If you’re considering opening a restaurant, you’re probably trying to put together a budget. After all, one of the big questions that every business plan needs to answer is how you will make money. Why? Because you need to cover expenses. One important expense is commercial kitchen equipment.
Restaurant equipment, standard kitchen equipment, and high-end catering equipment costs range from reasonable to extraordinarily expensive. Depending on the needs of your new restaurant, the prices may vary.
We’ve broken down what you can expect to spend as you build the commercial kitchen of your dreams.
What is Commercial Kitchen Equipment?
Here’s the short answer to the “What is commercial kitchen equipment” question: anything you need for cooking in your new food/service business. Do commercial kitchens require different supplies than your home cooking equipment? Absolutely.
You’re only preparing food at home for yourself or a few guests. Now and again, you might host a large dinner party. But you’re getting less traffic than restaurants do. In short, you have different cooking needs.
You might have a few different pots and pans (maybe even a cast iron if you take your searing seriously). But that’s not enough to cut it in the world of commercial cooking equipment.
Restaurant owners and chefs must consider buying enough tools with the right features to match their food/service operation. Those supplies and equipment pieces are the key to their success. After all, a great meal and a refreshing beverage served promptly are what we all want from restaurants.
What Equipment is Needed in a Commercial Kitchen?
It depends. What cooking equipment you and your chef need depends on what cuisine you serve, your restaurant theme, etc.
For example, a burger joint needs deep fryers to mack all those delicious french fries. A pie shop needs a convection oven to keep its tarts toasty. On the other hand, a sushi bar needs ample counter space for its chefs to hand-roll rice and fish.
What equipment is needed in a commercial kitchen? We’ve got you covered. We’ve broken down this section into products and a low-end price point and a high-end price point.
Reminder: these prices vary widely depending on your market and the needs of your restaurant. Use this as a guide to how much the price of equipment should contribute to the overall business cost.
1. Freezers and Refrigerators
Number one on our list of must-have restaurant cooking equipment: freezers and refrigerators. Expensive repairs and shortened life of the appliance make buying used incredibly challenging. Because these items are essential to food freshness, don’t cut corners when you make your buying decision.
- Low end: $800
- High end: $10,000+
2. Storage Racks and Shelving
Where will you put your state-of-the-art restaurant supplies when they’re not in use? Not all out on the counters. Invest in shelving, racks and hangers to keep your commercial kitchen equipments orderly, safe, and efficient.
- Low end: $150
- High end: $2,500
3. Safety Equipment
Personal protective equipment, also known as PPE, keeps employees safe while working and customers safe while eating. Invest in cut-resistant gloves, non-slip cutting boards, safety goggles, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, and face masks. Be sure to have a first-aid kit on hand and fresh supplies in case of emergencies.
- Low end: $500
- High end: $2,000
4. Storage Containers
Keeping your kitchen organized and tidy doesn’t just look good – it keeps your team safe. An exemplary storage system will help keep items not currently in use out of the way. Many restaurants use a combination of metal and plastic bins.
- Low end: $500
- High end: $3,000
5. Serving Ware
How will customers enjoy your yummy menu items without a way to eat them? One of the essential pieces of commercial restaurant equipment is the stuff you use for serving. Plates, bowls, tongs, silverware, ladles, etc. Your restaurant’s needs will vary depending on your specialization, but be sure to set aside money for serving ware.
- Low end: $100
- High end: $1,000
As the central piece of equipment in your kitchen, ovens can cost a pretty penny. Know that the cost of your oven may vary depending on the size, quality, function, and type. (Remember those deep fryers we mentioned earlier?)
- Low end: $1,300
- High end: $25,000+
7. Cooking Range and Ventilation
Ranges are another critical component of your restaurant cooking gear. Here, you have many models to choose from. They range from gas to electric. Every chef has their preference, so we recommend checking with them before taking the plunge. On top of that, having a proper ventilation system is critical for staff safety. Again, prices vary depending on your needs.
8. Food Processors
Are you opening up a smoothie bar and need to turn verdant vegetables into creamy drinks? Or you’re in the business of fine dining and need a processor to whip up delicious sauces. For any of those reasons, you’ll need a food processor to get your kitchen up and running.
- Low end: $200
- High end: $5,000
Do you have bread or desserts on your menu? If so, add mixers to your commercial kitchen equipments list. Whether you want floor mixers, hand mixers, or countertop mixers, there are a variety of price points available.
- Low end: $350
- High end: $2,800
10. Food Prep Counters and Cutting Boards
Your staff will constantly be using your prep tables, counters, and cutting services to prepare food, so you must invest in solid surfaces. Go with stainless steel for sturdiness, bacteria resistance, and resilience against tough cleaning products. Go plastic for your cutting boards instead of wood-plastic is more sanitary.
- Low end: $300
- High end: $2,600
You’ll need a sink for three main functions in your kitchen: food preparation, dishwashing, and hand washing. Ensure you’re in line with health and safety requirements when selecting your sink. Following the food safety rules is no small matter in the restaurant business.
- Low end: $400
- High end: $5,700
12. Pots and Pans
You didn’t think we’d leave out the basics, did you? You need plenty of pots, pans, mixing bowls, and all the other kitchen basics. Just be sure to use the organizational tools mentioned earlier to use your space best.
- Low end: $25 per pan or pot
- High end: $200 per pan or pot
13. Ice Machines
Guests always appreciate an ice-cold drink. Look for a machine that automatically dispenses ice into a container so it is always ready for your staff to use.
- Low end: $900
- High end: $7,000
14. Gas or Electric Grill
If you have steaks or burgers on your menu, you’ll need a grill (or griddle). When planning your kitchen layout, make sure you leave enough space!
- Low end: $1,500
- High end: $5,200
Dirty dishes don’t clean themselves. It’s not cheap to purchase an industrial-grade dishwasher, but boy, is it rewarding. If you can’t splurge for a large one, try a smaller one or a spraying station.
- Low end: $500
- High end: $10,000
Last but not least on our equipment rundown: waste disposal. Disposing your food waste in a sanitary manner is crucial to keeping your kitchen clean. If you can, use an eco-friendly option and get a compost and recycling bin.
- Low end: $200
- High end: $1,600
Cost of Restaurant Equipment
We’ve talked about buying quality products in line with your budget. Now it’s time to discuss the overall cost of restaurant equipment.
Some costs are unavoidable, regardless of the size of your kitchen. But remember that operating a buffet, for example, is cheaper than operating a farm to table high-end bistro.
Your total commercial kitchen equipment cost could be anywhere from under $15,000 to $200,000 or more. Especially if the building itself is not yet ready for the installation of the kitchen. One more thing: remember to account for shipping and other fees in your budget as well.
Restaurant equipment and kitchen equipment are expensive upfront, but the payoff of having an excellent commercial kitchen setup is immeasurable. You wouldn’t skip on hiring a chef, would you? So don’t skimp on their tools, either.
As long as you keep tabs on the average restaurant profit margins and figure out a smart menu pricing guide, you’ll be able to cover the cost.
How To Sell Commercial Kitchen Equipment
So what if you’re not trying to buy a steam table or a bunch of gas ranges? What if you’re really wondering how to sell commercial kitchen equipment?
You can sell your used equipment through a few different options. Like a resale store, the same supplier who sold you the equipment, or an online service. Businesses such as EquipmentTitans specialize in buying commercial equipment.
If you want to keep your resale local, ask repairpeople and other restaurateurs if they know any potential buyers.
We hope our guide to commercial kitchen costs helped you determine your budget for your commercial kitchen. True, you have many decisions to make. But we know you’ll put together your dream kitchen setup.
What’s another essential piece of equipment all restaurant businesses should have on-site? Free guest WiFi. Because who doesn’t want to be able to surf the web while they enjoy a hand-crafted beverage or tasty meal?
This is a surefire way to improve your eatery’s business. You already need to have internet access for your restaurant POS system to work, so go ahead and share it with your clients.
The best part is that while guests enjoy the free internet, you’ll gain valuable client insights and data. If you use WiFi Marketing software, like Beambox, that is. Start your Beambox free trial and begin growing your business today!