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Cafeteria & Restaurant Equipment Buying Guide

There are numerous types of cafeteria and restaurant equipment, ranging from fryers and griddles to ice cream machines and frozen beverage dispensers. Mobile and countertop units offer versatility for smaller kitchens, while bigger ranges and ovens allow you to meet the demands of large crowds. Make sure you know if you need to bake, fry, broil or chill before choosing your equipment. The following criteria will help you narrow down your choices:


Electric - Most cafeteria and restaurant appliances run on the U.S. standard for power: 120 Volts at a frequency of 60 Hertz. Some equipment may require a NEMA 14-50 or NEMA 10 plug for higher power requirements, usually 240 Volts or 208 Volts. These plug types are common in kitchens and industrial areas, but be sure you have the proper hookups before ordering your appliance.

You might also see Watts and Amps in the specifications; these measurements let you know how much electrical power a product will consume.

Gas - Ovens, ranges and other cooking equipment often use natural gas to create a flame. Gas output is usually measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units) per hour to give you an idea of how much energy you can expect to use.

You might see several unusual abbreviations in the product specifications. The term W.C. stands for "inch of water column," which tells you the gas pressure you need to operate an appliance. NPS is an abbreviation for "nominal pipe size," a term meant to let you know the inside diameter of a hose or pipe.


Deciding on the right equipment size can be hard, so make sure you measure your kitchen or cafeteria carefully before ordering. Countertop appliances are ideal for areas with little space, while units with wheels allow you to easily arrange your equipment to suit your needs. Restaurant equipment operates on two main types of commercial gas, propane and natural. Propane is more efficient and environmentally friendly than natural gas, but is also more expensive and less commonly available.

Ranges, fryers and ovens come in a variety of sizes and capacities so you can choose the right model for your situation. Keep these things in mind while you shop: the number of people you'll cook for regularly and the size of your kitchen.


You may see several ratings listed in the specifications under most cafeteria and restaurant equipment. Here's the meaning behind those ratings:

Energy Star - Any product receiving an Energy Star has met the strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

UL Listed – Any appliance with a UL listing has passed tests for fire and shock hazards, as determined by the Underwriters' Laboratories. Most schools require an appliance be UL listed before it can be placed in the building.

CE Certified - CE stands for Conformité Européenne, and means European Conformity in French. When an appliance is marked as CE certified, it has passed a series of safety and performance tests set up by the European Union.

NSF Certified - Any cafeteria equipment that is NSF Certified has passed tests for ease in cleaning and sanitation.

Take a look at all of our cafeteria and restaurant equipment by clicking here.

Need additional information or want to order over the phone? Give our trained sales team a call at 1-800-260-2776. It's also safe and easy to order online. Click the link above to start shopping.


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