What Kitchen Equipment Will I Need To Open A Restaurant?

How to open a restaurant

Chef Al's Equipment Buyers Guide for First Time Restaurateurs

All delicious meals have to come from some place. The sizzling steaks, savory sauces, piquant pastas, and delectable desserts all start with a recipe or an idea, either passed down through your family or newly formed from your time spent cooking, tasting, cooking again, tasting again, and probably one more time until the dish is exactly how you want it. The kitchen is where these dishes come to life. However, for first-time restauranteurs, before you can even get to this point, you need some equipment – the workhorses of the kitchen. You need ovens, refrigerators, sinks, shelves, and more.

This article will help you take the guesswork out of planning your kitchen and help you evaluate your needs based on the space you have available. Later, after you’ve stocked your kitchen with the right equipment to make your recipes as dazzling as can be, then you can move on to smallwares [Read: What Smallwares Will I Need To Open A Restaurant?] and dining furniture.

So, the big stuff. The iron giants. Let’s get started.


Does a hamburger house need a sushi table? What about a salad bar? Your menu is the first place to look when planning your kitchen equipment. Take pen to paper and virtually walk through every item on your menu, from cream sauces to fries to broiled fish. What pans will you need to sauté, and what else will you be using the stovetop for at the same time?

Work with your chefs to create a mock run-through of a high-volume night that utilizes every item on your menu – at the same time. While this scenario might not happen exactly, your kitchen needs to be prepared when it does – or you can be sure your high-volume nights won't happen again.


A restaurant that deep-fries one menu appetizer needs a small (and inexpensive) fryer. A hamburger house that offers fries with every item on the menu needs to allocate significantly more budget money and space for a more industrial piece. While you can't always predict what item will be the most popular on your menu, don't sacrifice quality and turn-around time for a smaller piece of equipment that won't do the job. Plan ahead for volume and ensure your equipment will handle it.


Every kitchen needs cooking equipment, refrigeration equipment, food preparation equipment, and specific equipment based on the business type. However, the basic pieces of every kitchen must begin with local health codes. Know your local health codes before you set foot in a retail store, and you won't waste time and money exchanging equipment with pieces that are not up to code. Here are ideas of a few pieces most restaurants need to get started:

Some owners may consider beginning the business with Used Restaurant Equipment. We also have tips for purchasing used restaurant equipment [Tips for Selling & Purchasing Used Restaurant Equipment]. Or you can browse our current Used Restaurant Equipment Inventory.

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Restaurant Equipment & Smallware Checklist

Want more information? Don’t go into your first restaurant experience blind, let us help you! This handy checklist designed by Food Industry experts outlines the necessary items needed for both the front and back of the house when opening a new restaurant. OPEN RESTAURANT CHECKLIST

To download a free checklist please fill out the form to subscribe to Gator Chef's email list. By subscribing (you can always unsubscribe at any time), you will also receive Gator Chef's newsletter about great deals on restaurant supplies, food industry business tips, and more. Print out the list to use when you go shopping for your items so you can be sure to remember all those basic items you’ll need to open a restaurant.

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