How to Choose the Right Appliances for Your Restaurant

Opening a restaurant is an exciting undertaking, but it also requires carefully selecting the right commercial kitchen equipment. Selecting the right equipment—cooking equipment, food preparation equipment, refrigeration equipment, storage equipment, and many more—is paramount for your restaurant’s success.

Follow this guide when visiting a restaurant supply retailer to help you choose the most suitable food service appliances, cookware, and refrigeration for your establishment.

Why Choosing the Right Appliances For Your Restaurant Is Crucial

1.    Food Quality and Consistency

Having the right cooking equipment allows you to execute recipes perfectly each time. Things like high-powered blenders, food processors, commercial convection ovens, and charbroilers give you precise temperature and blending control to achieve consistent flavors and textures. Commercial refrigeration and freezers will hold ingredients at proper temperatures and prevent spoilage and waste. Choosing sturdy, commercial-grade appliances designed for high-volume use ensures you can reproduce consistent, high-quality dishes for every guest.

2.    Efficiency and Speed

A commercial kitchen needs to be a fast-paced, efficient environment. The right appliances improve workflow and allow staff to prep ingredients, cook, and assemble dishes quickly. High-powered commercial mixers and food processors dramatically cut down prep time. Convection ovens cook food rapidly and evenly. Advanced cooking technology like combi ovens combines multiple functions to steam, roast, and broil all in one unit. Having the fastest and most efficient appliances gives your team the ability to churn out dishes rapidly during crunch time to prevent long ticket times.

3.    Labor and Energy Cost Savings

Well-designed, durable appliances help keep your operating costs down in the kitchen. Energy-efficient cooking equipment like induction burners and convection ovens consume less energy and reduce your utility bills. Labor costs are lower when appliances are engineered to make kitchen tasks easier and faster. Intuitive equipment with automated features like smart steamers free up staff time from mundane tasks like checking water levels. Preventative maintenance on appliances also avoids costly equipment breakdowns and repairs down the road. The right appliances are long-lasting workhorses designed to handle hours of continuous use while keeping your labor and energy costs in check.

4.    Menu Capabilities

Your kitchen design and appliances need to support your full menu. Specialized equipment expands the dishes and cooking techniques you can offer. Equipment like sous vide immersion circulators, pizza ovens, panini presses, and pasta cookers allow you to create trendy menu items. Powerful blenders make crafting frozen drinks, smoothies, and emulsified sauces easy. With the right appliances, you can say yes to virtually any menu item a chef dreams up. Being limited by your equipment is not an option – select versatile appliances that enable creativity and menu flexibility.

5.    Durability and Reliability

Commercial kitchen appliances endure serious wear and tear. From hot high-volume cooking to endless cleanings, they need to be durable workhorses designed to operate reliably for years. Look for solid construction with stainless steel finishes that resist corrosion. Commercial appliances should have greater motor power and hardened internal components rated for continuous use. Read reviews and choose reputable, trustworthy commercial brands known for reliability and longevity. Avoid flimsy light-duty appliances that will burn out quickly in a restaurant setting. Invest in sturdy, commercial-grade appliances that will provide years of worry-free service.

How to Choose the Right Appliances for Your Restaurant

1.    Assess Your Needs

Before setting foot in a restaurant supply store, make a list of the types of appliances you’ll need based on your restaurant’s concept and menu. Determine what types of food you’ll be preparing, how much you need to produce, and identify any specialty equipment that would streamline operations. For example, if you’re opening a pizza restaurant, you’ll need a commercial deck oven. If you’ll be frying foods, add a commercial deep fryer to the list.

Research quality brands known for durability in a restaurant setting, and aim for energy efficient models when possible. Energy Star-certified appliances can help save significantly on utility bills over time. Know your budget upfront so you can narrow down options at the store.

2.    Key Equipment for Any Restaurant Kitchen

While each restaurant has unique needs, there are some universal workhorse appliances used in most commercial kitchens:

  • Commercial refrigerator and freezer for storing perishable ingredients and prepared foods. Aim for models with high storage capacity.
  • Commercial range with multiple burners and ovens. Look for power and precision in cooking performance.
  • Commercial dishwasher that can quickly sanitize high volumes of dishes. Choose a model with a fast cycle time.
  • Stainless steel prep tables and sinks for food preparation areas. Opt for sturdy construction and deep basins.
  • Commercial blender for sauces, dressings, and beverages. Select a heavy-duty model with multiple speed options.

3.    Specialty Appliances

Beyond the basics, you may need specialty foodservice equipment that aligns with your culinary offerings. Some to consider include:

  • Rapid cooker oven for quick heating and cooking. Great for braising meats or reheating prepared dishes.
  • Commercial microwave for fast heating. Choose a high powered model.
  • Food processor for chopping, grinding, and mixing. Get one with attachments for versatility.
  • Commercial mixer for bakery operations. Look for a sturdy stainless steel unit with multiple capacities.
  • Display cases to showcase desserts and refrigerated items. Choose self-contained units.
  • Ice cream makers and yogurt machines for chilled specialty dishes. Opt for self-contained units.
  • Commercial steamer for steaming vegetables, seafood, and dumplings. Get a model with variable temperature/time controls.
  • Commercial waffle makers or panini presses for quick hot sandwiches. Select units with removable grill plates for easy cleaning.

4.    Cookware Essentials

The cookware used in a commercial kitchen needs to withstand heavy daily use. Focus on purchasing these key items:

  • Stainless steel pots and pans in an array of sizes. Look for heavy-gauge construction with tight-fitting lids.
  • Saute pans, sauce pots, and stock pots are a must. Select thick, evenly flat-bottomed pans.
  • Sheet pans, hotel pans, and baking sheets made of aluminum or stainless steel for oven use.
  • Mixing bowls in stainless steel offer durability. Get a range of sizes.
  • Food storage containers in plastic or stainless steel keep ingredients fresh.
  • Kitchen tools like ladles, tongs, and spatulas should have long, sturdy handles.
  • Knives – choose a chef’s knife, paring knife, boning knife, slicers, and serrated bread knife. Select commercial-grade stainless steel blades.

5.    Service and Smallwares

Don’t overlook the variety of preparation, cooking, and serving supplies needed:

  • Cutting boards in plastic or wood. Get boards in small and large sizes.
  • Commercial grade plastic wrap, foil, parchment paper, labels, and takeout containers.
  • Mixing bowls, colanders, grater, measuring cups and spoons, thermometers.
  • Heat resistant rubber spatulas, whisks, ladles, and tongs.
  • Oven mitts, potholders, aprons, and towels.
  • Plates, bowls, cups, cutlery, and trays for serving.
  • Examine the quality and robustness of all smallware and services carefully; cheaply made products will not hold up to the demands of a restaurant.

6.    Refrigeration Needs

Invest in reliable commercial refrigerators and freezers:

  • Walk-in cooler and freezer units are ideal for high-volume restaurants. Choose energy efficient models.
  • Reach-in refrigerators and freezers provide smaller storage capacity. Have units near prep and cooking stations.
  • Undercounter fridges and freezers are compact options for tight spaces.
  • Commercial ice machines help ensure you have enough ice on hand. Look for units that produce different size cubes.
  • Refrigerated prep tables keep food chilled while you work. Choose tables with ample surface area.
  • Take time evaluating the styles and sizes of refrigeration equipment needed so you aren’t under or over capacity. And don’t skimp on this vital equipment – refrigeration issues can quickly jeopardize food safety.

7.    Ventilation Requirements

Proper ventilation keeps kitchens free of smoke, grease, and odors. Be sure to install:

  • Commercial kitchen exhaust hoods over cooktops, ranges, ovens, and other heat generating equipment.
  • Supply fans that bring in fresh air to balance kitchen ventilation.
  • Roof-mounted exhaust fans that remove smoke, grease, and odors.
  • Partner with contractors or ventilation specialists to ensure your commercial hoods and exhaust meet local codes. Proper ventilation is a must for a safe, comfortable commercial kitchen.

The Bottom Line

Purchasing the right appliances and equipment is a big investment when opening a restaurant. Carefully assess your concept and menu needs. Take time walking through a restaurant supply retailer, speaking with manufacturers, and comparing options before making purchasing decisions. Choose commercial grade appliances and cookware made for longevity in busy restaurant environments. With strategic choices suited to your business, you’ll create an efficient, fully-equipped commercial kitchen.

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