restaurant equipment list
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

Whether you’re just starting or you’ve been in the business for a while, there’s one thing you need to remember: it takes more than great food to make a successful restaurant.

Every business has to deal with a lot of moving parts, but restaurants have unique challenges and needs. In addition to developing a menu and perfecting recipes, you have to think about things like décor, service, and of course, equipment.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry—we’re here to help. In this article, you’ll find a detailed list of all the restaurant gear necessary to open a successful eatery, café, or bistro. This restaurant equipment list will include not only the big items you’ll need to get started but also some smaller ones that you won’t want to overlook.

So without further ado, let’s dive in!

Restaurant Equipment List for All Your Business Needs

Dining room operations equipment

Your restaurant’s dining room is where your customers will experience your food and service firsthand, so you’ll want to create a welcoming and comfortable environment. How will you do that? By ensuring you purchase the right equipment:

  • Tables and chairs. Of course, you’ll need enough tables and chairs to seat your guests comfortably. Depending on the size and layout of your space, you may want to consider investing in some booths.
  • Tabletop items. In addition to tables and chairs, you’ll also need to stock your tables with all the necessary tabletop items, such as flatware, glassware, and dishware. Decor items like candles and vases are also required to create a warm, welcoming ambiance.
  • QR code menus. With many people wanting to avoid touching shared surfaces, QR code menus are a great way to provide your guests with a touch-free experience. You can make a QR code menu for free using our generator. Watch the video tutorial below to learn how:

Kitchen operations equipment

The kitchen is the heart of any restaurant. It’s where the magic happens, the food is prepared, and the orders are sent out. That’s why you must make sure your kitchen is well-equipped and organized. Here are some of the essential pieces of restaurant equipment you’ll need to guarantee your kitchen runs like a well-oiled machine:

  • Kitchen display systems. A busy kitchen can be a stressful place, with staff running around and hand-written notes flying between the front and back of the house. This is where a kitchen display system (KDS) can help. A KDS is a digital order viewer used to replace your paper tickets and kitchen printers. It allows you to see all orders in one place, track their progress, and ensure they’re being handled correctly.
  • Commercial ovens. An oven is an essential part of your kitchen arsenal. When choosing a new oven, consider the type of food you’ll be serving and the volume of orders you’ll be cooking.
  • Ranges and ventilation. Ranges come in all shapes and sizes, from small countertop models to large floor-standing units. If you’re doing a lot of cooking, you’ll need a range that can accommodate your pots and pans. And if your kitchen is going to be doing a lot of frying, you’ll need to ensure you have proper ventilation to avoid any accidents.
  • Refrigeration. A commercial refrigerator is a must-have for any restaurant kitchen. You’ll need it to store ingredients, prep foods, and keep finished dishes fresh.
  • Ice machine. For any restaurant serving cold drinks, an ice machine is a must. Make sure to choose an ice machine that’s the right size for your restaurant as well as one that can produce the type of ice you need.
  • Smallwares. In addition to the big ticket items, you’ll also need an assortment of small items for your kitchen, such as cutting boards, mixing bowls, pots and pans, utensils, and more.
  • Storage racks and shelving. To keep your kitchen organized and running smoothly, you’ll need a place to store all of your supplies and ingredients. Racks and shelving maximize space and keep everything within reach.
  • Food processors, mixers, and blenders. These are essential for any kitchen that does a lot of cooking and prep work. Food processors, professional juicers, mixers, and blenders will make quick work of chopping, pureeing, and mixing.
  • Commercial dishwashers. A commercial dishwasher is a must-have for any restaurant that wants to serve quality food. Dishwashers can wash large quantities of dishes quickly and efficiently, freeing up your staff to focus on other tasks.
  • Sinks. Your back-of-house staff will need access to a sink for washing dishes, hands, and other items. Make sure you have enough sinks to accommodate your staff and your dishwashing needs.
  • Work tables. Your kitchen staff will need a place to prep food, assemble dishes, and perform other tasks. Make sure you have enough work tables to accommodate your staff and their workflow.
  • First-aid kit. No matter how well you train your staff or how well-equipped your kitchen is, accidents happen. That’s why it’s important to have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand, just in case.

Front-of-house operations equipment

Your front-of-house staff is the face of your restaurant. They greet your guests, take their orders, and ensure they have a positive dining experience. And that’s why you have to make sure they have all the necessary equipment to help them do their jobs.

  • Point of sale (POS) system. A restaurant Point of Sale (POS) system is a must-have for any restaurant owner. Not only will it help you keep track of sales and inventory, but a good restaurant POS system streamlines your operations and makes your restaurant run more efficiently. Some POS can also integrate with your restaurant systems like your business phone system, inventory management software, and any other tools you may use.
  • Online ordering system. Accepting orders online will increase your visibility and boost your revenue. With the GloriaFood online ordering system, anyone on your staff can accept online orders in seconds, be it front-of-house or back-of-house staff. All they need is a smartphone or tablet. And best of all? It’s free!
Free online ordering system for restaurants Accept online orders with the tap of a button directly on your phone or tablet
  • Cameras. Cameras are a good way to deter theft and monitor your front-of-house staff. They can also be used to review customer interactions and help you improve your service.
  • Computers. Your front-of-house staff will need access to computers for taking orders, processing payments, and more. Make sure you have enough computers to accommodate your staff and your restaurant’s needs.
  • Table tents. Table tents can be a great marketing tool to promote your specials, upcoming events, and new menu items.

Tips to Help You Start Your Restaurant Equipment List

Now that you know what types of equipment you’ll need for your restaurant, it’s time to start putting together your list and checking off the items.

But with so many different options on the market, how do you know where to start? These tips will help:

1. Know your needs

Before you start shopping for restaurant equipment, it’s critical to know what you need. Make a list of the must-have items for your kitchen and front-of-house operations, and then prioritize based on importance.

2. Work within your resource constraints

Resource constraint is a term that haunts every single entrepreneur, whether they’re in app development, selling a product, or opening a restaurant. And with good reason. How you manage your resources will determine the success or failure of your business.

To be successful, work within your resource constraints when purchasing restaurant equipment. For example, if you don’t have the budget for top-of-the-line gear, look for cheaper alternatives that will still get the job done. Or, if you’re short on space, consider compact or multi-purpose equipment that can do the work of multiple pieces at once.

The type of food you’ll be serving will have a big impact on the restaurant equipment you need. If you’re planning on serving lots of fresh, made-to-order meals, you’ll need different equipment than if your menu consists primarily of pre-made or frozen foods.

4. Consult with your staff

After you have compiled a list of the essential items, bring your staff into the process. Employee input matters a great deal because they will be using the equipment every day. Involving your staff in this process is one of the ways you can increase their engagement and ownership in the business.

5. Stay up to date

Sure, you don’t need all the bells and whistles when it comes to restaurant equipment, but having the latest and greatest can help your business stand out from the competition. Keep an eye out for innovative equipment that can improve the customer experience, reduce waste and food costs, or increase efficiency in your restaurant.

Now, you don’t have to replace all your equipment every year but think about adding a few innovation pieces here and there over time to stay current.

Just like how businesses adopted the trend of creating contactless experiences like digital business cards and touchless payment systems at the start of the pandemic. Or how companies are leveraging marketing automation to achieve greater efficiency and scale their marketing campaigns.

Such investments signify a readiness to embrace modernity and adapt to customer preferences in order to deliver improved experiences.

A Successful Start

When it comes to new restaurants, first impressions are key. If a potential customer walks into your establishment and is unimpressed with what they see, they’re likely to never come back.

To keep customers coming back, your restaurant needs to be up to par in both appearance and functionality. And to do that, you need to have the right equipment. This restaurant equipment list will help you get started on outfitting your establishment with everything you need to succeed.

This article is a guest post.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She creates guides and resources designed to help restaurants grow their presence online and boost sales.

She has been featured on the Oracle Food and Beverage Blog and wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.

Find me on LinkedIn.