Commercial Kitchen Costs

Commercial Kitchen Costs You Need to Keep Track of


Commercial kitchen equipment is one of the highlights of starting a new restaurant. But the harsh reality is that commercial kitchen costs round up faster than restaurant owners realize. In some cases, restaurant owners fail to anticipate this hefty price tag and have to figure out the best ways to cut back on costs.

Whether you’re planning to start a new commercial restaurant or you already maintain one, it has become crucial to keep an eye on all your commercial kitchen costs. Your objective should be to find the best strategies to reduce your commercial kitchen costs.

Commercial kitchen costs don’t just apply to restaurants and hotels. Industries are getting more competitive, and businesses now usually have a dedicated commercial kitchen for employees. You’ll find average commercial kitchen costs ranging from just 20,000 to 500,000. This is because your commercial kitchen depends on many variables like legal jurisdiction, physical space, equipment, etc.

While it is a good idea to reference an overview of average commercial kitchen costs you’ll have to bear, remember that these costs are bound to vary and come down to “your” situation. In any case, standard commercial kitchen costs revolve around storage, technology, smallwares, refrigeration, and food preparation and cooking.

Let’s break down the commercial kitchen costs to keep track of to make better spending decisions for your restaurant:

Commercial Kitchen Workspaces

One of the main costs of a commercial kitchen involves a kitchen workspace. It includes in-house tools the staff will need to prepare items from the menu. Additionally, it includes prep tables, worktables, dishwashers, refrigerated prep tables, and drying racks. 

On average, dishwashers can cost you from $5,000 to as high as $30,000. Ultimately, it depends on your budget and how much you’re willing to spend on different items for your commercial kitchen workspace. Depending on how fancy you want your commercial kitchen workspace to look, the worktables can cost from $100 to $5,000.

Fundamental prep tables with a supported sink can cost you from $500 to $3,000. On the other hand, the cost of refrigerated prep tables can go as high as $10,000. On average, drying racks shouldn’t cost you more than $1,000 for your commercial kitchen workspace.

Commercial Cooking Equipment

Commercial cooking equipment is often the most overlooked cost. If you get the wrong equipment, it is bound to increase costs. The wise thing would be to track key cooking equipment items that you have to use regularly to serve customers. Remember, your serving capacity should match your appliances.

So, if you run a small restaurant, there is no need to get high-end cooking equipment suitable for a Michelin-star restaurant. On the flip side, if you’re planning to serve a lot of customers, you’ll need a large kitchen workspace and a diverse range of cooking equipment. For starters, you’ll have to spend money on a few ovens, walk-in refrigerators, and multiple cooking stations.

In commercial kitchens, cooking equipment takes up most of the budget. Since prices of new equipment change all the time, consider these values as average. On deep fryers, expect to cover at least $500, whereas flat-top grills can cost from $2,000 to $5,000. Similarly, smoker ovens can cost from $4,000 to $12,000, while pizza ovens range can cost from $100 to a whopping $20,000. Additionally, if you want to run a successful commercial kitchen, you’ll need a charbroiler that can cost from $1,000 to $10,000.

Specialty Kitchen Equipment Costs

From pasta makers to espresso machines to ice cream machines – track the overall costs of these types of equipment closely. It all depends on your commercial kitchen needs and budget flexibility. You can get an espresso machine from $1,000 to $25,000 for your commercial kitchen.

Similarly, you can get a cheap pasta maker that’ll cost you less than $50. However, some of the most expensive pasta makers available in the market are over $20,000. Ideally, you should find a balance and do some research about products that fit into your commercial kitchen needs and budget.

On top of major specialty kitchen equipment, you would have to cover the costs of utility carts, ticket holders, chafing dishes, smallware serving items, and protective clothing. On average, these items shouldn’t cost you more than $1,000.

Food Storage and Holding Equipment Costs

One of the main expenses of running a commercial kitchen is spending on food storage and holding equipment. Naturally, like the best restaurants and hotels, you want to keep your food fresh and meet all the local health codes.

Now, to keep prepared food dry and hot and ensure stored food stays fresh, you’ll need food storage and holding equipment. If you’re looking for holding cabinets to keep food warm, it can set you off at least $1,000. While you don’t have to get the most expensive food-holding cabinet that can cost over $20,000, opt for the one that costs at least $3,000 to $5,000.

Follow the lead of other restaurants and don’t spend less on commercial refrigeration. After all, it is important to keep food cold just as you would want to keep your food warm. Getting commercial refrigeration allows you to ward off food-borne diseases and illnesses.

Apart from the refrigeration of perishable food items, you can get walk-in freezers and coolers, which can cost you from $5,000 to 15,000 a piece. Prep refrigeration machines are available from $1,000 to $10,000. Other food storage and holding equipment include steam tables, commercial shelves, heat lamps, refrigerated display cases, and ice machines that can cost from $500 to 15,000.

What Else?

Commercial Kitchen Food Costs

Like commercial kitchen equipment and workspace costs, you’ll need to track overall food costs. For many restaurants, food spending takes a significant chunk of their budget. The food costs usually cover 30% of your total costs in the food service industry.

But most restaurants know better – owners often have to spend more money to meet daily, weekly, or monthly food requirements. The trick to mitigating rising food costs is to ensure a perfect balance between low-cost food items, like chicken and spaghetti and expensive items, such as seafood.

Also, you’ll have to track the portion sizes of each serving. As a restaurant owner, you’ll have to guide your employees to adopt habits that can reduce commercial kitchens’ overall costs. Part of the process to cut back costs of any commercial kitchen is to maintain and organize it professionally. Always track your inventory costs and how they may create a ripple effect on the operations.

Tech Costs

You’ll need to invest in modern technology to run optimized and streamlined operations in your commercial kitchen. The main tech expenses revolve would revolve around point-of-sale systems, impact printers, and kitchen display systems.

If there is new equipment that can automate or optimize your back-house kitchen operations, get it before your competitor does. Traditionally, most commercial kitchen costs revolve around hardware and the type of hardware you keep. But don’t overlook software costs that can reduce your commercial kitchen expenses.

Of course, you’ll have to get quintessential items like cutting boards, pans, knives, cutlery, pots, ovens, grills, food processors, mixers, and fryers. Every time you invest in appliances like a refrigerator, ice machine, freezer, or beverage dispenser, consider the tech element. Ask yourself if it is advanced enough to speed up operations and can help you save money over time.

What Impacts Your Commercial Restaurant’s Kitchen Costs

So, how much does it cost to start a commercial kitchen? Well, it depends on your operations and whether or not you plan to scale. Whether it’s storage, technology, or food prep and cooking equipment, make a habit of tracking costs related to your commercial kitchen.

Many restaurants tend to outfit their commercial kitchen workspace, equipment, and appliances. In the end, it affects your set budget and forces you to invest more than you have to. You want to create a perfect space for your restaurant’s commercial kitchen, but at the same time, it is equally important to cut back on expenses.

The good news is that there are many ways to decrease your restaurant’s commercial kitchen costs. In fact, restaurant owners are always on the lookout to implement new tactics to reduce their overall expenses. For instance, you can buy second-hand equipment for your commercial kitchen. While second-hand and used equipment has a bad reputation, it is a common practice for commercial kitchens around the world to use second-hand or refurbished equipment.

If you’re not quite there to start brick-and-mortar operations, you can start food truck operations to reduce your commercial kitchen expenses significantly. Food trucks require fewer appliances and a small team to run operations. Not to mention, you’ll also spend less on insurance coverage, permits, and licenses.

As a restaurant owner, figure out all your commercial kitchen needs from the start. Understand that you can always upgrade later. So, start commercial kitchen operations slowly. Most importantly, select a restaurant workspace wisely to reduce commercial kitchen costs.


Operating a high-end commercial kitchen involves careful management and planning of costs. If you want to stay within your budget and ensure kitchen commercial costs don’t spiral out of control, then track essential costs and take cost-effective measures to mitigate these costs.

You’d be surprised how tracking and evaluating kitchen commercial costs can improve your profitability. Remember that tracking commercial kitchen costs is not a one-time activity – it takes continuous effort to mitigate these expenses.

If you overlook expenses related to your commercial kitchen, then it will become difficult for you to stay within the budget. No matter how small the measure may be –consider every cost-saving alternative, strategy, and solution that can push you to achieve your business goals faster.

Not all commercial kitchens are the same. So, opt for the commercial kitchen cost that falls within your budget. Most importantly, carefully distribute resources and start by covering the essential needs of your restaurant’s commercial kitchen.

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