Just like any other food establishment, a take-out restaurant will need a wide range of equipment and supplies to operate smoothly. From containers to bags and basic commercial kitchen equipment, take-out restaurants have a lot of moving parts.
Here’s what you’ll need to get your restaurant up and running:
Restaurant Take-Out Boxes
Take-out boxes are one of the most important supplies at take-out restaurants, and you’ll probably need a wide range of sizes and types.
It’s worth the time and expense to find and purchase quality restaurant take-out food containers. Good quality containers will:
- Prevent spills
- Keep food warm
- Make the food easily transportable
Quality containers are especially important if your menu includes soups, stews and dishes with sauces. Poor quality packaging can easily lead to messy spills and cold food – both of which will reflect poorly on your restaurant.
In the take-out industry, presentation and packaging is almost as important as the food itself. The goal is to make sure that the food arrives home in the condition it was meant to be served.
When searching for restaurant supply take-out containers, you’ll find a wide range of options, including:
In some cases, you can customize containers to include your restaurant’s logo.
Custom Restaurant Take-Out Bags
Along with take-out containers, customers will need bags to carry their orders home safely. You’ll need to think carefully about the type and size bags you’ll offer.
Most take-out restaurants choose plastic bags. While not environmentally-friendly, there’s a reason why plastic is the preferred choice:
- It's durable
- It’s easy to carry
- It aids in the insulation process
Paper bags are a fine option, and new advancements have made them more durable. But it’s important to ensure that the bag can handle the weight of the food. Paper bags are easier to pack, but poor-quality bags can easily rip and tear in transit. If you’re going this route, you may consider a shopping bag style, which has sturdy handles and can accommodate the heavier weight of the food.
Also, consider whether you want to include your logo on the bag, which can help build brand awareness.
Portion Cups w/Lids and Condiment Packets
If your menu includes sauces, dressings and condiments, you’ll need portion cups and lids to contain these items. For condiments, like ketchup and mayonnaise, portion packets will do the trick.
Portion cups should have tight-fitting lids that will stay put in transit.
Cutlery and Napkins
Many of your customers will bring their food home to eat, but others will eat on the go. Unless your menu only includes finger foods, like sandwiches and pizza, you’ll need to provide plastic cutlery.
Customers prefer individually-wrapped utensils for sanitary purposes, and you’ll find a wide range of options here:
Individual cutlery (forks, knives, spoons that are separately wrapped)
Cutlery sets (fork, spoon and knife; or spork and knife)
The cutlery may also come with individual salt and pepper packets or sugar packets for drinks. Many include napkins in the packet.
The cutlery you offer can be as simple or as elaborate as your budget allows. The main purpose is to ensure that your customers have the utensils they need to enjoy their food if they choose to eat it on-the-go.
Along with cutlery, you’ll also need napkins – and plenty of them. Napkins will be a staple in your take-out restaurant, and you’ll want to include a generous amount of them with each order.
Cups, Lids and Straws
If you plan to offer fountain drinks to customers, you’ll need cups, lids and straws. The type of cups you offer should depend on the drink.
If you’re serving a combination of hot and cold beverages, then you may need both insulated cups and plastic or foam cups. And if you’re offering different sized drinks, you’ll need different sized cups and lids.
Food Packaging Wrap
If you’re serving greasy foods, you may want to line your restaurant take-out container with food packaging.
Wraps and sandwiches may also require special wrapping and packaging to ensure that everything stays together in transit.
Grill, Oven and Deep Fryer
Grills and ovens are needed to warm and cook foods.
If your menu includes fried foods, like French fries, you’ll need a deep fryer to cook these items properly.
Freezers and Refrigerators
Every commercial kitchen must have a refrigeration unit of some kind. Refrigerating food items prevents spoilage and preserves flavor.
An industrial-grade refrigeration unit will meet your needs. You'll need to determine whether your restaurant needs a reach-in or walk-in unit. A smaller restaurant will likely only need a reach-in unit.
As for the freezers, there are a lot of variations to choose from depending on the size and needs of your kitchen. The best option for an establishment focused on a take-out is the undercounter or reach-in freezer.
Even if you don’t plan to offer a place for customers to eat in your restaurant, you should still offer a concession stand. A concession stand will allow customers to grab any items they may want or need that weren’t included in the take-out bag, such as:
- Condiments, like ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard
- Salt and pepper packets
- Sugar packets
If you plan to have customers pour their own drinks, your stand should also include cups and lids in the appropriate sizes. Straws should also be available to customers.
Food Prep Counters
The kitchen should be outfitted with prep tables and counters as well as cutting surfaces. Stainless steel is the preferred option in commercial kitchens because it’s easy to clean, resists corrosion and can withstand harsh cleaning products.
Food processors will make preparation easier and quicker. There are a few different types of processors, including:
Buffalo: Heavy-duty processors that are capable of chopping just about everything, from vegetables to meat.
Batch bowl: These collect food as it’s processed. Most units can hold between one and six quarts of food.
Continuous feed: These allow you to continually add food to the unit as it’s processing. The processed food is dispensed in a separate container, which allows you to prepare large quantities of food quickly and easily.
No matter how large is your take-out business whether it is a food truck or a restaurant you can not go without cleaning supplies. You could have the best food but sooner or later if you don’t keep up with the cleaning and keep the records of doing it the local safety officer can shut you down. Every legal food supplier has to keep these records.
There are items you will definitely need:
- Hand sanitizer
- Food surface sanitizer
- Cleaning fluids for food surfaces
- Ceaning fluids for floor and toilets
- Mops and buckets
- Cleaning cloths
- Hand towels
- Bins with lids
- Waste oil containers
Sinks allow employees to wash food, wash their hands and keep dishes clean.
If you plan to operate as a take-out delivery restaurant, then you will need insulated delivery bags. These bags will keep the food warm until they arrive at the customer’s door.
There are a wide range of bag options available, and you’ll also find cooler bags that can keep cold items, such as desserts, cold until they reach their destination.
This basic list of supplies and equipment is not exhaustive by any means. Each restaurant is unique and will have its own needs. The key most important thing is to make sure that you have all of the equipment and supplies to cater to your customers’ needs and ensure that your food arrives in excellent condition.