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Detailed Guide to Essential Restaurant Equipment


Discover the essential restaurant equipment list for a successful startup. Make smart choices for long-term savings and efficient operations. Start your restaurant off right.


Starting a restaurant is an exciting and rewarding venture. However, it requires careful planning and decision-making, especially when it comes to selecting the right equipment. The right restaurant equipment is essential for the smooth functioning and profitability of your establishment. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the importance of selecting the right equipment, provide an essential checklist of restaurant kitchen equipment, discuss financing options, and offer tips for purchasing the best equipment for your specific needs.

What is Restaurant Equipment?

Restaurant equipments are tools and appliances used in a food service establishment to prepare, cook, store, serve, and manage food and beverage operations. 

It includes various categories such as cooking and prep equipment, refrigeration equipment, serving equipment, cleaning equipment, point-of-sale (POS) systems, and kitchen display screens. Selecting the right equipment is crucial as it can have a significant impact on the efficiency, productivity, and overall success of your casual or fine dining restaurant.

Essential Restaurant Kitchen Equipment Checklist:

Here's a list of restaurant equipments for both fine dining and quick service restaurants:

Cooking Equipment:

  • Stoves: Gas or electric stoves are the primary equipment for preparing a variety of dishes. Consider the size and number of burners based on your menu requirements. Choose between gas range stoves with multiple burners or specialty stoves such as flat-top griddles or wok burners depending on your cooking needs.
  • Ovens: Conventional or convection ovens are used for baking and roasting. Conventional ovens use heating elements at the top and bottom, while convection ovens have a fan that circulates the hot air for even cooking. Determine the capacity and type of oven suitable for your restaurant's baking needs, considering factors such as space and volume of baked goods.
  • Grills: Grills are essential for grilling meat, vegetables, and seafood. Choose between gas or charcoal grills based on flavor preferences and cooking style. Consider the size, BTU output, and features like adjustable grates or infrared technology for precise grilling.
  • Fryers: Deep fryers are used for frying foods such as french fries, chicken, or seafood. Consider the capacity and efficiency of the fryer for optimal frying results. Look for features like temperature controls, fast recovery time, and safety mechanisms to ensure consistent and safe frying.
  • Flat-Top Griddles: Griddles are flat cooking surfaces commonly used for cooking breakfast items like pancakes, eggs, and burgers.
  • Wok Burners: These burners are specially designed with high heat output to create the intense heat necessary for wok cooking.

Food Prep & Storage Equipment:

  • Work Tables: Work tables are versatile surfaces used for food preparation, plating, and general kitchen tasks. These tables typically have stainless steel tops, which are easy to clean and sanitize. They come in various sizes and configurations, including flat-top or with built-in sinks or drawers. Work tables provide a sturdy, dedicated food preparation areas for chefs and kitchen staff to work efficiently and hygienically.
  • Food Processor: A food processor is a time-saving kitchen appliance that automates various food preparation tasks, such as chopping, slicing, grating, and pureeing. It offers efficiency, consistency, and recipe flexibility in a compact and user-friendly design.
  • Food Storage Containers: Food storage containers are essential for keeping dry ingredients, such as flour, sugar, grains, spices, and other pantry items, properly organized and protected from moisture and contaminants. These containers come in various sizes, materials (such as plastic or glass), and with sealing lids to maintain freshness and prevent spillage or cross-contamination. They are stackable and help optimize storage space.
  • Shelving Units: Shelving units are essential for organizing and storing various supplies, ingredients, and equipment in your restaurant. They come in different sizes, materials, and configurations to suit your storage needs. Shelving units are typically made of stainless steel, wire, or polymer and can be wall-mounted or freestanding. They provide a convenient and space-efficient way to keep items off the floor and neatly organized.
  • Storage Racks: Storage racks are similar to shelving units but are designed for heavier loads or specific purposes. They are often used for storing bulk dry goods, canned goods, kitchen appliances, or other heavy items. Storage racks are typically made of heavy-duty metal and provide durability and strength to hold and organize large quantities of items.

Refrigeration Equipment:

  • Refrigerators: Reach-in Refrigerators are upright units commonly used for storing ingredients at safe temperatures. Undercounter Refrigerators are compact units that fit underneath countertops, providing convenient access to frequently used items. Choosing the right refrigerator is important for following all food safety standards.
  • Display Refrigerators: These refrigerators have glass doors or glass display panels, making them ideal for showcasing products like desserts, drinks, or prepared foods.
  • Freezers: Reach-in and Undercounter Freezers are similar to their refrigeration counterparts but are designed for frozen storage.
  • Walk-in Freezers: These large, walk-in units provide extensive frozen storage and are typically used in larger foodservice operations.
  • Ice Machines: Ice machines produce and store ice cubes or other forms of ice, such as flakes or nuggets, depending on the specific needs of your establishment.
  • Blast Chillers: Blast chillers rapidly cool down cooked food to safe storage temperatures, reducing the risk of bacterial growth.
  • Wine Coolers: Wine coolers maintain the ideal temperature and humidity levels for storing and serving wines.
  • Bar Refrigeration Units: These specialized units are designed for bar settings, providing refrigerated storage for beverages and ingredients while also offering the convenience of quick access.

Serving Equipment:

  • Plates: Different sizes and styles of plates cater to various serving needs, including standard dinner plates, salad plates, and appetizer plates.
  • Utensils: Forks, knives, spoons, serving spoons, and tongs are essential for foodservice operations. Consider the appropriate sizes and designs for different dishes.
  • Serving Trays: Non-slip serving trays come in various shapes and sizes (round or rectangular) and are useful for carrying multiple plates or drinks during table service or banquets.
  • Drink Dispensers: Beverage dispensers with spigots allow for easy self-service of drinks such as water, tea, or juice, while coffee dispensers keep coffee hot and readily available. Self-serve beer taps are used in establishments that serve draft beer, offering customers the ability to pour their own drinks.
  • Chafing Dishes: These heated serving dishes are commonly used for buffets, catered events, or large gatherings to keep food warm.
  • Buffet Servers: Buffet servers include various trays, warmers, and stands to present and serve food at self-serve stations, ensuring food stays at the desired temperature.
  • Bread Baskets: These baskets are used to display and serve bread and other baked goods at the table.
  • Condiment Holders: Condiment holders provide organized storage and easy access to sauces, dressings, spices, or other condiments for customers.

Cleaning Equipment:

  • Dishwashers: Undercounter, Conveyor, Flight-Type, and Pot and Pan Washers are different types of commercial dishwashing machines that efficiently clean and sanitize dishes, glasses, and utensils.
  • Sinks: Hand sinks, prep sinks, dishwashing sinks, and utility sinks provide designated areas for different cleaning and food preparation needs, ensuring proper sanitation and water supply.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Includes dishwashing detergent, sanitizers, degreasers, cleaning brushes, and sponges that are necessary for maintaining a clean and hygienic kitchen.
  • Steam Cleaners: Steam cleaners use high-pressure steam to clean and sanitize kitchen surfaces, equipment, and hard-to-reach areas effectively.
  • Warewashing Racks: These racks are designed to hold and organize dishes, glasses, and utensils for easy and efficient washing in dishwashers.
  • Mop Sink Stations: They provide designated areas for cleaning mops, buckets, and other cleaning tools, preventing cross-contamination.
  • Janitorial Carts: Janitorial carts equipped with compartments and storage space are used to transport and organize cleaning supplies and tools throughout the establishment.

Point-of-Sale System:

A POS or Point of Sale system is essential for managing and processing transactions, tracking sales, and providing accurate inventory management. It includes a cash register, receipt printer, card reader, and software for order management and reporting.

Kitchen Display System (KDS):

A KDS is a digital screen that displays orders in the kitchen, allowing chefs and kitchen staff to see orders as they come in, manage preparation times, and ensure orders are completed accurately and timely.

Used Restaurant Equipment:

Consider purchasing used equipment to save costs. Ensure it is in good condition and meets your requirements. Look for reputable sellers or suppliers who offer warranties on used equipment.

Free Commercial Kitchen Equipment List

Document Name: Restaurant Kitchen Equipment Checklist.pdf   Filesize: 170.55 KB

Buying Kitchen Tools & Equipment:

  • Financial Planning: Plan your budget and allocate funds specifically for equipment purchases. Buying kitchen equipments can cost anywhere between $75,000-$115,000. Consider the overall costs of equipment, including installation and maintenance. Research and compare prices from different suppliers to ensure you get the best value for your investment.
  • Options for Financing: Self-funding: Use personal savings or investments to purchase equipment. This option gives you full ownership and avoids additional interest costs.Loans: Explore loan options from banks or financial institutions. Compare interest rates, repayment terms, and eligibility criteria.Equipment Leasing: Rent the equipment for a specific duration. Leasing allows you to access the latest equipment without a large upfront investment.
  • Tips for Buying: When purchasing equipment, consider your commercial kitchen layout. Look for reputable suppliers and manufacturers. Assess equipment quality, durability, and materials used. Read reviews, inspect specifications, and compare prices, warranties, and after-sales support. Consider long-term costs and benefits, including energy efficiency features to reduce operating costs.

What to consider when buying commercial restaurant kitchen tools & equipment:

  • Size and Layout of the Kitchen: Optimize the space available for efficient workflow. Based on whether you have an open kitchen or not, arrange the equipments and workstations for seamless operations. Ensure that the equipment fits comfortably in the kitchen without overcrowding. Take precise measurements and consider safety regulations.
  • Type of Food Served: Consider the menu and specific equipment requirements. Different cuisines and cooking styles may require specialized equipment.Choose equipment that can handle the volume and complexity of dishes. Select equipment with the appropriate capacity to meet customer demands.
  • Volume of Customers: Select equipment with the appropriate capacity to handle peak hours. Consider the number of customers you expect during busy periods.Ensure that the equipment can keep up with demand to avoid delays in food preparation and service.
  • Quality and Durability: Invest in high-quality equipment that can withstand the rigors of a commercial kitchen. Cheaper options may cost more in the long run due to frequent repairs or replacements.Balance your budget constraints with the long-term benefits of durable equipment. Look for trusted brands known for their reliability.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: Evaluate the ongoing costs of maintenance, servicing, and repairs. Consider the availability of spare parts and the reputation of the manufacturer or supplier.Consider warranties and service agreements offered by suppliers. Ensure you have access to technical support and assistance when needed.

Where to buy restaurant kitchen equipment

When it comes to buying restaurant equipment, there are several options available that you can explore. Here are some common places where you can purchase restaurant equipment:

  • Restaurant Supply Stores: These stores specialize in providing equipment and supplies specifically for the foodservice industry. They offer a wide range of equipment options and often have knowledgeable staff who can assist you in finding the right equipment for your needs. 
  • Online Marketplaces: Online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba offer a vast selection of restaurant equipment. You can browse through numerous sellers and compare prices, read customer reviews, and make purchases conveniently from the comfort of your own home. Just make sure to do thorough research on the sellers and read product descriptions carefully to ensure you are getting the right equipment.
  • Auctions and Liquidation Sales: Attending auctions or liquidation sales can be an excellent way to find used or used commercial kitchen equipment. These events often take place when restaurants or foodservice establishments are closing or undergoing renovations. You can find equipment in good condition at lower prices than buying new.
  • Local Equipment Dealers: Check if there are any local equipment dealers or distributors in your area that specialize in restaurant equipment. These dealers can provide personalized service and often have showrooms where you can see the equipment in person before making a purchase.
  • Online Classifieds: Websites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace can be a good resource for finding both new and used restaurant equipment. Sellers in your local area may list their equipment for sale at competitive prices. Make sure to inspect the equipment before finalizing a purchase and negotiate the price if possible.
  • Directly from Manufacturers: If you have specific equipment needs or require customized equipment, contacting manufacturers directly can be a good option. Many manufacturers offer direct sales and can provide you with the exact equipment you need. This option may be more suitable for larger equipment purchases or specialized equipment.

When buying restaurant equipment, consider factors such as price, quality, warranties, and after-sales support. Do thorough research, compare prices and options, and read customer reviews to ensure you are making the best purchasing decisions for your restaurant.

How to maintain restaurant kitchen equipment

Maintaining and replacing kitchen equipment is essential to ensure the smooth operation and longevity of your restaurant. Here are some tips on how to effectively maintain and replace your kitchen equipment:

  • Follow Manufacturer Guidelines: Each piece of equipment comes with specific guidelines from the manufacturer on how to properly maintain it. It is important to read and follow these guidelines to ensure the equipment operates at its best and to avoid voiding any warranties.
  • Regular Cleaning: Keep your equipment clean by establishing a regular cleaning schedule. This includes daily cleaning tasks such as wiping down surfaces, removing grease and grime, and deep cleaning on a weekly or monthly basis. Use appropriate cleaning agents and follow proper cleaning procedures as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Inspect for Damage: Regularly inspect your equipment for any signs of damage or wear and tear. Check for loose screws, frayed cords, broken seals, or malfunctioning parts. Address any issues immediately to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards.
  • Lubricate Moving Parts: Some kitchen equipment, such as slicers or mixers, may have moving parts that require lubrication. Check the manufacturer's recommendations on lubrication frequency and use food-grade lubricants to ensure safety.
  • Train Staff: Properly train your staff on how to use and care for the equipment. Provide them with clear instructions and guidelines on cleaning procedures, proper usage, and any specific maintenance tasks they need to perform.
  • Keep Spare Parts: Consider keeping spare parts on hand for equipment that may require frequent replacement of certain components. This can help minimize downtime in case of equipment failure and prolong the life of your equipment.
  • Maintain Ventilation Systems: Kitchen equipment, such as ovens and grills, produce heat and require proper ventilation. Regularly clean and maintain the exhaust hoods, filters, and ducts to prevent grease buildup and maintain proper airflow.
  • Schedule Professional Servicing: While regular maintenance can be performed in-house, it is also important to schedule professional servicing for your equipment. Professional technicians can perform thorough inspections, identify potential issues, and conduct more in-depth maintenance tasks that require specialized knowledge and tools.

When to replace restaurant equipments

  • Assess Lifespan: Monitor the lifespan of your equipment and keep track of how long each piece has been in use. Most equipment will have an estimated lifespan provided by the manufacturer. Once a piece of equipment reaches the end of its expected lifespan, it is wise to start planning for its replacement.
  • Budgeting: Plan and allocate a budget for equipment replacement. Keep in mind that investing in newer, more energy-efficient models may provide long-term cost savings in terms of energy consumption and maintenance.
  • Prioritize Essential Equipment: Identify the most critical pieces of equipment that are vital to your operations. These should be the first to be replaced if they become inefficient or unreliable.
  • Research and Compare: Research new models and compare features, prices, warranties, and customer reviews. Look for reputable suppliers or consult with industry professionals to get recommendations on reliable brands and models.
  • Plan Timing: Consider the best time for equipment replacement to minimize disruption to your operations. This may involve timing it during slower periods or planning for temporary equipment rentals if necessary.
  • Proper Disposal: Ensure you properly dispose of old equipment according to local regulations. Some equipment may contain hazardous materials that require special handling or recycling.


Selecting the right restaurant equipment is crucial for the success of your establishment. It impacts the efficiency of your operations, the quality of your food, and the overall dining experience for your customers. By understanding the different types of equipment, including cooking, refrigeration, serving, cleaning, restaurant POS systems, and kitchen display system, creating a checklist, exploring financing options, and considering important factors before purchasing, you can make informed decisions and set up your restaurant for success. 

Invest in quality equipment that meets your specific needs and budget, ensuring a smooth and profitable culinary business. Remember to prioritize functionality, durability, and energy efficiency when selecting your restaurant equipment. With the right tools at your disposal, including a reliable POS system and a kitchen display screen, you can create a remarkable dining experience and set your restaurant apart from the competition.

For almost 20 years, 3S POS has offered one of the most flexible EPOS systems to international brands such as Caffe Concerto, Maroush, Comptoir Libanais, Pepe’s Piri Piri, GDK and thousands more delighted customers.

If you are looking for a EPOS system that will not just help you accept payments but effectively manage your menu, inventory, and much more, speak to our sales for a free demo

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