As you work to start a small restaurant that will be profitable and successful, one thing you should never skimp on is your kitchen. A good kitchen is the foundation for success and the key is to have the proper kitchen equipment that suits your needs. Your kitchen equipment should allow you to do every task in your production and get your restaurant up to code.
When you start a small restaurant, the refrigeration options can be a bit overwhelming. You’ll be looking at the smallest of coolers to a massive walk in fridge. Which one you get will depend on a few things: your menu, available space, and production volume.
Reach-ins typically have one to four sections. They are great for keeping daily ingredients fresh and easy to retrieve. On the other hand, if you order produce and other ingredients on a weekly basis, a walk-in refrigerator or freezer will allow you to preserve this large inventory all at once until you’re ready to use it.
If you plan to use a reach-in for storing pre-prepared foods, it is recommended that you use a walk-in freezer or a separate reach-in for unprepared foods. You may need to place reach-ins or smaller undercounter refrigerators or freezers at the front-of-house too.
Other refrigeration systems to consider when you start a small restaurant are refrigerated work tables, salad top refrigerators, or chef bases where chilled food ingredients are stored in cold drawer or cabinet storage bases.
When you start a small restaurant, remember that ice will always be essential to your operation. Therefore, you will need an ice machine to maintain a clean and steady supply of ice. Commercial ice machines are designed to produce a certain type of ice (cubed, flaked, nugget, and gourmet being the most common) and have a wide range of production capacities. Cubed ice machines can make half-cube or full-cube ice. The former is smaller and used in most foodservice applicants while the latter is great for fine dining and majority of beverages.
You’ll want your food prep station to be as efficient as possible. Food processors and slicers, which are either manual or automatic, are great for a small restaurant because they help maintain product consistency and quality while adding speed and efficiency to these daily tasks. Food prep tools like cutting boards follow a color-coded system to prevent cross-contamination. Other important food prep equipment you should get are as follows:
- Countertop or free standing mixers
- Meat processing equipment
- Pasta makers
- Dough mixers
- Knives and knife holders
To start a small restaurant that will operate with speed and efficiency, you need to have a productive cooking line. What it will be comprised of will largely depend on your menu. Keep in mind that whether you would get electric equipment will depend on your setup. Electric equipment is less expensive upfront, but the costs in the long run might add up.
A small restaurant will benefit from a cooking range that lets you do a variety of cooking tasks in one single unit. Commercial cooking ranges usually have an oven or a storage base and a mix of griddles, burners, or grills at the top. However, if you anticipate a lot of baking for example, you might want to get a dedicated commercial oven. If you are planning to serve a lot of fried dishes, a deep fryer is certainly a must. Other cooking equipment you should consider include:
- Convection ovens
- Deck ovens
- Deep fryers
- Gas ranges
- Induction cooktops
Sinks help you maintain the cleanliness of your cookware and dinnerware as well as the sanitary food handling. A small restaurant will need multiple sinks to serve different purposes. What this means is that you would need a hand sink for employee use before handling and serving food, a separate compartment sink for dirty dishware and food scraps, and a mop sink for mops, mop buckets, and other cleaning tools.
Start a small restaurant the right way
Shop for your kitchen equipment with the goal to achieve a speedy operation, support the volume of your production, and promote productivity.