So, you’ve finally got the money together to open your café – the dream! You’ve found the perfect spot, signed a lease, and have the décor down to a T in your mind’s eye.
But first, you’ll need to fit your space out with the basics in terms of a commercial kitchen equipment checklist to make it run smoothly. In this article, we’ll tell you what those things are, so fret not! As one of the biggest providers of kitchen supplies in Perth, we’re confident we can be a one-stop shop for everything you need.
1. A High-Quality Coffee Machine
Unlike a restaurant, the very first thing you need is – and the clue is in the name here – a coffee machine. And not just any coffee machine, but a high-performance one. It will be taking pride of place behind the bar and be by far the most visible piece of machinery in the establishment, so it needs to look good. And not just that, but you’ll need all the trimmings: a tamper for packing coffee grounds nice and tight, a knock-out bin for getting used grounds out quickly and neatly (and not to mention with panache), a shaker for dusting mochas and cappucinos with cocoa powder, a teeny tiny milk jug for milk work on those flat whites Australia’s so famous for.
Do this properly and you’ll have the most important bit sorted: just think of a café at a peak time, when the staff are all moving perfectly in time with one another. It’s like choreography and can be amazing to watch. With the right hardware and some enthusiastic employees, this could be you!
Of course, no café is complete without dishes! To go with your machine, you’ll need crockery. For a café where crockery will be getting heavy use and going through a commercial dishwasher (another essential) at high temperatures, you’ll want some hard-wearing stoneware, and the colours are up to you!
3. Hydration Station
No café worth it’s salt these days doesn’t also have a water station with a jug and glasses or even a spot where customers can fill up their water bottles.
Lay out several large jugs full of tap water and stacks of small glasses near the end of the bar, where you would lay out sugar, sweetener, stirring sticks, etc. Speaking of, you should decide whether you want your extras station to feature sugar sachets or sugar cubes, etc. It’s worth thinking about now, not before you make the decision in a rush and end up with something glaringly wrong for the vibe of the space.
4. Food Prep Necessities
Next, you’ll be needing to think about food. If you’re a straight-up sandwich and coffee joint, then you’ll be wanting a Roband Contact Grill. And what applied with your coffee machine applies here too: it will be visible to customers and prominently placed, so it needs to look good.
If taking away, sandwiches mean paper bags and paper napkins (and none of that scratchy stuff, by the way, a real paper napkin, thick and soft to the touch). If staying in, paper napkins are also a necessity. And then there’s cutlery. If possible, don’t scrimp on it. Invest in heavier, stainless steel cutlery and your clientele will tell the difference. It will be obvious from the moment they pick up a fork that you’re a cut above the rest. (Remember: you’ll be buying wholesale, so while that last piece of advice may sound scary, it won’t be so bad by the time you’re buying a long-lasting product at a reasonable price).
5. Add some flair
By the time you get to the tables, think of what you’ve appreciated in your favourite cafés before. Of course, you’ll need the usual salt/pepper shaker combo, but what about decoration?
Small flower arrangements (or big ones, for that matter) can be a delight in a café, and can be very inexpensive for the overall value they add, especially if they’re in quite simple rustic receptacles, like reclaimed jars, old milk bottles, or water carafes. Take a flower arranging course, learn to forage or get plenty of inspiration – ambiance makes all the difference in luring people in off the street! And you know it’s important, because The New York Times are reporting on the trend for wild grasses in flower arrangements. Come twilight, tealights are always a treat.
6. Refrigeration Requirements
Behind the scenes, of course, you’ll be wanting a fridge. This piece of hardware should really have been the first thing in this article, as it is foundational to any food establishment.
Invest in a good, big fridge and half of your planning will be done for you, because it will save you money. If you’re making any refrigerated desserts on site, make sure it has the capacity for multiple cakes. Alternatively, you can buy a glass-fronted fridge to show them off to customers. Otherwise, the fridge will be relegated to a back room, so no need to worry about it being too good-looking.
That’s pretty much it – we wish you the best of luck and hope to see you online soon! Have questions about fitting out your café with the essential supplies? Get in touch with the experts at Stanlee today or come visit our Osborne Park showroom.