How to set up a commercial kitchen

Updated January 11, 2018

A commercial kitchen is generally defined as one that's set up to make food for sale, but institutions like prisons, schools and nursing homes have kitchens that share the same elements. Some homes are being built or remodelled to accommodate this kind of kitchen. Set up a commercial kitchen with these basics, and then customise it to suit your restaurant or institution. Scale down these fundamentals for a commercial-style kitchen in a home.

Install flooring that will be comfortable for kitchen staff to stand on for several hours. Use materials that can be cleaned thoroughly.

For the walls, choose interior paint that can be washed without being damaged. Paint the walls.

Select overhead fixtures that will provide enough light to all areas of the kitchen. Install a sprinkler system in case of fire, and provide work stations with hand-held fire extinguishers.

Create at least three cooking stations with stoves, ovens, fryers and a flat top. Some kitchens will also need small cooking appliances like microwaves, stand mixers and convection ovens.

Invest in a whole-room ventilation system, and put hood fans over cooking areas. Install wood-burning stoves in pizza restaurants.

Put in stainless-steel counters, with open shelving for pots and pans underneath for prep work. Install commercial dishwashers and sinks away from the food preparation and cooking areas.

Install a walk-in freezer and a cooler. Build a large pantry for dry goods. Create closet space for linens and other non-food supplies. Line a wall with open shelves for serving plates and bowls, small appliances, pots and pans and kitchen utensils.


Before you start, check local building codes for commercial kitchen specifications.


Poor ventilation is frequently an issue in commercial kitchens. Make sure your system can handle the load.

Things You'll Need

  • Flooring
  • Wall covering
  • Lighting
  • Sprinkler system
  • Ventilation supplies
  • Fixtures
  • Appliances
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About the Author

Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copy editing full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.