With the increase of restaurant pop-ups on the rise, our experience in small restaurant kitchen concepts is in greater demand than ever before. Fortunately today we live in an age of creativity and innovation that offers multi-functional equipment options for restaurateurs that couldn’t be conceived of only a decade ago. Being experts at fitting “ten pounds of stuff, in a five-pound bag,” we know from first hand experience that creating a small restaurant kitchen layout is a complex undertaking; even for the most seasoned design professional.

We always tell clients that flow and function, equal success; and this is never truer than in a small restaurant kitchen. Understanding the culinary techniques that will be used, and the talent of a chef to multitask provides a principle foundation for our restaurant kitchen design process. Even with this understanding of how chefs work, we take every opportunity to utilize what is termed as “vertical space.” This allows us to incorporate as many multi-use tools possible to offer the greatest level of culinary versatility. As stated by Alton Brown on numerous occasions, “a tool with a singular purpose has no purpose in my kitchen.”

Adding a few pieces of multi-use equipment into your small restaurant kitchen “vertical space” will increase creativity, flexibility and efficiency. The hallmarks of every successful restaurant! Below we are showcasing a few examples of equipment that, for a modest investment will give you the edge over your competition.

Small Restaurant Kitchen Equipment Suggestions

small restaurant salamander broiler


Salamanders, or radiant heat broilers are included religiously in hotel kitchen design projects; but are one of the most underutilized pieces of equipment in the kitchen. Since they emit a tremendous amount of heat, it does take a bit of skill and finesse to utilize them properly. Properly located within eyesight of the chef, they can be used for more than just cheese melting, such as quickly broiling scallops or thin pieces of fish. They also create quickly formed crusts on things such as crème brulee and crostini.

small restaurant modular holding cabinet

Modular Holding Cabinets

Modular holding cabinets are one of the tricks restaurant consultants utilize in the fast food industry. They can be wall or shelf mounted and can be configured to hold hot food items in various pan sizes from full hotels to third pans, which is great for a small restaurant kitchen. Outside of a fast food concept, they work wonderfully to keep resting meats and fish warm until the table is plated.

small restaurant kitchen wall mounted refrigerator

Wall Mounted Refrigerator

Used more often in international markets, wall mounted refrigeration units provide a very efficient use of vertical space. The convenience of storing refrigerated ingredients at eye level and arm’s length increase speed and productivity in the smallest of commercial kitchen design and layout concepts.

small restaurant kitchen wall mounted shelving

Wall Mounted Shelving and Cabinets

We realize this one seems a bit like common sense, but more often than not do we find a tremendous amount of vertical space being underutilized for its storage and quick access capabilities. From wall mounting microwaves and panini grills, to adding heated plate warmers and ticket printers above workstations, wall mounted shelving comes in almost every conceivable configuration you may need in a small restaurant kitchen layout.

As always we recommend you utilize the professional design services of a qualified foodservice consultant to help you in determining which pieces of multi-use equipment is the best fit for your concept.

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