Rice is a food that, in America at least, usually takes something of a backseat to whatever other foods it's paired with. It fills space in a dish that might otherwise look a bit small or less exciting. Still, side dish or not, rice is a surprisingly important part of a meal, and if your collection of restaurant equipment doesn't include a commercial rice cooker, you're missing out on a golden opportunity.
The biggest drawing point of having rice cookers is that rice is a simple but time-consuming dish to make. In order to make it properly, you have to monitor it and carefully measure amounts, plus, once it's done cooking, you either have to serve it or watch it grow cold. With a rice cooker you simply have to measure the water and rice, then let the machine do its own work. This frees up space on your commercial range for other items, which will improve cooking times.
You can cook more than just rice with a commercial rice cooker and come up with ample crowd-pleasing dishes very simply.
Consider adding sauteed sausage, onions and peppers to a rice cooker with some Cajun spices, uncooked rice, and water. When the rice is fully cooked and the items are all mixed together, leave the cooker on a low temperature and add some tomato sauce to make jambalaya.
Add uncooked crab meat while the rice is cooking with some butter and old bay seasoning to get a sort of crab risotto.
Rice doesn't have to be the only item the rice cooker is used for, either. You can slow cook nearly anything to create unique dishes, like a vinegared, shredded cabbage or easy polenta. Slowly roast meat in the cooker to gather the juices, or utilize the space a rice cooker gives you to make large amounts of stock without taking up cooking space, ensuring you always have a fresh supply.
The possibilities are limitless, and the only required equipment is a simple commercial rice cooker. Whether used for rice or not, no kitchen is complete without one.