On the Line / Operations / Essential Bakery Equipment Checklist

Essential Bakery Equipment Checklist

Plan for all the equipment you need to make breads, sweets, and pastries in your bakery with this ultimate guide.

Bakery equipment

DISCLAIMER: This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting, tax, HR, or other professional advice. You are responsible for your own compliance with laws and regulations. You should contact your attorney or other relevant advisor for advice specific to your circumstances.

Bakeries require a lot of specialized equipment when compared with other restaurant business models. Bread bakers, patisseries, and cake shops all require different types of equipment that are unique to the business.

As part of your bakery’s business plan, decide which equipment is essential for operation and budget for the costs. Consider buying equipment, maintaining crucial machines, and replacing fragile or single-use items. This guide helps you build your ultimate equipment list.

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What Equipment do you Need in a Bakery

Bakeries are artisanal businesses that require fine-tuned equipment. Investing in equipment for your bakery will ensure that you can produce the quality products that you expect to deliver to your customers. 

1. Ovens

2. Ranges, Grills, and Ventilation

  • Gas range
  • Flat range
  • Induction
  • Smokers
  • Small-space ventilation

3. Microwaves

4. Freezers and refrigerators

  • Ice maker

5. Food prep surfaces

6. Food prep equipment

  • Knives
  • Cutting boards
  • Pots and pans
  • Mixing bowls
  • Food processors
  • Blenders
  • Mixers
  • Storage containers and shelving
  • Etc.

7. Safety equipment

  • Gloves
  • Aprons
  • First Aid Kit
  • Date Labels
  • Sani-buckets
  • Bar rags
  • Food grade chemical supplies
  • Chemical Safety Data Sheets

8. Sinks

  • Compartment sinks
  • Disposal sinks
  • Handwashing sink

9. Dishwashers

10. Restaurant point of sale system

11. Kitchen Display System (KDS)

12. Serviceware

  • Table service essentials
  • Paper boats, plates, or clamshells
  • Utensils
  • Napkins
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How Much is Equipment for a Bakery

Equipment for a commercial bakery can cost anywhere from $60,000-$200,000. Buying used equipment and investing in maintenance might lower your overhead and recurring equipment expenses, as bakery equipment makes up a significant chunk of the cost to open a bakery. It’s also a good idea to consider restaurant financing options to keep your finances flexible and to have a cushion for emergencies.


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Things to Consider Before Buying Restaurant Equipment

Making vegan croissants is difficult enough – be careful to invest in the right equipment for the job so that you can take some of the stress out of the operation. Imagine yourself making your dishes on a commercial scale and write down all the equipment you’ll need from start to finish.

Take a measured approach to selecting and purchasing equipment for your bakery – being careful here will save you time and effort down the line as your equipment keeps your business running smoothly. Choose high-quality equipment that is reliable and easy to maintain.

1. Quality

Your kitchen equipment is one of your biggest investments – remember that your kitchen equipment is essential for your bakery’s operation and ability to generate profit. Select equipment that is high-quality and durable. Consider researching high-dollar purchases like mixers, ovens, and knives. Evaluate new and used equipment with the same, exacting scrutiny to be sure of your investment.

2. Space

The space that you plan to operate your bakery in is a crucial factor influencing the size of the ovens, kinds of equipment, and storage space you have. Be sure to plan to buy equipment that fits into your space and will be easy to use where you need it.

3. Planning Your Kitchen

Working in a kitchen that hasn’t been designed for the cooking that you do there is frustrating, time-consuming, and can harm service quality and profit. Kitchen planning is intricate for bakery equipment. Consider seeking the advice of a kitchen planning consultant who will help you to plan the space according to your menu and service style so that it will all run smoothly. They might also provide valuable advice about selecting only the necessary kitchen equipment for the space.

4. Use and Cleaning

Maintenance on your investment in bakery equipment is crucial for its durability. Consider how comfortable the piece of equipment is to use, how well it performs its function, and how you would get it clean. Train staff on how to clean and maintain equipment daily, weekly, and monthly to ensure their maximum use. The NSF symbol on food equipment ensures that meets food safety certification standards.

5. Suppliers

As with any business, bakeries are built on relationships. Your relationship with an equipment supplier is a critical one. Many towns and cities have local restaurant supply stores that, for a membership fee, offer premium ranges of equipment at near-wholesale prices. The best suppliers will be honest about the technology, engineering, and safety of the products they sell and provide installation, maintenance, and repair services.

Sourcing Restaurant Equipment

Sourcing restaurant equipment is half the battle. Once you have a comprehensive list and a vision of your fully-equipped bakery, start shopping around. Local restaurant wholesalers often have good deals, or you might lease from a reputable online retailer, or rent equipment until you can afford to invest.

New vs. Used Equipment

New equipment might always seem like the best choice, but some expensive (and essential) pieces of equipment might be better used. Consider finding an oven or deep freezer that has been maintained over the years and make a plan to keep it up – you’ll save up front and over the course of your venture.

6. Pricing

When budgeting to buy bakery equipment, prioritize quality by how important the equipment is to your process. If you’re making pasty, a dough sheeter might be your expensive best friend. The most important equipment warrants the highest quality which often comes at the highest investment – and secures returns on that investment. Buying used equipment might save you some money upfront but cost more in maintenance and repairs later.

7. Financing or Leasing 

If this article is making you anxious about affording all the nice bakery equipment, financing or leasing equipment can be a good option to get your business started and take on less risk until you’re sure the model will succeed. 

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Ultimate Bakery Equipment Checklist

1. Ovens

Commercial convection or combination ovens are one of the biggest purchases (or leases) that you’ll have to make when opening a new bakery and it is important to make a measure decision. The kind of oven you buy will determine what kind of pastries, cakes, pies, and breads you can bake and how much you can bake at a time.

Professional boulangeries often opt for massive, multi-tier combination ovens to produce breads and pastries at scale. Other bakeries use small, powerful convection ovens to bake cakes and pies quickly and evenly.

The oven will likely be the center of your business – take your time and buy a quality oven, new or used, that you know someone who will be comfortable repairing it that you can rely on. You’re going to put it to work and can expect things to break from time to time. 

2. Ranges, Grills, and Ventilation 

While you might not be cooking on open surfaces in your bakery often, you might want to invest in a range to sauté fillings for breads or pies.

Gas range

Gas ranges are easy to control, versatile, and reliable, and a gas range is always a solid investment if natural gas cost efficient and sustainable in your area.

Flat range

Flat ranges are sustainable, requiring very little electricity to operate for a long time and are perfect for cooking certain kinds of food – for finishing burritos and sandwiches, or cooking eggs, pancakes, and bacon. If your bakery doubles as a café, a flat range might be a good choice.

Induction

Induction burners generate an electromagnetic current to heat a surface. Magnetic metals transfer heat the best and can be used to heat glass or other surfaces. Induction is a sustainable, versatile, space-conscious, and cost-effective option for bakery equipment.

Ventilation

As with any restaurant, it is important that you provide enough ventilation for your oven’s heat output so that your bakers aren’t suffocating in the space. It is typically easier to ventilate for ovens, but be sure to install ventilation and sprinklers over gas ranges or donut deep fryers.

Think about the size and space of your kitchen and ensure that your ventilation system has enough power to keep smoke and hot air out of the space you or your cooks have to work in. Ventilation is crucial for providing a safe kitchen environment.

3. Microwaves

Many bakeries use combination convection/microwave ovens to reheat pastries or breads. This powerful tool is a good investment if you intend to open your bakery space to dining guests.

4. Freezers and refrigerators

Bakeries often have walk-in refrigerators – large batches of sourdough starter or commercial sizes pats of butter for croissants need a large space to chill. This might be one of your most costly investments so quality and repairability are important.

Ice maker 

Your bakery would only need an ice maker for a few reasons but if you’ll think you might need one, it’s better to have ice on hand than to be caught without it.

5. Food prep surfaces

The professional kitchen setup comes with stainless steel counters and cooking surfaces. They are easy to sanitize and ensure that you don’t transfer unwanted extra heat at crucial steps in the preparation process. Wood surfaces are cost effective and can be refinished, concrete countertops are durable, and granite is cooler than even stainless – each has their benefits, but stainless steel works just fine for most operations. Decide which combination of surfaces is right for your bakers. 

6. Food prep equipment

All the small appliances, utensils, mixing bowls, and microplanes that are necessary for your production process will need to stay stocked in your bakery – you don’t want to be caught in a rush without a necessary piece of equipment. 

Knives

Knives are a central part of cooking and prep, and a good chef and their knife move as one – invest in a set of knives and learn how to keep them sharp for both safety and efficiency in the kitchen. You’ll also want a sharpening stone to keep your investment in good condition.

Cutting boards

Quality cutting boards make a noticeable difference in the prep experience – boards with lips or grooves around the edge to keep liquid on the board, or those that have handles for easy handling are restaurant equipment favorites. Make sure to buy various colors for different types of prepped food, like red for meat, blue for fish, green for veggies, and yellow for chicken. 

Pots and pans

The kinds of pots and pans you use will likely be decided by personal preference and necessity, but consider choosing quality pieces that will become assets to your bakery. Pots and pans are valuable, essential equipment that lasts a long time when maintained properly.

Mixing bowls

Mixing bowls come in a variety of materials that each have benefits and setbacks – plastic, stainless, ceramic, or glass. Decide which combination works for your bakery menu.

Food processors

Food processors are great for soups and sauces and for ensuring that you get an even chop or mince during prep – a worthwhile investment.

Blenders

Certain businesses – smoothie shops and juice bars in particular – rely on quality blenders as essential equipment. While they can be expensive, commercial blenders are reliable.

Mixers

Stand mixers and hand mixers are invaluable time saving equipment for bakeries. Some commercial bakeries rely on massive 25 or 50-gallon mixers to meet demand. Your mixer will be a crucial investment and it might be prudent to network with a specialized repairman – mixers are funny machines and repairing them can save hundreds.

Storage containers and shelving

Storage is always a must, for safety and organization, and the cost can add up quickly. Don’t forget to budget both space and money for storage. Storing dozens of pounds of flour, sugar, and other dry goods requires space and shelving to ensure they stay fresh.

Etc.

This is probably the most important category – the rest. All the stirring spoons, whisks, rolling pins, spatulas, piping bags, silicone pads, or anything else you’ll need to outfit your bakery for operation. The little things add up so it’s crucial to plan and budget for them — and for small pieces that are easily misplaced, be sure to buy backups.

7. Safety equipment

All restaurants are held to food safety standards and must have certain equipment on hand. Restaurant supply services provide restaurants with the range of necessities on a regular order, including but not limited to:

  • Gloves

  • Aprons

  • First Aid Kit

  • Date Labels

  • Sani-buckets

  • Bar rags

  • Food grade chemical supplies

  • Chemical Safety Data Sheets

8. Sinks

In kitchens, sinks must be dedicated for use, meaning that you'll likely have to find space for two or three in your bakery's layout. 

Compartment sinks 

Three compartment sinks are a common way to meet food safety standards for washing and sanitation – wash, rinse, sanitize. 

Disposal sinks

Disposal sinks, also often called bar sinks, are conveniently located to catch any liquid you need to throw out from washing or preparation.

Handwashing sinks

Dedicated handwashing sinks must be available for employees in a kitchen space.

9. Restaurant point of sale system

Restaurant point of sale systems provides a technological answer for a lot of the complexities of operating a bakery or any restaurant business. They provide a way to integrate inventory management, budgets, sales reports, and communication between the front- and back-of-house operations. Keep everything running smoothly with cutting edge interfaces for service and convenient logistical solutions tailored specifically for cafes and bakeries.

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10. Kitchen Display System (KDS)  

Kitchen display systems will let your cooks know what customers are ordering in real time – this might not be a concern for some bakeries, but if you plan to serve sandwiches or other café items with your artisanal breads, perhaps, then a KDS might be useful. They are integrated with your bakery’s point-of-sale system to result in smooth, efficient service.

11. Serviceware

Serving pastries in your bakery or sending the customer home with nicely packaged cakes or breads is part of the experience. Choose servicewear that is true to your style and sustainable for your business model.

Table service essentials 

Bakeries aren’t known for table service but supplying customers with house-made jams or spread for bread, honey for pastries and muffins, or other toppings that might let customers make the experience their own might be your style. Provide these on a service bar or customer tables with all the necessary utensils. Serve pastries in baskets for rustic flare or on china to elevate the experience.

Paper boats, plates, or clamshells

The real choice here is one of budget and it’s a critical one for bakeries and other take-out heavy restaurant models. To-go servicewear is costly and buying eco-friendly even more so but looks great for your brand.

Napkins or Linen

Crumbly pastries and luxurious mousses are inevitably messy. Be sure to provide, and budget for, a way for your customers to clean themselves up.

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