Cafe Equipment Checklist for New Business Owners

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Imagine you have finally been able to open the café that has been your dream since you were young. Your first customer walks in orders a coffee and a croissant. 

You ring them up on your cash register and ask them to be seated. You serve up their coffee, and just as your customer’s croissant finishes warming up, you have a horrible realization. In all the excitement of opening your café, you never got around to buying plates. How are you meant to serve your customer their croissant?  

Having suitable café equipment is vital to running a successful business and giving your customers a pleasant experience with your brand

However, many things go into running such an establishment. 

That is why we have come up with this café equipment checklist to help you keep track of everything you will need to open your café. 

This café equipment checklist is meant as a guide to help you get started, but the things you include on your café equipment checklist will depend on the type and size of your café and other considerations such as your budget. 

Let’s get to it!

Your Café Equipment Checklist 

cafe equipments

Let’s look into what to include in your café equipment checklist. 

Drink and Food Preparation 

Let’s start with the equipment you will need at your café to prepare drinks and other food items for your customers. 

Naturally, the production of coffee beverages, and food is at the heart of your business, and you’ll need a wide range of equipment to guarantee that you can meet your customers’ needs.

You’ll be significantly better off if you carefully check off each of these elements before opening your doors than if you do it without performing the hard work first.

While your requirements may vary based on the foods you’ll be presenting. They’re almost all necessary.

Drip Coffee Maker

Since black coffee will account for a significant amount of your store’s sales, you’ll need a coffee machine that can keep up.

Your coffee maker should be durable enough to brew a considerable amount of coffee every day, large enough to create vast quantities of coffee, and fast enough to fulfill demand during the busiest periods of the day.

Multiple coffee machines brewing various blends simultaneously are standard in coffee cafes but don’t overextend yourself. Most successful coffee shop operators recommend having three or four different blends on hand at any given time.

Espresso Machine 

A commercial espresso machine is undoubtedly one of the most necessary purchases you can make.

While you may want to begin small and inexpensively, this does not imply you should scrimp on the espresso machine.

Remember that busy periods can strain your workers and equipment, so having a machine to support the operation is essential.

Choosing an efficient model with all of the durable characteristics for your location will be crucial to your success.

Small-to-medium coffee businesses, for example, benefit significantly from a semi-automatic machine with two group heads. It allows your cafe to prepare four coffees at once or have two baristas working at the same time.

Coffee Grinder

You’ll want to include a coffee grinder in your cafe equipment list because most coffee businesses use unground beans to provide the freshest coffee possible.

The right coffee grinder may significantly improve your coffee or espresso’s flavor profiles and scent.

A blade grinder or a burr grinder are two options. As the name implies, a blade grinder utilizes a sharp blade to smash the hard beans to brew.

Burr grinders have two abrasive burr surfaces that grind a tiny amount of beans at a time. Burr grinders give baristas better control over the grinding process since they grind more consistently.

Water Filtration System 

Installing a suitable water filtration system might positively impact the coffee quality.

The water content of a cup of coffee is 98 percent. This number implies that the water you use is equally vital as the coffee beans to brew the ideal cup.

Water filtration systems capable of supporting the demands of a coffee shop do not have to be costly. It’s crucial to test the water first to determine what type of filtration system is appropriate for your business.

A proper filtering system may increase the life of your espresso machine in addition to affecting the taste of your entire coffee.


If your coffee shop provides a limited range of hot food, as at least 60% of coffee shops do, according to a survey, you’ll need a dependable means to make your food fast.

Most coffee shops provide breakfast sandwiches, or at the very least bagels and pastries, necessitating the use of a conveyor or pop-up toaster.

If you want to sell frozen breakfast sandwiches like Starbucks does, you’ll need a quick but small oven (or two) that baristas can easily access.


According to a consumer survey conducted in 2019, 38 percent of cafe patrons buy blended beverages more frequently. To take advantage of this trend, you’ll need at least one blender.

Refrigerator or Freezer 

You’ll need refrigeration equipment to keep your food and dairy products fresh.

Commercial refrigerators, reach-in refrigerators, and under-counter refrigerators are all forms of refrigeration that you can utilize in a café.

Determine this equipment’s size and capacity by your requirements.

Remember that refrigerators are an essential component of your coffee shop’s design, so they should be elegant and in keeping with the overall theme.

Furniture and Seating 

Now that we have gone over some of the food preparation equipment you may need let’s move on to other equipment categories. 

People may not consider furniture as equipment, but in a café, you need tables, desk chair, and other items to offer sitting for customers.

You want to ensure you choose the right furniture for your location. 

When it comes to furniture and décor, comfort should be a significant consideration. You must consider these elements not just in terms of beauty but also in terms of functionality.

Crockery and Cutlery 

Selecting your serving cups is where you should spend some time and thought. If you’re serving coffee to dine-in visitors, you’ll want to strike a balance between appearance and functionality.

Since breakages happen, and they will, such items must be inexpensive and easy to repair or replace. You also have the option of choosing from a variety of sizes, for example, a cup, mug, or piccolo.

Besides this, you will want to think of the following:

  • Drinking glasses
  • Cutlery 
  • Plates 
  • Cooking utensils  

Cleaning Supplies 

Not only will your cafe need to deliver a pleasant and clean customer experience, but it will also need to adhere to health regulations, which will require the use of specialized cleaning equipment.

Depending on the health codes in your location, these item needs may vary significantly. Try looking into your local council’s or government’s applicable rules and regulations.

Considerations When Completing Your Café Equipment Checklist 

It is not just as simple to create a list of equipment and check everything off the list with the first result you find. 

You want to make sure you consider the exact item you are purchasing since everything on your checklist should be viewed as an investment for your business, no matter how small. 

Here are some considerations to consider when completing your café equipment checklist. 


The equipment you choose for your restaurant must be of a certain quality to ensure that the equipment will be both efficient and durable in the long run. 

To be worth the purchase, you want the equipment to fulfill the purpose you brought it and be long-lasting, so you don’t need to replace it frequently, if at all. 

The quality of various appliances, such as ovens, coffee brewers, and even your cutlery, may impact your café business. 

Choose high-quality, long-lasting equipment, and make sure you do your research and ask around before making any significant purchases. 

Consider who will maintain the equipment and if they can repair it.


When choosing your café equipment, keep your brand’s model in mind to make the right choice. 

The type of café you wish to run will help you decide which equipment you should prioritize and invest in. 

You may also want to consider buying secondhand equipment. While this choice may seem to be saving you money, consider how it may cost you more in the long run in terms of upkeep and repairs.

Maintenance Costs  

When you consider the price of any equipment, you also want to consider how much it will cost to maintain it. 

It would help to keep any equipment’s maintenance costs to a minimum. Cleaning, polishing, laundry, and other forms of care are required regularly.

If properly maintained, particular coffee and culinary equipment may last a lifetime. As we mentioned above, you want to choose equipment that will be durable, and the way you maintain it adds to this. 

Consider inquiring about maintenance with your provider, and choose equipment based on how easy it is to fix.

Train your employees on adequately cleaning equipment to remain in good working order.

Replacement of Equipment 

While the aim should be that you need not replace equipment, at times, this is inevitable. Therefore, when you choose equipment, you should select something easily replaced. 

It should be simple for your cafe to repair broken equipment without difficulty. This ease is significant in the case of cutlery and plates. 

You want to choose a set of plates that are not too specific to allow you to easily replace any broken plates and ensure they match the rest of your café’s equipment. 

Storage and Space 

Understanding your space constraints early on will help you rule out options that aren’t practical. Calculate how much space you have to create your layout and pick what equipment to use.

You want to choose equipment that will not take up a lot of storage space and should be simple to keep.

The size of the equipment you choose should make sense in the space that you have. 

It would be illogical to have an industrial-sized coffee machine if your café is a cozy layout with not a lot of counter space. 

Design and Theme of Your Café 

You need to consider the design and theme of your café when considering the equipment you choose to purchase. 

The equipment must complement the café’s concept and décor. It adds to the mood and eating experience overall.

How Much Does Café Equipment Cost?

lower operating costs

According to an article by Crimson Cup, adding a specialty coffee service to a bakery or café can cost between $25,000 and $75,000. This amount is on top of a small restaurant’s equipment costing up to $300,000.

It’s critical to plan ahead of time for all of the café equipment you’ll need to get up and running.

One of your major expenses will be equipment; the most significant piece of equipment you’ll need to purchase is a high-quality coffee maker.

You must invest in a dependable espresso machine that makes excellent coffee. Especially considering this will be the main focus of your café. 

A commercial machine of decent quality will cost you at least $10,000. You can choose between a semi-automatic and super-automatic espresso device. 

A good semi-automatic espresso machine can set you back $2,000 to $5,000, while a super-automatic espresso machine would set you back $5,000 to $20,000.

The total cost of the coffee-making apparatus might range from $4,000 to $12,000. This price includes a semi-automatic espresso machine, espresso grinder, coffee brewer, and coffee grinder. After that, you’ll need to think about the other café equipment we described above. 

Considering the costs of your café equipment plus rent, employee wages, utility bills, etc., consider looking into restaurant financing options. Such options can keep your spending under control. 

In Summary 

Given your coffee menu and idea will primarily dictate your coffee equipment requirements, it’s critical to prepare a business strategy and set a budget before making a purchase. Especially when you consider that, aside from the location, the equipment is the most expensive aspect of the business.

Your cafe will have a solid foundation to become a success if you have the correct tools and equipment in place.

While starting a cafe isn’t simple, we hope that our exhaustive cafe equipment checklist will help you get off on the right foot.

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