06 Nov Your Restaurant Equipment Checklist
Purchasing equipment for a new fast casual restaurant can be overwhelming. Restaurant equipment can be costly and you want to make sure you are purchasing the right items, as the success of your food service operation depends on the ability to offer a good product that is marketed well.
The equipment you will need for the restaurant will largely be contingent upon the type of restaurant you are opening, whether it is fast food, mid-scale, casual or fine dining. For example, you will need drive thru signage, headsets and other fast casual tech and drive thru tech for the drive-through of a fast food restaurant. Menu boards, available through a variety of menu board manufacturers, are proven to have a direct effect on drive thru sales and are therefore an important consideration when planning for a fast food restaurant.
The amount and type of equipment will also vary depending on the size of your restaurant. Overall, you will need equipment for the back, serving and dining areas of a restaurant.
One of the most important pieces of restaurant equipment is a point of sale (POS) system. A POS system can make running the restaurant much simpler by tracking sales and inventory. POS systems help to specify the exact amount of product used for each purchase, allowing the restaurant operator to calculate cost of goods sold, which is one of the significant restaurant expenses. POS systems connect register transactions to the restaurant computer and also allow the restaurant operator to print out reports in order to study ways to lower food costs.
A determination of need for small equipment is also based on the type of restaurant. For example, every restaurant will typically need pots, pans and various cookware. However, a fine dining restaurant will likely need more mixers, dicing equipment, cutlery, and marinating pans. Most restaurants will require stainless steel tables and cutting boards for meal preparation. Other types of restaurant equipment to consider include meat grinders, dish washing machines, dough rollers, bread slicers, colanders and blenders.
A big portion of restaurant food is cooked in ovens or on open ranges or stoves. The size and type of stove is largely determined by your potential sales volume and needs. A restaurant operator will also need fryers for preparing food, such as French fries, onion rings and other fried foods. Close to the front of the kitchen area, heating stations will help to keep food warm for short periods of time, until the serving staff brings the food to the consumer. Steam cabinets and a steam table may also be needed if the restaurant will be serving foods such as tortillas, certain meats and hot sauces.
Most restaurants will require refrigerators and freezers in order to store cold foods, such as ice cream, frozen meat, milk, and eggs. A walk-in refrigerated unit for storing foods from the service line will also be needed. Service line foods are those that are left over from the day, such as lettuce, cheese and green onions, which can be stored in tall or shallow metal bins.
Other items to consider, especially for fast food restaurants, are self-service equipment, including soft drink dispensers, ice cream machines, and salad tables.