While the exact specifications of a restaurant’s equipment will depend on several factors, such as the style of food establishment, the kind of food on the menu and the volume of guests it serves, there are several kinds of equipment that almost all restaurant chains have in common. These common commercial equipment pieces help to increase the efficiency of restaurant operations and consequently elevate the service provided and overall dining experience for guests.

Cooking Equipment

Gas Range

Gas ranges are often used for high-traffic restaurant chains due to the reduced time it takes to heat up and cook food. They are also an energy-efficient and cost-saving option, with electric ranges costing up to twice as much to operate compared to their gas counterparts. For chain restaurants that operate on a large scale, the cost saving is significant. However, it’s important to note that this is dependent on the cost of electricity and utility bills in your area. Additionally, electric ranges are sometimes considered safer due to the risk of leaks with gas ranges. 

In a high-volume restaurant, you may see a gas range with up to seven or eight burners that help cooks multitask. It is important to note that with any gas range, you will need the proper overhead exhaust systems to help circulate air and clear potentially hazardous fumes. 

Convection Oven

Convection ovens circulate air while cooking, reducing the amount of time needed for rotating food to ensure even cooking. They also cook food faster, improving a restaurant’s efficiency in serving guests. Convection ovens are available in both gas and electric options. Like ranges, gas ovens can be less expensive to operate.

Ovens and ranges most often come together as one unit, saving both space and money. A gas range with a convection mode will be most efficient for cooking at high volumes and speeds. 

Deep Fryer

Almost every North American restaurant chain has french fries on their menu, requiring a deep fryer for fast preparation of the crispy fan favorite. Floor fryers are often the best choice for restaurants as they’re built to withstand constant and high-volume use compared to tabletop deep fryers, which are more appropriate for home cooking or lower-traffic restaurants. Having a deep fryer is a safer option than deep frying in steep pots, as commercial deep fryers are designed with safety in mind and often control temperature to prevent overheating and fires. The equipment also allows restaurants to deep fry large batches of food at once. 

Cooling Equipment


When it comes to refrigeration equipment, commercial kitchens have many choices between walk-in, reach-in, and under-counter refrigerators. Often, large chains will use a combination of all three, using under-counter fridges for prepped food while using walk-in or reach-in refrigerators for produce, meat, and seafood. Having dedicated prep fridges will reduce the amount of time needed to walk to the larger refrigerators, improving the restaurant’s speed in making orders. 

Additionally, smaller customer-facing cooling equipment can be used for drinks and on-the-go snacks to help increase sales. 


Similar to refrigeration, the type of freezer in a commercial kitchen will depend on the size of the restaurant’s kitchen space and the volume of food it prepares. Due to their capacity and space, walk-in freezers may be the best option for chains that serve an extremely high volume of customers. Freezers give restaurants the ability to stock up on inventory of perishable items and keep them fresh. It is important that the size of the freezer is comparable to the restaurant’s output to ensure items are not sitting too long in the cold without being defrosted and sold. 



Chain restaurants serve a high volume of guests, so having dishwashing equipment with the capacity to handle a high amount of dishware is vital to ensuring efficiency and staying on top of sanitizing. Commercial dishwashers function differently than home dishwashers, washing dishes at high speeds and temperatures, as most restaurants will go through hundreds of dishes in a day. 

Commercial Sink

Some areas require food premises to have two or three-compartment commercial sinks to ensure proper hygiene standards are met in food preparation areas. Regardless of the local laws, having a proper commercial dishwashing sink is a must for chain restaurants. Most sinks are equipped with a high-pressure hose to remove food particles from dishes and cutlery before being placed in the dishwasher. Some restaurants use the second or third compartment to fill with hot water and sanitizer. 

Most restaurants will also have a utility sink for emptying mop and sanitizer buckets and dedicated hand-washing stations for employees. Keeping any sinks used in food preparation separate from cleaning materials and potential contaminates in essential for restaurants. 


Each restaurant’s equipment needs will vary depending on its size, menu, and average output. Some may need specialized equipment such as pizza ovens, smokers, meat saws or grinders, sous vide, or pasta machines. However, for chain restaurants, commercial ranges, cooling equipment, and dishwashing equipment are the essentials you will find in virtually every restaurant’s kitchen. 

Fahad Javaid, General Manager of Operations at Zanduco, a well-known North American food equipment and services e-commerce store. Fahad’s profound understanding of the intricacies of restaurant and food services, coupled with his passion for innovation, has solidified his reputation as a prominent figure in the field. Fahad is extremely passionate and has an in-depth understanding of the FES industry. He is always willing to go a step further in understanding a customer’s business problem deeply and suggest products and ideas that would be the best fit for the business.

Outside Insights, Story