Restaurant Equipment 101

By Jackie Prange

industrial cooktop and stainless steel work surface

Whether you’re new to the restaurant scene, or a seasoned veteran in the food industry, owning the right restaurant equipment is crucial to your business’s success. With so many different brands, models, and suppliers to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with which purchases are necessary, and which ones are simply money grabs.

To help ease your mind during the restaurant equipment purchasing process, we’ve outlined which tools you’ll need to succeed in the restaurant industry, and where to source them.

Small Appliances

Sharpening Stone

Any good restaurateur knows the importance of sharp knives. Purchasing a quality sharpening stone will help maintain your knives’ durability, and help prevent the accidents that come with dull blades.

Food Processor

A food processor is one of the most versatile tools you’ll introduce into your kitchen, helping make previously tedious tasks a nonevent. Handy to have around, a food processor can slice, chop, grind, puree, grate, and dice – all within one piece of equipment.


Perfect for any finishing touches or single servings. With a microwave, you can reheat any pre-made dishes in no time.

Safety Equipment

Required by state and federal law, your restaurant must be up to safety standards. A first-aid kit must be accessible in the workplace at all times, along with a fire extinguisher.

Kitchen Display System (KDS)

Link this tool to your front of house POS to bless your kitchen staff with the ability to manage incoming orders with ease. You can also bid farewell to your paper and ink expenses, by replacing your traditional ticket printer with a KDS – or use it alongside your printer for additional functionality.

Large Appliances

Prep Tables

Invest in a stainless steel prep table to make your food preparation as sanitary as possible. Especially when working with meat and poultry, wood and other materials are very unsanitary. These prep tables can either be freestanding, or attached to other equipment – whatever your commercial kitchen layout allows for.

Ice Maker

An automatic ice maker is a must have, especially if your restaurant is equipped with a full bar and countless cocktail offerings.

Commercial Refrigerator & Freezer

To no one’s surprise, a refrigerator is a staple for any restaurant, since food safety codes require many food items to be kept at a minimum temperature. Restaurant refrigerators come in all shapes and sizes – from walk-ins, to reach-ins, you’ve got more than enough choices to suit your restaurant’s needs. Freezers, on the other hand, are vital for food storage, since not all food can be used immediately. The kinds most commonly found in restaurants are chest freezers, stand-up freezers, and walk-in freezers – overall, the freezer world is your oyster.

Convection Oven

A coveted piece of restaurant equipment, the convection oven ensures your food is cooked evenly. These ovens are equipped with fans that circulate air to deliver even baking, which helps cook meat all the way through, while still maintaining it’s flavor.  


An invention praised by Chef’s worldwide, with an induction range, you can cook at lower temperatures than gas – meaning, you can produce a wider range of menu items to absolute perfection. Ranges provide chefs with unparalleled consistency and control – who could refuse that!

Gas Grill

Gas grills are a favorite in restaurant kitchens, since gas heat is more reliable for even cooking. They come in many sizes, some even with a a flat top conveniently attached.

Washing Equipment

Hand and dishwashing stations aren’t only necessary to keep your restaurant looking clean, they’re typically a requirement by local health departments. A handwashing station is vital to help prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses and bacteria. Industrial restaurant dishwashers come with all the bells and whistles your business needs – like automatically dispensing dishwashing detergent, and keeping water at set temperatures.

How to Source It

After evaluating what equipment you need, it’s time to get sourcing! Unless you already have a supplier who’s able to get you set up with your new tools, here are a few reputable supply sources to check out.

Restaurant Source

Based in Denver, Colorado, Restaurant Source’s primary business is designing, selling and installing food service supplies and equipment. Their customer base is made up of commercial food service operations, including hotels, restaurants, chains and institutions. Priding themselves on reliability and convenience, most products are ready and able to be shipped within 24 hours.

Best Restaurant Supply

Best Restaurant Supply has over 45 years of experience in the restaurant industry, and more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant equipment industry. A top contender for all of your restaurant equipment needs, Best Restaurant Supply offers free expert consultations for your restaurant project.

Restaurant Equipment World

Restaurant Equipment World (REW) has been a leader in the restaurant equipment industry for 40+ years, serving more than 100,000 customers in all 50 states and more than 110 countries around the world. Despite REW’s massive reach and growth, the organization is family owned and operated.

Hendrix Food Service Equipment

Founded in 1981 in Brockville, Ontario, Hendrix is known as a leading foodservice equipment supplier in Canada, and has expanded to include nine locations nationwide.

Stocking your restaurant with the tools it needs to succeed doesn’t need to be an impossible task. With the help of this checklist and suppliers, you can get the best for your business, without cashing in your life savings or causing any new grey hairs.

Photo of Jackie Prange
by Jackie Prange

Jackie was a Content Marketing Specialist and Social Media strategist at TouchBistro before moving into business development role. She covered the latest food, dining, and technology trends for the restaurant industry. A lover of all things coffee, Jackie’s hobbies include breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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