How to Open A Restaurant: The Complete Restaurant Equipment Checklist

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You’ve worked hard to hone your cooking skills and now it’s time to open a restaurant and bring your recipes to the public. This is the dream of many chefs and entrepreneurs.

Before you roll up your sleeves and get to work, you have a lot of preparation to do. Much of this involves outfitting your kitchen.

In order to maintain a successful day-to-day operation, you need the right equipment, which can cost a lot. In fact, kitchen equipment can run anywhere from $75,000 to $115,000, depending on the type of food you’re serving.

However, you can’t cut corners when it comes to food preparation. That’s why we’re going over some restaurant essentials.

Commercial Freezer and Refrigerator

Proper refrigeration is something no restaurant can go without. A commercial refrigerator helps keep food fresh before it’s ready to cook and also provides storage space.

A commercial freezer allows restaurants to receive bulk inventories and store food for extended periods of time until use. Freezers and refrigerators also play a big role in food safety.

Fortunately, there are a number of different options on the market. If you have a small operation, you can spend less money by using smaller units. 

However, if you plan on storing a high volume of meats and other frozen foods, consider a walk-in model. Make sure you read more about choosing the right unit and having it installed.

Ice Machine

Most people don’t think of ice machines as essential restaurant equipment. However, they come in handy for a number of things.

If you plan on serving beverages, an ice machine is imperative. You’ll definitely need one if you make smoothies, shakes, or alcoholic drinks.

You can use ice when storing foods shortly before preparation. It’s also useful for keeping cold items like desserts cool until they’re served.

Depending on your operation, you may need a machine that makes and stores a large quantity of ice. Or, consider a dispenser if you only plan on using ice for beverages.

Commercial Oven

Unless you plan on opening an ice cream parlor, there’s a good chance you’ll need a high-quality oven in your kitchen. The type of oven you use has a direct impact on the quality of your food, so don’t make this decision in haste.

A conveyor oven is perfect if you plan on making pizzas. These allow the food to pass through the oven as it cooks.

If your restaurant will serve different meats, look into buying a rotisserie oven. This type of oven spins the food so it cooks evenly.

For baked foods, either a standard or convection oven will work best. Standard ovens are used for all types of food preparation. Convection models ensure air circulates through the inside while cooking takes place.


If you’re opening a bakery or restaurant that will serve baked goods, you can’t go without a commercial mixer.

When thinking about the mixer you need, volume and type of food come into play. If operating a bakery, you’ll need one or more large mixers.

Spiral mixers have the ability to mix at high speeds and can handle dense material without issues. This style is better for making dough.

If you won’t need to make dough, a planetary mixer should suit your needs. While not as fast as spiral mixers, these are versatile and useful for mixing a wide range of ingredients.

Stove-Top Range

Most restaurants can’t go without a cooking range. These allow you to fry, boil, sear, and steam foods.

You can opt for an electric or gas range. However, it’s important to keep in mind that gas ranges provide a better cooking experience. If you want to up your cooking game and keep your customers coming back, use one of these.

An electric range doesn’t provide the same level of cooking quality, but they’re much easier to clean. They’re also more energy efficient. Opt for one of these if you only need limited stove-top use.

There are plenty of options when shopping for ranges. Some come with burners and a griddle for things like eggs or hamburgers. You can also find small ranges if space is an issue in your kitchen.

Sink and Dishwasher

A full-service restaurant can’t function without a proper sink and dishwasher. In fact, many health departments require restaurants to have a three-sink station and a commercial dishwasher.

Stainless steel sinks help your staff rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. These sinks can also serve as a hand-washing station.

A commercial dishwasher uses a combination of super-heated water and high-volume jets to ensure dishes get cleaned and sanitized. They’re fast and easy to use so your staff doesn’t ever have to worry about a lack of clean dishes.

Like most restaurant equipment, you can find sinks and dishwashers in a variety of sizes. If you have the room, opt for sizable models that can accommodate lots of dirty dishes and cooking equipment.

Food Processors

When it comes to meal prep, food processors are huge time-savers. Instead of chopping larger amounts of food, chefs can throw everything into a processor and streamline the process.

The great thing about these gadgets is there are a number of different styles for different uses. They’re also easy to use.

A continuous feed model allows you to add food to the processor as it runs. It then separates the mixed food into another container.

If you need to process large heavy-duty items, opt for a buffalo chopper. These are made of metal and can handle everything from raw vegetables to meats. They’re a little bulkier, but they get the job done.

The great thing about food processors is most models allow you to detach the bowl. You can then pop it right into the refrigerator until you need the food.

Outfit Your Kitchen and Open a Restaurant in No Time

Getting your restaurant up and running is an exciting career move. Make sure you take the right steps so you can enjoy continued growth.

Keep this list of kitchen essentials in mind when outfitting your business. Then, open a restaurant you can be proud of.

Check out more articles for business advice and information.