known for their quality restaurant equipment supplies. Look for vendors with positive reviews, a wide selection of products, and excellent customer service.

  2. Compare Options: Don’t settle for the first option you come across. Compare different models, prices, and features to ensure you get the best value for your investment. Pay attention to warranties and service agreements.

  3. Consider Used Equipment: For items that don’t necessarily need to be new (like tables, chairs, or even some kitchen equipment), consider buying restaurant equipment in good condition. This can significantly reduce your initial investment without compromising on quality.

  4. Attend Trade Shows: Trade shows are excellent opportunities to see the latest in restaurant equipment, compare different products side-by-side, and network with suppliers and manufacturers.

  5. Online Marketplaces and Auctions: Online platforms can offer competitive prices and a broad range of products. Be cautious and ensure the equipment is from a reputable seller and in good working condition.

Leasing vs. Renting Restaurant Equipment

For many starting or operating in limited spaces like ghost kitchens, acquiring kitchen equipment might not always mean purchasing. Leasing or renting can offer flexibility and financial relief, especially in the early stages of your business. 

Leasing can be a cost-effective way to obtain high-end commercial restaurant equipment without the upfront costs, while renting can offer even more flexibility, particularly for seasonal operations or testing new concepts. Weigh the pros and cons of each option to determine what best suits your restaurant's needs and budget.

What to Consider Before Purchasing Your Kitchen Tools and Equipment

Before investing in equipment for your restaurant, consider several key factors:

  1. Kitchen Layout: Ensure that the equipment fits well in your kitchen, allowing for efficient flow and adherence to safety regulations.

  2. Your Menu: Tailor your equipment list to your menu's specific needs. Specialty dishes may require specific tools or appliances.

  3. Energy Efficiency: Opting for energy-efficient models can significantly reduce operating costs over time.

  4. Warranty and Service: Look for products with solid warranties and reliable customer service to safeguard your investment.

Considering these factors will protect your investment and lay a solid foundation for your restaurant’s success.


Equipping your restaurant kitchen is a significant undertaking that influences every aspect of your operation, from food quality to service speed. By carefully selecting and sourcing the right restaurant equipment, you can ensure the efficiency, safety, and success of your kitchen’s daily operations. This comprehensive guide gives you the knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions, setting the foundation for your restaurant’s enduring success.

At Chowbus POS, we understand the challenges of running a restaurant. That’s why we’ve developed an all-in-one restaurant point-of-sale system designed to streamline your operations and boost your revenue.

Our technology can help you save over $8,000 in monthly labor costs and propel your business growth by 25%. Equip your kitchen with the right tools and pair them with our state-of-the-art technology. Contact us today for a free demo/consultation and take the first step towards refining your restaurant’s operations!

Frequently Asked Questions About Restaurant Equipment

Here, we address some of the most common questions regarding commercial food service, front-of-house (FOH) essentials, commercial-grade kitchen tools, and the importance of NSF certification.

What is Commercial Food Service Equipment?

Commercial food service equipment encompasses a wide range of machines and tools designed for use in the preparation, cooking, storage, and serving of food in professional settings such as restaurants, cafeterias, and catering operations. This includes ovens, stoves, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, and specialized cooking devices, all built to meet the high volume, durability, and safety standards of the food industry.

What is Front of House Equipment?

Front-of-house equipment refers to all the tools and appliances used in the customer-facing areas of businesses such as restaurants, cafes, and bars. This includes dining tables, chairs, digital menu boards, serving ware, and point-of-sale systems, all designed to enhance the customer experience and streamline service operations.

What is Commercial Grade Kitchen Equipment?

Commercial-grade kitchen equipment refers to high-quality, durable appliances and tools designed for frequent use in restaurants, hotels, and other food service establishments. Unlike residential kitchen gear, these items prioritize efficiency, reliability, and capacity to meet the demands of professional kitchens.

Does Restaurant Equipment Have to Be NSF Certified?

Yes, restaurant equipment typically must be NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) certified to ensure it meets strict standards for public health protection. This certification indicates the equipment has passed rigorous cleanliness, durability, and safe food handling tests. Compliance varies by location, so check local regulations.

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