Top Products for Small Kitchens
From bulky pieces of equipment to towering storage racks, it doesn’t take much to fill the space in your kitchen. But, what if you run a commercial kitchen that’s smaller than the norm or if you're a food truck owner? Fortunately, some foodservice equipment manufacturers have created lines of compact and multipurpose appliances that are perfect for small kitchens! Keep reading to learn what constitutes a small kitchen, get advice from a small kitchen owner, and find out the best equipment for small kitchens.
What is a Small Kitchen?
Since each restaurant is different, there is no typical size for a commercial kitchen. Most kitchens range from 500 to 2,000 square feet in size, so anything that is less than 500 square feet can be considered a small commercial kitchen.
Types of Small Kitchens
The products listed below can be used not only for cramped restaurant kitchens, but for the following businesses:
- Food Trucks
- Concession Stands
- Walk-Up Window Restaurants
- Small Diners
- Small Bakeries
Advice From a Small Kitchen Owner
The best way to learn about how to choose equipment for a small commercial kitchen is to talk to someone who works in one. We chatted with Michael Sirianni, manager and operator of the walk-up window restaurant turned food truck, Buzz, located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The business started out with a 9' x 11' kitchen, which is about 100 square feet. The company later transitioned into a food truck, which is an even smaller space, making it essential that no space is wasted.
Challenges of a Small Kitchen
“It’s pretty close quarters with the other employees, but the biggest challenge of working in a space this small is how often we have to order our ingredients,” says Sirianni. Since Buzz specializes in making food with fresh ingredients and has limited refrigeration space, they have to order their supplies more frequently and in smaller amounts, which can be more costly than ordering in bulk.
Choosing Equipment for a Small Kitchen
When choosing the equipment he would need, Sirianni had to ask himself, “How do we cook things?” While this may seem like an obvious question, it’s one of the most important starting points to opening up any kind of foodservice establishment.
From here, he was able to figure out what equipment was necessary and what he could do without. “It would be really nice to have a real prep station or a real line, sort of like what Subway has, but there’s just no room for it”, stated Sirianni. To deal with the lack of space, the equipment he uses has to be multipurpose. For example, not only do his fridges provide him with a place to keep ingredients cool and within easy reach, but they also double as a worktable for assembling sandwiches and flatbreads.
Cooking Equipment for Small Kitchens
Cooking Performance Group 36-CPGV-6B-S30 6 Burner 36" Gas Range with 30" Standard Oven
With (6) 30,000 BTU burners and a 30" standard oven, this compact range is perfect for cooking signature dishes in your small kitchen. Best of all, this range comes with a 5" retractable ledge that provides you and your employees with usable work space.
Other cooking equipment:
- Avantco F102 20 lb. Dual Tank Electric Countertop Fryer - 120V, 3500W
- Avantco EG16N 16" Electric Countertop Griddle
Refrigeration Equipment for Small Kitchens
Avantco SS-PT-27-HT 27" Sandwich Prep Table
This Avantco sandwich prep table combines storage with a useful prep station. With a full length 10 1/2" deep cutting board, this sandwich prep table is perfect for assembling your food. There is also a handy refrigerated storage area below where you can store prepped ingredients. This fridge also features a topping rail that can hold up to (6) 1/6 pans and (2) 1/9 pans, making it for storing all of the ingredients and toppings for your pizzas, sandwiches, and salads.
Other refrigeration options:
- Traulsen TS048HT 48" Salad / Pizza Prep Refrigerator with One Door - Specification Line
- Turbo Air TST-60SD-D2 60" Super Deluxe Refrigerated Salad / Sandwich Prep Table with One Door and Two Drawers
Sinks and Warewashing Equipment for Small Kitchens
Regency 39" 16-Gauge Stainless Steel Three Compartment Commercial Sink without Drainboards - 10" x 14" x 12" Bowls
This commercial sink provides you with (3) 12" compartments to rinse, wash, and sanitize all of your dishes, which is a requirement in any size commercial kitchen. The 39" length of this product makes it compact and ideal for cramped kitchens.
Other sinks and warewashing equipment:
- Noble Warewashing UH30 High Temperature Undercounter Dishwasher
- Regency 12" x 16" Wall Mounted Hand Sink with Gooseneck Faucet
- Eagle Group C314-24-3-24 Three 24" x 24" Bowl Stainless Steel Commercial Compartment Sink with Two 24" Drainboards
Storage for Small Kitchens
Regency 18 Gauge Stainless Steel 12" x 36" Solid Wall Shelf
This product helps you take advantage of vertical storage space, which is great for any tiny kitchen. This stainless steel shelf also features two support brackets and a 150 lb. capacity, so you can even store your bulkier ingredients and supplies.
Other storage options:
- Regency 24" x 24" Stainless Steel Microwave Shelf
- Advance Tabco WCS-15-96 96" Stainless Steel Wall Cabinet with Sliding Doors
- Advance Tabco PS-18-144 Stainless Steel Wall Shelf with Pot Rack - 18" x 144"
Holding and Warming Equipment for Small Kitchens
Avantco W50 12" x 20" Full Size Electric Countertop Food Warmer - 120V, 1200W
This food warmer is designed to hold foods at safe temperatures, making it quick and convenient to serve your guests warm meals. This product also preheats in under 30 minutes, so you can set it up while you're preparing your food.
Other holding and warming options:
- APW Wyott PD-1A Infrared Freestanding Heat Lamp Display Warmer 120 V
- Avantco HPU-1812 Undercounter Half Size Non-Insulated Heated Holding / Proofing Cabinet with Clear Door - 120V
- Avantco W62 Heat Lamp / Food Warmer 2 Bulb Free Standing
Working in a small kitchen can be difficult, but fortunately there are many types of foodservice equipment that have multiple functions or that are designed to be compact that can make it easier. When designing the layout of your kitchen, you need to carefully consider which types of equipment you really need and research if there are compact versions of those pieces of equipment. Additionally, small kitchen and food truck owners may want to see if doing heavy cooking in a commissary kitchen is the right option for your business.