How to Run a Bar: Basics of Kitchen Appliances - dummies

How to Run a Bar: Basics of Kitchen Appliances

By Ray Foley, Heather Dismore

Your bar’s menu really dictates what appliances you need (or more accurately, your appliances determine what foods you can serve). Unless you’re intent on making food a top priority at your bar, your menu should really take advantage of basic kitchen equipment.

Keep handy a list of electricians and mechanics in your area. The longer your equipment is down, the more money you’re losing. It’s important, very important, to keep everything in working order.

Here the basics of what kinds of equipment most bars use are covered, but your list may vary:

  • Grills: These are a staple in any bar that serves food, which is why so many call themselves a “Bar and Grill.” You can cook many different things, from burgers to steaks, or even eggs and bacon.

    Choose both a flattop grill (like a big skillet) and a grated grill (with an open flame, sometimes called a charbroiler) if you have the money and space. You can easily use them both.

    Grills are good candidates for buying used, especially if they’re gas.

  • Broilers: These appliances are fairly versatile and come in many sizes. The large size can be used for things like steaks and chops. A smaller version is handy for quickly melting cheese on soup, nachos, and open-faced sandwiches.

  • Ovens: You’ll need one of these if you plan to serve anything that can’t be prepared on the grill or broiler. Here are the varieties you may consider:

    • Convection: Circulates air around food. Best for quick and even cooking.

    • Conveyer: Heats and cooks top and bottom. Great for sandwiches, burgers, and pizza.

    • Microwave: Great for reheating and cooking quick items.

  • Dish machine: Every bar must have one of these. They are beyond essential. In the bar business, most of your washing will take the form of racks of glassware rather than stockpots and skillets. Enter the commercial dish machine, complete with crazy-quick sanitizing cycles.

  • Sinks: You’ll need a hand sink for almost every station. Buy the best and have them installed by a great plumber. Check with your local board of health for requirements on what supplies should be stocked near a hand sink.

  • Grease traps or interceptors: These are passive devices required by municipalities to stop grease, fat, oil, wax, or debris from entering the city’s sanitary sewer system.