When discussing restaurant grade equipment, it’s not uncommon for someone unaccustomed to working in a kitchen to ask how professional kitchen appliances and tools differ from those designed for use at home. On the other side of the spectrum are those who assume that restaurant grade equipment must objectively be better in all cases, and wonder about getting their own for home use.
Restaurant and consumer level equipment differ in a wide variety of important ways. Similar appliances designed for one environment may be, and probably are, entirely unsuited to fit the needs of another. In order to illustrate the differences, below we’ll look at a few key examples of how the two grades differ.
Appliances intended for home use are typically designed to be compact, square, and small to medium in size. Home appliances need to be able to fit into small, designated spaces in the kitchen, with little deviation.
Restaurant appliances can vary wildly in size but are often noticeably larger than those intended for residential use. Restaurants are very specific in the type of equipment they purchase in order to meet their needs effectively, and kitchen areas and layouts are often designed around where the appliances need to be for efficiency purposes, rather than a predesignated location.
Expanding on the immediately noticeable differences, the difference in appearance is also notable. Home appliances are designed to look good and are often selected to fit a specific style in the kitchen area, or throughout the house.
Professional kitchens aren’t terribly worried about the cosmetics of their equipment, as the primary concern is the effectiveness of the commercial kitchen equipment. Reliability is key in a professional kitchen, and cosmetics are likely to fade with the heavy use expected from restaurant grade appliances.
3. Home Appliances are Often Specialized
Outside of appliances such as ovens and refrigerators, it’s not uncommon to find a variety of specialized, single-purpose appliances in a household. These appliances can range from egg cookers to pizza makers and are typically only useful for their specific job.
Restaurants prefer tools and appliances that have multiple uses, and chefs pride themselves on the way they use their tools and create their food. Most specialized appliances found in home kitchens accomplish tasks which could be better accomplished with a multi-use tool. A breakfast restaurant doesn’t have space for egg cookers when they can easily boil or fry them with other vital equipment.
The most important difference between the two types of equipment can be found in the way they’re designed. Safety is a primary concern for home use equipment, and every decision that goes into designing it reflects that. Larger knobs, lower maximum temperatures, and appliances which are slower to heat are all intentionally designed that way in order to prioritize safety in home kitchens.
Safety is important in a restaurant kitchen too, but those who work in a restaurant kitchen are expected to be professionals with experience. Smaller, looser dials to control temperatures, fryers which their peak heat within a matter of seconds, and ovens that are designed to handle large quantities of food at high temperatures are all normal in a restaurant. Professional grade equipment is designed for heavy use, typically for upwards of 12 hours or more, without any issue.
Home equipment is designed to be lighter and ventilated easily. Restaurant equipment is often very heavy, sometimes requiring additional supports depending on the floor, and must be ventilated very carefully through a variety of means not available to most homeowners.
These differences represent only a few of the ways in which each grade of equipment is designed to fit a very specific type of kitchen. It’s important to always select the right equipment for a kitchen. If you’re thinking about upgrading residential equipment to restaurant equipment, keep these differences in mind and remember that each grade exists for a reason.