For the new restaurateur, the basic cooking supplies needed are similar to those needed at home but of commercial size and grade. Ovens, dishwashers, sinks and refrigerators make up a significant capital expenditure if not already present. Microwaves and small reach-in refrigerators and freezers may be enough for smaller establishments, while larger restaurants need multiple ovens and walk-in refrigeration units along with food preparation areas. Beverage stations are a necessity for any restaurant where patrons sit and eat.
Beyond the supplies needed by all or nearly all restaurants, the cooking and serving supplies required must conform to whatever the menu and the space dictate. Kitchenware and supplies needed to reopen a sandwich shop differ greatly from those needed for an Italian restaurant in a brand-new building. A Japanese restaurant may require a sushi bar, while a Mongolian barbecue requires a large electric or gas-powered wok. A buffet or self-serve soup-and-salad bar needs steam and cold food wells as well as the supplies needed to prepare the food to put in them.
All restaurants also need all the pots, pans and containers to store and cook the food, throughout a shift or throughout the week. Chefs and fry cooks both need knives, serving spoons, spatulas, ladles and measuring cups. For those serving large numbers of people using standard plates and cutlery, a conveyer dish-washing machine may be expensive but pays for itself in time saved over hand-washing.