The short answer to this question is that is costs a lot. There are always more appliances and pieces of equipment than you think you’re going to need when setting up a kitchen for a restaurant or café, and in truth, prices are going to vary hugely depending on what exactly you’re going to be serving, and how many customers you expect to be servicing a day.

–Lay the Groundwork

While the first thing that you might think about when you talk about big appliances and costs might be the ovens and grills; the things that actually cook your food, they are not the most expensive considerations in a commercial kitchen. The three areas in which you’ll spend the most are in ventilation, plumbing and refrigeration.

Ventilation involves making sure your kitchen doesn’t get full of smoke, steam and grease, which can easily be as extensive as plumbing. Units can stretch through the entire kitchen, and will also need maintenance; it’s no surprise that new restaurateurs look for premises that have been kitchens before, especially when there’s a lot of legislation.

You can never have enough fridge or freezer space, which is why it can get expensive. Walk-in units are pricey, but few would argue that they aren’t worth it. Sinks and the rest of the plumbing needs to be of a good quality to avoid constant maintenance.

Flooring is a consideration that people can often forget – do you need tiling for the entire kitchen, or dura grating for the wash area?

–Cooking the Food

Once the essentials are out of the way, you can start looking at the ovens, grills and fryers. To a certain extent, they’ll be influenced by what you plan on cooking. Most good start-ups will consider their menu before making large purchases.

It’s also a good idea to think about space and value; is there any point buying a large flat grill if you’ve only got one item on the menu that uses it? Be smart.


When the big appliances are sorted, it’s time to think about those smaller ones that might not be used as frequently, but which are still useful or essential. This includes everything from electric can openers to blenders. You’ll also need a huge quantity of utensils.

The estimate is that it will cost between 25 and 100 thousand to fit a commercial kitchen, and it can be quite difficult to keep costs down. The best thing you can do is work backwards. Start with your menu and only buy what you absolutely need.