The equipment requirements for a restaurant differ from restaurant to restaurant. More elaborate equipment is necessary if a restaurant owner is looking to offer a full menu of hot and cold items and alcoholic beverages. Even where a restaurateur plans to offer only cold menu items, such as salads and sandwiches, basic equipment is necessary for smooth operation and food safety.
Dish- and hand-washing stations are integral to restaurant operations; both are typically required by local health departments. Many industrial restaurant dishwashers automatically dispense dish-washing liquid, or chemicals, and keep water at a set temperature. A hand-washing station is typically required to prevent the spread of food-born illness and bacteria.
Ice Machines and Refrigerators
Refrigerators are a must for any restaurant. Many food items must be kept at a minimum temperature, as required by food safety codes. Restaurant refrigerators come in many sizes, from full walk-ins, to reach-ins with refrigerated drawers. Automatic ice machines are necessary, particularly for restaurants with full bars and cocktail offerings.
Stainless steel prep tables are standard kitchen equipment, as prepping food, particularly meat and poultry, on other types of surfaces is unsanitary. Stainless steel prep tables can be free-standing or attached to other equipment, depending on the configuration of the kitchen.
Freezers and Grills
Freezers are essential for food storage, as food cannot always be used immediately. Restaurant freezers come in different shapes and sizes: Chest freezers, stand-up freezers and walk-in freezers are all commonly found in restaurant kitchens. Gas grills are standard equipment in restaurant kitchens, as gas heat is more reliable for even cooking. Gas grills come in many sizes and can come with a flat top attached.
Safety equipment is required by state and federal law. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires first-aid kits in the workplace. Restaurant first-aid kits should contain items suited to the types of injuries that commonly occur in kitchens. Fire extinguishers are also required. Local fire marshals inspect new restaurants to ensure compliance with fire codes; this includes making sure the restaurant has the correct number of fire extinguishers for its size and configuration.