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What are the Different Types of Foodservice Equipment?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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Foodservice equipment can be organized into four basic categories. Cooking, cleaning, food preparation and food refrigeration are the four main areas needed when running a hospitality business such as a restaurant or hotel. The exact types of foodservice equipment required depend on the type and size of the commercial eatery.

For example, although all commercial kitchens require an oven, not all will need the same sizes or types of ovens. A small commercial pizza oven that sits on a countertop may work for a restaurant that offers pizza along with many other dishes, while a pizza parlor may have one or more large ovens for pizzas that could take up an entire wall in the kitchen. Some restaurants or hotel kitchens have commercial convection ovens that have fans inside to move the air around so that the food cooks speedily as well as evenly. Conveyor ovens are foodservice equipment mostly found in fast-food and casual eateries as the meals are run on a conveyor belt through an oven to cook them to a set timer. Warming types of restaurant ovens hold food to keep it hot until it can be taken to a customer waiting at a restaurant's table.

Commercial stove tops may be gas, electric or a combination of both. A commercial stove is usually much larger than household stoves. In addition to an oven and stove, many restaurants also have deep frying equipment. A commercial deep fryer is a cart-like unit with wheels on the bottom and a frying unit on the top. An area called a sediment zone is located under the frying section and this collects bits of food and batter that falls off the fried food. Restaurant fryers are used to make popular fried fare such as French fries, batter-coated fish and onion rings.

Electric commercial dishwashers are foodservice equipment used in most hospitality businesses, although some items in restaurants may be hand washed. Most commercial dishwashers are large and strong enough to wash large pots and loads of dirty dishes at once. Food service distributors may also sell large industrial sinks with taps that may include sprayer hoses hung above the sink area for easy access when cleaning produce or hand washing some kitchenware. Commercial kitchens may have both counters and kitchen islands for preparing food and some establishments have large mixers for mixing their own bread and pastry dough. Milk shake mixers, soda dispensers and commercial coffee makers are other types of common foodservice equipment.

Refrigerators and freezers are important restaurant supplies as all food must be properly stored for both good taste and proper safety. Depending on the size of the kitchen, a commercial refrigeration system may include a walk-in refrigerator or it may just have a sliding door fridge and freezer combination. Some hotel and restaurant supplies include chest freezers that are similar to the household type except these are usually much larger.

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Discussion Comments
By mrwormy — On Mar 25, 2014

@AnswerMan- My most important pieces of kitchen equipment were knives and cutting boards. I was a prep cook, so I came in early and processed all of the vegetables and meats for the line cooks and salad makers. I also used a "buffalo chopper" for large scale dicing and a grater for breaking down cheeses and meats.

By AnswerMan — On Mar 24, 2014

For me, the most important pieces of kitchen equipment had to do with storage and serving. My restaurant used a lot of steel quarter and half pans to serve hot food, and large trays and racks for cold storage. All of the pans would fit in the hot bars on the serving line, so the food could be plated up cafeteria-style. Whatever was left over could be wrapped up and stored on racks in the walk-in cooler or freezer. I couldn't do my job without those pieces of equipment.

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