The Essential Equipment For Your Commercial Kitchen in 2021

The Essential Equipment For Your Commercial Kitchen in 2021

Some very interesting restaurant statistics, just for you.

Did you know that in the USA …


When opening a restaurant, you are not only opening a business, you are also creating a unique space where you can give your patrons a great experience. You need fantastic service, exciting food, state-of-the-art design, but most importantly you have the responsibility of providing a safe environment for your diners with regards to food safety and cross-contamination.

Choosing the right design plan and layout for your kitchen is probably a problem that many entrepreneurs have when starting a new restaurant business. It is also the biggest investment any restaurant owner /any restaurant owner can make.

Unfortunately, or fortunately for some, the vast majority of patrons will never set foot in your kitchen.

Of course, you know how to cook, you’re a chef or a restaurant owner, aren’t you? You’ve hit the big time and want to start your own restaurant.

Yes, and you know a few things about kitchen appliances. Great!

You also want to design your own commercial kitchen or you want to renovate and revamp without spending too much money.

Planning is of utmost importance. The key element is to plan your kitchen design effectively.  Place and plan it on blueprint software, if you have, or get an architect or designer to help you with the initial stages. 

Do you know how to design an effective, well-laid-out kitchen?

Basically what the average man on the street knows about commercial kitchens, is what we have seen in action movies. When they start running through silver kitchens shooting guns and toting knives, all the while making lots of noise, simultaneously trying to break all the stainless steel they can find.

Modern Commercial Kitchens

Back in the day, when designing a kitchen, you needed to satisfy the needs of the chef, but times they are a-changing! Not only the chef has a say about a new kitchen. Other aspects need to be taken into consideration as well.

Below, are some tips on how to make your kitchen more environmentally-friendly.

Going Green Commercial Kitchen Tips

Characteristics of a good commercial kitchen

What makes a good commercial kitchen? Generally, you want to have a space that is conducive to the needs of your operation. This is where you will create the dishes that your customers are willing to pay for. So it makes sense that it is an environment that is comfortable for your staff but also one that promotes productivity that will, in turn, create an overall amazing experience for the diners. Check out the graphic below and make sure that your kitchen ticks every single one of the boxes:

When choosing commercial kitchen equipment, remember the following: ALWAYS CHOOSE COMMERCIAL KITCHEN EQUIPMENT.  We are talking about the HEAVY-DUTY solutions specifically and meticulously build to keep up with the challenges and busy pace of your operation and can promise long service life. You want a piece of equipment that can deliver the power you need in an efficient manner. Additionally, you want features that make them easy to use, clean, and maintain. 

An effective commercial kitchen should have the following areas:

The Cleaning Area

We don't have to tell you the importance of maintaining the cleanliness of your kitchen. And with the emergence of COVID-19, customers are paying much closer attention to your cleaning processes. They are looking for transparency and assurance that their safety is your priority when they spend time in your restaurant or even order food out.

Learn the ideal equipment for the cleaning area in the graphic below. In addition, stock up on powerful sanitizers and disinfectants to clean tables, surfaces, and other high-touch points in the common area and the back of the house.

The Storage Area

An often overlooked crucial part of a well-designed kitchen is the storage area. Storage organization directly influences the workflow of your kitchen as well as how you can maximize the space you have available. The area can be split into 3 different storage areas as shown in the graphic below. For more specific tips on how to properly organize your kitchen, we've prepared a comprehensive post.

Cold Storage

As we are dealing with perishables and food safety, refrigerators and freezers are fundamental to any commercial kitchen.

Temperatures to Subzero!

Temperatures should be able to go below freezing for a freezer and ambient temperature for a fridge.  Fridges should include elite extras like air purification systems and a vacuum seal to keep food fresher for longer.  

Waste not, want not.

These great appliances can be undercounter or countertop. These configurations are excellent options if space is a problem for smaller kitchens and restaurants or walk-in but within easy reach of a chef’s island or cooking top.

The range starts from smaller undercounter units right up to walk-in cooler rooms for larger restaurants.  Don’t worry if you think you might not need a larger fridge to start. Invest in a larger one than required, your restaurant business will soon grow into the new fridge.

It is essential that you choose a good quality fridge and freezer that might cost more in the beginning. By choosing a good brand name, you can ensure that your refrigeration needs are taken care of for the period of the warranty. The reason for this is that kitchens are very hot spaces so ensure your refrigeration is effective. The guys at ckitchen.com have an excellent range of fridges, ranging from walk-in to undercounter. They are also extremely talented in kitchen design and can help you at the press of a button.  

How about ice?

Always having plenty of ice on hand is absolutely essential.  Invest in a commercial, heavy-duty ice machine - one that is always ready to provide.  There is an extremely wide variety of ice machines, categorized into three different types of cooling, air-cooled, water-cooled, or remote cooled, depending on your needs and budget.  

If your budget permits, it is essential that any green restaurateur purchases an air-cooled ice maker. They are extremely easy to install and require only fans and vents instead of invasive installations of piping and water lines. They can also easily be moved. A win-win situation in my eyes.

Water-cooled ice machines consume more water than the other two options. This also means they won't add heat to the kitchen during operation, which may be useful if you have poor ventilation or high temperatures in your location.

Remote-cooled ice machines can keep heat as well as noise out of the room because the compressor can be installed at a location separate from the actual unit.

Dry Storage

Dry storage has been put in a greater focus with the rise of the new coronavirus. As a place for dry items including takeout supplies, restaurants with delivery and takeout services are taking more time to find the right placement for maximum efficiency.

This is an area dedicated to a wide variety of items--from dry ingredients to disposable containers, and even cleaning items. Ideally, the dry storage area should be located close to the locations where items will be used. For example, shelves should be close to the door for waiters to quickly drop off dirty dishes and for chefs to find clean dishes quickly.

Some items you will need for dry storage include: 

  • Sealed containers and ingredient bins: For storing dry ingredients such as rice or flour. Can be stacked to take advantage of vertical space. Larger capacity ingredient bins come standard with casters so ingredients can be easily transported wherever it is needed.
  • Shelves: They are available in a range of capacities and styles to suit every storage need. They come with single or multiple tiers, various widths, and are wall-mount, fixed, mobile, or floating. Materials include plastic or steel, which can be wired or solid.
  • High-density shelving kits: Also called track shelving, they are great for maximizing space to create more shelf storage and allow you to store more items in less space
  • Dunnage racks: Large and heavy items like cases can be close to the floor for easy access

Food Preparation  Area

The food preparation area is one of the most important zones in a kitchen. It goes without saying that should be ergonomically designed, i.e. the staff and chef should have everything at their fingertips, without moving about too much.

There are many appliances that you can purchase to equip your food prep area and I have included a list below, depending on the size of your restaurant. There are various types of food preparation tools on the market and they all depend on your chef.  Some chefs prefer to manually prepare some kinds of food. Automatic models are best suited for high-volume kitchens because they use electric power to handle tasks like slicing and dicing.

Remember: Your chef will know exactly which pieces of equipment he or she needs - listen to your chef.

Slicers

Commercial Bread Slicers

  • Slices loaves of bread or bagels into individual slices at uniform thickness for consistent product
  • Choose between countertop and freestanding
  • High-performance units can slice, half, or quarter up to 100 slices per minute

Cheese Cutters and Graters

  • Handheld or electric, freestanding units
  • Handheld box graters and shredders for most types of cheese
  • Electric models specifically for soft cheeses and hard cheeses available 

Commercial Electric Slicers

  • Can slice a large volume of ingredients in a short amount of time
  • Manual, semi-automatic, and automatic electric slicers available
  • Achieve consistent cut size for accurate portions

Commercial Manual Slicers

  • Cuts meats and deli ingredients to desired thickness
  • Flywheel slicers have a beautiful design perfect for front-of-house meat slicing
  • Achieve consistent cut size for accurate portions

Fruit and Vegetable Preparation

Fruit and Vegetable Slicers

  • Depending on the size of your kitchen
  • Units can be used for most vegetables
  • Specialized models for specific ingredients available

Salad and Vegetable Dryers

  • Used to remove excess water from greens 
  • Available in manual and electric-powered versions

Vegetable Peelers

  • Designed for specific types of vegetables
  • Potato peelers, pineapple peelers
  • Available in manual and electric versions
  • Handheld versions allow for peeling one vegetable at a time
  • Automatic models have 20 lbs of vegetables in minutes

Vegetable Cutters

  • For quick and easy slicing, dicing, and cutting
  • Available in manual and electric styles
  • Electric-powered units can cut hundreds of vegetables per hour
  • High-capacity cutters have an hourly capacity of hundreds of pounds

Meat Preparation

Meat and seafood can often be difficult to prepare, but if you have the right, heavy-duty equipment, it could turn into a breeze.

Meat Saws

  • Precise and high-capacity cutting of various types of meats 
  • Feature a large motor-powered (available in a range of sizes) that cuts through bone and thick cuts
  • Electric-powered for high-speed performance
  • Available in countertop and floor model styles

Meat Grinders

  • For mincing meat into fine pieces with excellent texture
  • Comes with different grinding plates with different hole sizes to get desired results
  • Manual units are operated with a crank
  • Electric models have up to several thousand pounds grinding capacity

Meat Tenderizers

  • Softens and add moistures to meats 
  • Enhance the quality of tougher cuts of meat
  • Breaks long strands of muscle and softens the collagen until it turns into gelatin
  • Handheld (manual) models for small cuts and limited use
  • Electric models for quick and high-volume applications

Meat Mixers

  • Used to blend ground meat into ingredients and spices
  • Smaller models generally at 20 lbs capacity; crank-operated for faster operation compared to hand mixing
  • High-capacity units can handle several hundred pounds at a time; use electric power for effortless mixing

Dough Preparation

Make sure your kitchen is properly fitted and prepared for anything that your restaurant throws at it.  

Spiral Dough Mixers

  • Designed specifically for kneading dough
  • Perfect for bakeries and pizzeria
  • Features a rotating bowl to mix dense dough like pizza thoroughly
  • Comes with variable speeds to achieve desired quality and texture of dough for different types of products
  • Available in countertop and floor model styles

Planetary Mixers

  • Versatile mixer that can be used for various ingredients
  • Ideal for commercial restaurants
  • Has a stationary bowl and an agitator that does the mixing
  • Comes with an array of attachments such as paddles, whisks, and flat beaters for mixing batter, icing, and more
  • Available in countertop and floor model styles

Dough Sheeters

  • Flattens the dough in a matter of seconds
  • Single-pass sheeters ideal for making pizza crust
  • Double-pass dough sheeters can produce a thinner product
  • Countertop and floor model styles available


Dough Rounders

  • Creates balls of dough at uniform weight and volume
  • Automatic models can divide and round at the push of a button
  • Semi-automatic models typically use separate cranks for dividing and rounding
  • Usually paired with dough dividers to consolidate two usually interconnected tasks

Dough Dividers

  • Cuts a bulk of dough into equal portions to achieve consistent product quality
  • Automatic and semi-automatic dough dividers available
  • Semi-automatic are crank-operated and are simple to use

Dough Cutters and Scrapers

  • Handheld option for cutting dough
  • Can be used to scrape off loose flour and dough bits on the counter
  • Wheel dough cutters available for cutting pastry dough, brownies, cookies, or pasta dough

Commercial Blenders

Available in light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty models (determined by the horsepower or HP) depending on the type of food you will bend and the frequency of use 

Food Blenders

  • Can puree vegetables to make soup, grind grains into flour, or chip vegetables to make salsa
  • Features high horsepower that support a wider range of speeds and power settings to achieve a variety of results
  • Comes with plastic, glass, or stainless steel jars

Bar Blenders

  • Used to make smoothies and frozen drinks
  • Comes with plastic, glass, or stainless steel jars


Immersion Blenders

  • Handheld blender that can be used directly on the existing container
  • Best for soup, sauces, and other liquid food items

Scales

Scales allow you to achieve accuracy when measuring the amount of ingredients you use, the portion for every serving, or the weight of the food items being sold. 

Hanging Scales

  • Versatile scales that can measure a wide range of products
  • Typically used for measuring heavy loads
  • Comes with a hook where items are suspended 

Digital Scales

  • Easier to read and provides more accurate readings
  • Supports multiple units of measurement
  • Available in a wide range of increments

Dial Scales

  • Simple and very easy to use
  • Usually comes with dual measurement units
  • Available in a wide range of increments

Price Computing or Label Printing Scales

  • Weighs products and computes price based on programmed unit prices
  • Prints labels that include details such as the name and SKU of the item, best-before date, bar code, and the total price 

Food Processors

Get the lowdown on food processors from your chef.

Continuous Feed

  • Allows you to feed food into the unit in succession
  • Processed ingredients are dispensed in a separate bowl so you can produce the exact quantity you need

Batch Bowl Food Processors

  • Can process ingredients in batches
  • Comes with a built-in bowl available in a range of capacity to catch the processed ingredients
  • Perfect for processing ingredients at a set quantity

Food Cutter with Hub

  • Support different kinds of attachments to handle various types of food and achieve specific results
  • Can process a wide variety of ingredients such as meats, fruits, and vegetables
  • Interchangeable hubs for adding multiple functionalities as needed

Vertical Cutter Mixer

  • Chop up and mix large batches of cooked and raw ingredients 
  • Can puree and process liquid and semi-liquid items
  • Features a tiltable large-capacity bowl for easy transfer of finished product into separate vessels
  • Removable bowls and serrated blades for easy and thorough cleaning

Food Packaging Machines

To seal in product freshness and quality to extend shelf life

Vacuum Packaging Machine

  • Seals out the air to make food last much longer
  • Maximizes space to fit more products in the freezer
  • Handheld and countertop models available
  • Pistol style vacuum sealers are rechargeable

Hand Wrap Stations

  • Quickly wrap products in film for storage or selling fresh products
  • Can be used in conjunction with label printers 
  • Available in countertop and floor model designs

Meal Cooking Area

Now we’re cooking...with gas!

A gas cook range that has been installed and operates effectively is the heart of the kitchen. Nobody wants to struggle to get food cooked when they work in a busy restaurant, as I’m sure any good chef will know.

Choose heavy-duty cookers and stoves for commercial kitchens with a lot of traffic because chances are, you’re going to need them. There is a gargantuan range of heavy-duty gas stoves and cookers to choose from. Be kind to the environment and kind to your chef and install gas, if space permits. Gas gives instant heat, while electrical appliances like stoves would still need to warm up, wasting time you might not have.

Service Area

Worktops, surfaces, and chef stations    

You can purchase stations and worktops that double up as chef’s stations or ‘workstations’ to begin with and have a communal ‘work station’ as well when all your chefs and assistants need to work together, side by side.  The more dedicated stations you have, the better your kitchen will function and flow. Worktops and surfaces need to be easy to clean and preferably, constructed of stainless steel. Some commercial work tables you may need for your operation include: 

  • Prep tables are designed for assembling salad, sandwich, or pizza. They come with a chilled pan rail with storage space for two to three rows of pans. The base is a refrigerator for keeping reserve ingredients fresh and accessible. 
  • Chef bases have a refrigerated base where products or ingredients waiting to be cooked are stored to stay fresh. The top is a solid surface built to support heavy-duty cooking equipment.
  • Equipment stands hold equipment used in various types of kitchen tasks. The base can be open or fitted with an undershelf for added storage. It can also be enclosed to provide cabinet storage. 
  • Dishtables provide flat storage for plates during dishwashing, which makes your kitchen more organized and sanitary. There are two types of dishtables--one for clean dishes and another for soiled dishes. They come in several layouts to fit in most kitchens.
  • Shelves, plenty of them, to store and organize your supplies for easy access. Shelves can be added beneath the surfaces for extra storage space. Service shelves and overshelves can also be added for front-of-house use.
  • Well-designed cooker top placement

Include plenty of space for multiple kitchen staff to stand around a single island for cooking at the same time, or give each one their own station. You may want to accomplish this more easily by leaving the kitchen designed as an open plan floor, with islands placed in strategic places.

In Conclusion

Kitchen placement and the workflow plan are the most important elements to a good commercial kitchen. If your kitchen doesn’t work, your restaurant won’t either. Thirty to 40 percent of a restaurant’s total space should be allocated to the kitchen alone.

While delivery and takeout might be causing the traditional restaurant kitchen to shrink, what's clear is that its role in the overall success of your operation is still as huge as ever. Don't skimp on the size and equipment that you purchase for your kitchen.

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