The Complete Guide to Commercial Kitchen Equipment

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Whether you’re starting a new commercial kitchen or ghost kitchen, or you’re looking to upgrade your current kitchen equipment, if you’re looking to learn more about the ins and outs of commercial kitchen equipment — including what’s necessary and how to choose — we’re here to help.

At GoFoodservice, we have been providing restaurateurs and foodservice professionals with the best-quality restaurant equipment since 2004, and we don’t intend to stop anytime soon! That said, here’s what you need to know when it comes to purchasing or upgrading your commercial kitchen equipment.

What Equipment is Essential in a Commercial Kitchen?

As we noted in our blog posts “The Ultimate Commercial Kitchen Equipment Checklist” and “How to Set up a Small Commercial Kitchen in 3 Easy Steps”, there are various equipment categories that are essential for any commercial kitchen, large or small.

We’ve combined the main categories of essentials found in each blog post in the below commercial kitchen equipment list for the sake of convenience:

  • Storage Equipment, Refrigeration, & Food Warming Equipment: Keep shelf-stable food organized and ready for use. Store all temperature-sensitive food in a commercial refrigerator, be it a walk-in unit, reach-in unit, open refrigeration unit, or glass-door unit. Keep hot items hot with food holding and warming equipment.
  • Food Prep Equipment, Cooking Equipment, & Appliances: From knives to mandolins to food prep tables, there are plenty of food preparation items a commercial kitchen needs to operate. Cooking equipment is also, of course, a must-have. Consider what type of food you’ll be serving when purchasing cooking equipment. If you’re opening a burger joint, you may need a flat-top griddle. If you’re opening a fine dining restaurant, you’ll probably need an oven and gas or induction range as well as a commercial sous vide machine. There are a number of other appliances you may need, from food processors and mixers to bain marie trays for buffet-style serving, and much more.
  • Sinks & Dishwashers: From traditional double-sinks to quick commercial conveyor-style dishwashers and under-counter bar dishwashers, no commercial kitchen is complete without at least one sink and dishwasher.
  • Flatware, Dishes, & Linens, and Serveware: Without serveware, flatware, dishes, and napkins, your restaurant cannot serve customers.
  • Sanitation Equipment: Maintaining a sanitary environment is absolutely critical for commercial kitchens to remain operational.
  • Commercial Ice Makers: Keep refreshments and cocktails cold for your customers with commercial ice makers.
  • Safety Equipment: From fire extinguishers to burn kits, you must maintain an adequate collection of restaurant safety equipment.
  • POS Systems & Restaurant Technology: Using restaurant technologies like POS systems and restaurant management software will give your restaurant the capability to process different types of payments, track inventory, and make better business decisions.

What Are The Four Major Systems in a Commercial Kitchen?

Overwhelmed by all the equipment you’ll need for your new restaurant venture? It may help to group equipment into these four major categories, or “systems”:

  1. Food Preparation System
  2. Cooking System
  3. Refrigeration System
  4. Service System

What is the Most Important Piece of Equipment in a Commercial Kitchen?

Commercial kitchens are complex systems that demand a variety of equipment types and specific pieces, not only from a practical point of view, but also from a legal standpoint. What’s more, operating seamlessly is just as dependent upon how your staff uses the equipment available to them. In other words, you might have the best equipment, but without training your staff on how to use it, the quality of your restaurant’s food will suffer.

Therefore asking what the most important piece of equipment is misses the larger point that restaurants require many different equipment pieces working together as a cohesive whole, operated by a well-trained, talented team of culinary professionals.

That said, here are some of the most important pieces of commercial kitchen equipment:

  • A combination range/oven
  • Refrigeration system
  • Food preparation tools and zones
  • Serveware and service system

How to Choose the Right Commercial Kitchen Equipment

Consider the following when choosing between various pieces of commercial kitchen equipment for sale:

  1. Menu and Cuisine: The type of cuisine you serve may heavily influence the type of prep equipment and appliances you need. For instance, if you’re a pizza bar, you may need a dedicated pizza oven and food-warming trays. If, on the other hand, you’re a diner, you may require griddles for serving up fried eggs, hash browns, and smashburgers.
  2. Kitchen Space and Layout: The amount of space your kitchen has will influence the appliances you can fit inside. This is why measuring is important. Don’t forget to measure doorways and openings to ensure appliances fit in them too, before ordering.
  3. Restaurant Capacity and Throughput: The number of customers you expect to serve can have an influence on the type of equipment you need and the type of cooking methods you use.
  4. Sustainability, Certification, and Energy Efficiency: From UL-approved and NSF-approved appliances to energy-star-rated appliances, there are a wide range of certifications to consider when choosing kitchen appliances and equipment.
  5. Durability: Traditionally, restaurants have invested in the best, longest-lasting equipment. However, some restaurants are now financing cheaper equipment with a shorter anticipated life expectancy to cut initial costs.
  6. Budget : Budget is often the deciding factor when choosing between different pieces of equipment for a commercial kitchen.

It may be helpful to break down the process for choosing into four stages:

  1. Create & Stick to a Budget
  2. Measure Your Space
  3. Choose Commercial Grade Appliances From a Dedicated Commercial Kitchen Equipment Supplier
  4. Arrange Financing

Be Prepared: Get the Restaurant Kitchen Equipment You Need Today

Looking to outfit your restaurant with the right commercial restaurant equipment

At GoFoodservice, we’re more than just a premier commercial kitchen equipment supplier. We aim to be your restaurant startup partner!

We are more than happy to guide you through the process of choosing restaurant equipment, keeping your needs and business model in mind. 


  1. comment authorkollargol Mar 15, 2018

    CFS, thank you for your blog post. Really thank you! Awesome.

    comment authorGoFoodservice Invalid Date

    Thanks for stopping by and for the positive feedback!

  2. comment authorLarry Weaver May 2, 2018

    Thanks for explaining how Energy Star qualified appliances can save you a lot of energy. My brother is looking to start up a restaurant and is trying to figure out how he wants to lay out his kitchen. I'll be sure to let him know about the advantages of financing quality appliances.

  3. comment authoredward Jun 26, 2018

    Great post. It is very informative. Thank you for the sharing. Keep more like this.

  4. comment authorMoni Brown Aug 30, 2018

    I appreciate. This is an amazing restaurant guide for Commercial kitchen equipment. This blog very helpful for everyone. Thank you for, sharing with us.

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