Fitting out a commercial kitchen can get pretty expensive – something we learned pretty quickly moving up from a food truck. You could write a wish list a mile long of all the gear you could want in your kitchen, so it’s important to know what you need to get up and running and get those doors open.
When we were in the process of establishing the equipment needs for our restaurant Sum Yung Guys, we had to keep asking ourselves three really important questions:
- Is the equipment essential for delivering a menu item?
- Where does it fit in the budget?
- Can we open the doors without it?
Basically, if it wasn’t essential to the fit out and if we could still serve up all our menu items without it, then it was pushed to the wish list. This happened with a few items, including a second wok burner. We adjusted our menu to ensure our single wok burner could keep up with the number of stir fry dishes we had until we could justify a second one.
In case you’re wondering, these were the essentials we needed to get the doors open.
• Oven (we needed a combi oven)
• Flat top
• Deep fryer
• Refrigeration (we were lucky enough to have a cool room already on-site that only needed some maintenance work done)
• Ice machine
• Wok burner
• Hood (existing)
• Grease trap (existing)
Remember, it’s important to be practical with your budget, but make sure you get the right gear from the start and don’t skimp on the big ticket items (take advantage of Silver Chef, so you don’t have to shell out your cash upfront). Another piece of advice I can offer you is to not forget about design and practicality!! Storage, flow and functionality are key to your efficiency and profitability.
This is just what I needed to get my doors open, but for every restaurant, café, pub, bar or even a food truck, it will come down to your venue size, budget, cuisine, location and competition. Speak to a venue designer or even an equipment supplier to help separate your equipment wants from your equipment needs.
Matt Sinclair has worked in front-of-house hospitality for almost 15 years. He was a runner up on Season 8 of MasterChef, inspiring him to start up the hugely successful 10 Piece Cutlery Food Van at the Brisbane EatStreet Markets.
Now, Matt has taked the plunge into owning a restaurant which opened its doors in June 2007. Follow his journey from food lover, to food van owner to fully-fledged restaurateur.