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Essential Catering Equipment Every Commercial Kitchen Needs

November 22, 2023

An Analysis of All the Key Areas in Commercial Kitchens

These kitchens serve restaurants, hotels, catering services and other food-related businesses. The kitchens work with an established tradition that ensures food preparation safety, hygiene and efficiency.

Workflow is one of the most essential factors in a commercial kitchen operation. The latter term denotes the process of food processing, cooking and presentation. 

In most commercial kitchens, the workflow begins with ingredient preparation and then proceeds to cooking, plating and serving. The order process should ensure that there is no chance of cross contaminations and timely preparation of food as well as the best quality.

Essential catering equipment is another important aspect of commercial kitchens. To prevent the accumulation of harmful bacteria, the equipment should be periodically serviced and cleaned.

South Africa’s Laws and Regulations for Commercial Kitchens

  • South African Consumer Protection Act (No. 68 of 2008) for ensuring safe, accessible and sustainable trade practices that protect consumers’ rights. This act covers aspects such as product liability, labelling, marketing, contracts, and complaints.
  • Other regulations that apply to the licensing and operation include the Food Act (No. 14 of 2011) and the Business Act (No. 71 of 1991). This act covers aspects such as zoning, health, safety, and environmental requirements.
  • Agricultural Products Standards Act (No 119 of 1990)—Sets the standards and specifies for agricultural products, which includes foodstuffs. This act covers aspects such as quality, grading, packaging, and marking.
  • Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act (No 54 of 1972) deals with the sale, manufacture for sale or importation or exportation of foods. This act covers hygiene, contamination, additives, and labelling aspects.

Some of the laws for commercial kitchens in South Africa include; however, other laws and regulations are tied up with the type of business you engage in and location. As such, consulting with the relevant authorities and experts is advisable before beginning or running a commercial kitchen.

Top 10 Must-Have Catering Equipment

1. Oven – Baking, roasting and reheating food items require a commercial oven and a commercial one!

2. Refrigeration System – In this regard, a commercial refrigerator and freezer combo are required to assist in keeping the foods at a suitable temperature that ensures food does not get spoiled.

3. Cookware and Bakeware – Cooking equipment like pots, pans, and baking trays, among others, are also required for food preparation.

4. Food Processor – A food processor ensures quick and efficient chopping, slicing or pureeing of ingredients.

5. Cutting Boards –  For one to prepare food and avoid cross-contamination, cutting boards are essential tools.

6. Knives – Slicing, chopping and carving food items require high-quality knives.

7. Mixers – The functions of mixers are indispensable for doughs, batters, sauces and food products.

8. Utensils – You cannot cook food without using the basics such as tongs, spatulas, serving spoons, and other utensils.

9. Dishwasher –  Cleaning and sanitising dishes, cutlery, and other kitchen equipment will require a commercial dishwasher.

10. Shelving – Shelving provides an organised storage mechanism for kitchen equipment, ingredients, and other valuable items.


Workflow is one of the most essential elements in commercial kitchen operations. This involves the procedures that are done to food, from preparing, cooking and serving. 

In most commercial kitchens, the process begins with ingredient preparation and cooking, followed by plating and serving. The organisation must set up the workflow to prevent cross-contamination, guarantee timely food preparations and apply the best quality.

Using vital catering equipment is another significant area related to commercial kitchens. Refrigerators, ovens, stovetops, dishwashers and other specialised equipment include mixers and blenders. The equipment becomes breeding grounds for harmful bacteria and should be periodically cleaned, if not, the workflow can be seriously affected, 

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Besides equipment, commercial kitchens adopt safe operating procedures (SOPs) that promote safety in the process of preparing food. These SOPs concern such disparate topics as food safety, hygiene, and storage. For instance, SOPs for food safety can involve handling raw meat. However, hygiene SOPs can include hand washing and surface sanitisation.

Cleanliness and Training

Cleanliness is one of the vital components of commercial kitchen operations. The spread of harmful bacteria and other contaminants cannot be eliminated if commercial kitchens are not kept clean. This involves cleaning equipment, floors and surfaces on a regular basis.

Lastly, the role of training in successful commercial kitchen operations cannot be overstated. The training should cover all staff members’ food safety, hygiene, and kitchen procedures. This ensures there is conformity, and everybody works on the same standards, thus easing in running an efficient kitchen.


Commercial kitchens are complex, with many factors at play daily to ensure that product is stored and dealt with correctly. Training goes a long way in getting a workflow that suits the staff and gives excellent results in the dining room. In this highly regulated market, you need the right catering equipment, and you must always be sure to tick every box as they are all equally important to the finished product.