Factors You Should Think About While Picking Professional Kitchen Equipment.

Ah, the choices! When purchasing professional kitchen equipment, the process of deciding what to buy can be overwhelming. Used or new? Where to buy? Which brand? Lease or own? These decisions don’t have to be daunting – there is a way through the maze.


As a first step, start with the essentials. What menu items do you offer? Make a starting list of the equipment you need to prepare each menu item. If you sell pizza, you’ll need pizza pans, a grill and ovens. Do you need deep fryers, a grill, steamers and griddles? Leave no stone unturned; make sure you’ve accounted for it all.


Start with the basics; you can always add items on as you go. Here are some necessary essentials:

  • Range
  • Oven
  • Grill
  • Deep-fryer
  • Reach-in or walk-in cooler
  • Freezer

Next, how will you serve items? If yours is a buffet restaurant, you will need cook and hold ovens and warmer tray equipment. Do you serve cocktails? You’ll need lots of barware items.

Another factor to consider is your restaurant capacity. How many people can you accommodate at any given time? Be sure that you are creating a list that considers this scale. Also be sure to take your kitchen layout into consideration. Both the space and the layout will dictate your equipment purchases. Food needs to flow smoothly from the prep area to the line, so closely consider your kitchen’s function when creating your restaurant equipment list. Think about how many employees will be in your kitchen during your busiest time, and organize it to avoid bumps, spills and other accidents.

Don’t forget about safety equipment that is necessary for you to get your permits – items like a vent hood for example, or fire extinguishers. Make sure you have considered the type of appliances for your gas and electric cooking needs. Storage needs should also be considered; think about where you will store your food and dishes.


Last but certainly not least, consider your overall budget. With the average restaurant opening cost at a cool quarter of a million dollars ($250,000) money goes fast. You can certainly buy new equipment; in fact, if you can afford it, new is certainly better. However, items do depreciate immediately after purchase, so you may want to consider buying some items used from an auction or restaurant supply store.


In general, refrigerators, freezers and ice machines should be purchased new. You will know you can meet the health code requirements and you can avoid any cross-contamination to your kitchen. It is simply not worth the risk of having a bad health inspection. Refrigerators and similar used equipment often have hidden issues that could be very costly down the road if you need repairs. Furthermore, if you have a freezer or refrigerator that is out of commission, you could lose a huge inventory to spoiled food.

Used equipment has pros and cons. On one hand, you can find gently-used high-quality equipment still under warranty for a fraction of the cost of new items, sometimes for pennies on the dollar. On the other hand, some auction purchases are not under warranty, so you take on added risk. Auctions generally tend to be a great place to buy items like flatware, glassware, dishes, utensils and bread baskets. You can also usually buy these items fairly reasonably at auction:

  • Sauté pans, stock pots and saucepans
  • Baking sheets
  • Chef’s knives
  • Mixing bowls
  • Steam table
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Rubber floor mats

Purchasing for a commercial kitchen is a huge investment. Don’t be tempted to buy before you complete your comprehensive list. Also look for duplicate items and make sure you are not buying too few or too many of any one particular item. Most of all, prioritize your needs because you may not be able to buy it all at once. Once you’ve done all of this due diligence, it’s finally time to buy. Happy shopping!