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The Ultimate Restaurant Kitchen Checklist

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By: Thelma Collado
Apr 15, 2021 • 6 min read

The Ultimate Restaurant Kitchen Checklist – Here’s Everything You’ll Need! 

When embarking on your restaurant ownership journey, you’ll realize that a good chunk of your expenses will be spent on buying the proper equipment needed to start and maintain your business. With such an array of items at your disclosure, ranging from all sorts of prices, it can be time-consuming and overwhelming to figure out what you’ll need. In this blog, we will share a complete checklist of everything you’ll need to fully stock your restaurant kitchen, without breaking the bank.

Plan Out Your Menu

Buying supplies for your kitchen isn’t cheap, so you will only want to buy the items you’ll actually need and will be using frequently. One way to avoid buying any unnecessary items is to plan out your menu. 

Your menu will be able to tell you the items that you need, the ones you don’t, and the ones that will help you get things done faster and easier. It’s important that your menu is thoroughly thought through and planned out because any last-minute changes can result in money being unnecessarily spent on your end.

people eating inside of cafeteria during daytime

Work With the Right Retailer

You’re investing a large amount of money into your kitchen, so it’s no surprise that you want to make sure you’re doing business with the right person. You may not feel comfortable with the first retailer you meet with, and that’s completely fine! Take a moment to find someone who you’re comfortable with, who prioritizes your needs, and wants to help you out through the whole ordeal. This can prove to be a stressful situation, but with the right retailer, it can go by smoothly. 

Not only that, you want to make sure you’re working with someone who is actively looking out to assist you, not someone who only wants to make money off of you. Having a good relationship with your retailer can be helpful for any future meet-ups or provide you with good deals when you decide to buy from them. 

Consider The Cost of Your Restaurant Kitchen

Before you even consider buying any appliances or supplies, plan out a budget first; it’s important to know how much you can afford to spend. Meeting up with a supplier can help you figure out the appliances and supplies you will need for your kitchen and can provide you with an estimate of all the costs. If you find that you’re not satisfied with the prices presented by the supplier, there are others that you can talk to and compare prices with once you’ve viewed all your options.

While your first choice may be to buy yourself brand-new appliances, it can unnecessarily take out a large chunk of your budget. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all your items should be used, as they aren’t covered by warranty, and some can prove to be problematic. When it comes to deciding what supplies you should buy brand-new, appliances such as ovens, ranges, dishwashers, and the like are recommended. Any peelers, rubber or silicone items or cutting boards are also best if bought new. 

When it comes to buying used items, most items can be purchased. One thing to make sure of is if they’re kept in good condition, which varies from seller to seller. 

person slicing cherry tomatoes

Check Out the Warranties

Buying supplies and appliances for your kitchen can result in spending up to thousands of dollars, so checking out the fine print and making sure that your appliances are covered by warranty is essential. Warranties can help guarantee repairs or replacements within a certain amount of time, and being aware of what items are covered and which aren’t can save you a lot of trouble in the future. 

Not every item has the same warranty, so it’s important to check with each one. Speaking with the company and learning about extended warranties or other service programs can be helpful depending on your own needs. There are certain actions that can void the warranty, as well as the maintenance that has to be done regularly in order to keep your appliance working properly, so make sure to do your research beforehand. 

Measure Out Your Space

When buying large appliances that are bound to take up space, it’s important to measure out the space of your kitchen and plan out how you’re going to use your space. Buying an item, only to have to return it because it won’t fit in your kitchen, is both costly and time-consuming. 

Not only is it important to make sure that your appliances can fit within your space, but the way that you choose to organize your space can help things get done more easily. One important key is figuring out how to manage traffic flow within your kitchen. Where you decide to place your appliances can either make them accessible to your employees or inaccessible if placed in an uncomfortable corner. Landing space near your appliances is another important factor, as that space provides an area to put down your items and ingredients while handling your appliance.

Figuring out where your electrical outlets are located is important, especially if your kitchen requires several countertop appliances. Being able to access your space in an easy and convenient manner can also make cleaning up easier since there will be fewer tricky corners to worry about.

Make Stylistic Choices

When designing your kitchen, it’s important that you’re aware of the look that you’re going for and that it’s on-brand with your restaurant. Whether it means having your kitchen appliances match or buying tableware that follows a certain theme or design, it can add to the ambiance of your restaurant and will be appreciated by your patrons.

After all, a restaurant is more than just the food they’re serving. They’re providing customers with a certain experience, and having the right supplies can either make or break that.

person holding stainless steel round tray with food

Think Long-Term When Designing Your Restaurant Kitchen

Utility costs come with every appliance, whether it’s in the form of energy usage, water usage, maintenance, repairs, or any other variables that need to be accounted for, it will cost you to keep these appliances up and running for years. When buying, consider items that are energy-efficient or those that might cost a bit more upfront, but end up lasting longer than their competitors. Make sure that you do thorough research and that the appliance you buy will be worth the cost. Taking the time to figure out what appliance works best for your needs can end up saving you money in the future. 

Cleaning Supplies

These are supplies needed in order to maintain your equipment clean, as well as the overall state of your kitchen.

  • Cleaning Rags
  • Cleaning Buckets
  • Sanitizer Dispensers
  • Gloves
  • Hand Brushes
  • Towels
  • Griddle Cleaning Pads
  • Squirt Bottles
  • Scrub Sponges
  • Mops
  • Mop Buckets
  • Push Broom
  • Paper Towel Rolls
  • Dish Detergent
  • Degreasers
  • Delimers
  • Bleach
  • Cleaners
  • Stain Removers
  • Oven Brushes
  • Griddle Screen Scour Pads
  • Surface Sanitizing Chemicals
  • Spill Absorbents
  • Disinfectants
  • Hoses
  • Grease Traps
  • Trash Bags
  • Trash Bins
  • Aprons
  • Hair Nets

Washing Equipment

These are supplies needed in order to clean any tableware, keeping your hands hygienic, and to prevent cross-contamination.

  • Utility Sink
  • Handwashing Station
  • Dishwashers
  • Dish Racks
  • Food Prep Sinks
  • Scrub Sponges
  • Paper Towel Rolls
  • Hand Soap
  • Dishwashing Gloves

restaurant kitchen

Tableware

These are supplies needed and used to set a table, serve food, and dining.

  • Entrée plates
  • Salad Plates
  • Appetizer Plates
  • Dessert Plates
  • Dinner Plate
  • Saucers
  • Tea cups
  • Sugar packet holder
  • Creamer
  • Cups
  • Breakfast plates
  • Dinner Bowls
  • Fruit Bowls
  • Pasta Bowls
  • Soup Bowls
  • Salad Bowls
  • Serving Bowls
  • Sauce cups
  • Plate covers
  • Serving Platters
  • Bread Plates
  • Trays
  • Fry Pan Servers
  • Fajita Skillets
  • Mini Cast Iron
  • Casserole Dishes
  • Souffle Dishes
  • Gratin Dishes
  • Salsa, Chip, or Tortilla Servers
  • Serving Boards
  • Specialty Plates
  • Water Glasses
  • Wine Glasses
  • Gravy Boats

Cooking Tools and Food Prep

These are supplies used to prepare ingredients and dishes.

  • Pots
  • Sauté Pans
  • Sheet Pans
  • Baking Sheet Pans
  • Whisks
  • Ladles
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Squeeze bottles
  • Knives
  • Tongs
  • Spatulas
  • Stockpots
  • Saucepans
  • Bakings Pans
  • Pizza Paddle
  • Can Openers
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Colanders
  • Vegetable Peelers
  • Potato Mashers
  • Salad Spinners
  • Graters
  • Shears
  • Citrus Juicer
  • Paring Knife
  • Bread Knife
  • Sharpening Rod
  • Skillets
  • Grill Pans
  • Broiler Pans
  • Casserole Dish
  • Oven Mitts
  • Splatter Guards
  • Trivets
  • Thermometers
  • Blenders
  • Kitchen Scale
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Parchment Paper
  • Ice Cube Trays
  • Steam Table
  • Microwave
  • Kettle Cookers
  • Coffee Machine
  • Warming Equipment
  • Toaster
  • Coffee and Spice Grinders
  • Cutting Board
  • Flippers

restaurant kitchen

Ovens

These are appliances that are made for heating and roasting. There are two types: gas and electric.

  • Standard Oven
  • Convection Oven
  • Combi Oven
  • Conveyor Oven
  • Cook-and-Hold Oven
  • Deck Oven
  • Rotisserie Oven
  • Steam Oven

Ranges: These appliances combine the uses of a stove and an oven.

  • Gas ranges
  • Electric ranges

Prep Tables

A table used to assemble and prepare different ingredients and dishes.

  • Prep Counters
  • Cutting Boards
  • Refrigerated Prep Tables

Freezers

Appliances that keep foods or drinks frozen.

  • Blast Chiller
  • Ice Cream Cabinets
  • Commercial Chest Freezers

Refrigerators

Appliances that help keep food and drinks cool.

  • Merchandising Refrigerators
  • Restaurant Bar Refrigerators
  • Reach-In Refrigerators
  • Under-Counter Refrigerators

restaurant kitchen

Coolers

Appliances that serve as insulated boxes to keep food and drinks cool.

  • Walk-In cooler
  • Reach-In cooler

Ice Machines

Machines that produce batches of ice.

  • Ice Machine Head
  • Undercounter Ice Machines
  • Countertop Ice Dispensers
  • Combination Ice Water Machines

Fryers

Appliances that fry food.

  • Countertop Deep Fryers
  • Ventless Deep Fryers
  • Floor Deep Fryers
  • Pressure Fryer
  • Open Fryer
  • Air Fryer

Food Processors

Appliances that can perform different food prep tasks.

  • Continuous feed food processor
  • Batch bowl processors

Mixers

Appliances used to mix and grind different ingredients.

  • Countertop mixers
  • Hand mixers
  • Floor mixers
  • Dough Mixers
  • Planetary Mixer
  • Vertical Cutter Mixer

restaurant kitchen

Storage and Shelves

Appliances needed in order to store or shelf items.

  • Kitchen Shelves
  • Racks
  • Air Drying Racks
  • Utility Carts
  • Open-Wire Shelving
  • Pass-Thru Shelves
  • Wall Units
  • Pot Racks
  • Covers
  • Labeling Supplies
  • Storage Containers
  • Epoxy Shelving
  • Cam Shelving
  • Dunnage Racks
  • Keg Shelves

Slicers

Appliances used to slice and cut different types of ingredients.

  • All-Purpose Slicers
  • Wedgers / Corers
  • Mandolines
  • Lettuce Cutters
  • Onion Cutters
  • Tomato Slicers
  • Wall Mounted
  • Countertop

Safety Equipment

Equipment needed in case of emergencies.

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Wet Floor Signs
  • Slip-Resistant Mats
  • First Aid Kit
  • Cut-Resistant Gloves
  • Food Health Safety Kits
  • Emergency Lights

There you have it! This is a complete list of items you will need to get your restaurant kitchen off to a great start. Do you have any small business tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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