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Commissary Kitchens: Your Guide to Commercial Kitchen Equipment

With lower risk, speed to market, and flexible pricing, food entrepreneurs are choosing to start their business in commissary kitchens.

Coho has a community spanning four commissaries that are home to not only ghost kitchens, but also caterers, private chefs, meal prep companies and bakeries. To serve a growing community, Coho kitchens have to be equipped with a range of equipment to suit our membership’s production needs.

If you’re ready to start your food business today, but unsure what you can expect to find in a commissary. In this article, we’ll help you understand the kind of equipment you may find in a shared kitchen space.

brand new commissary kitchen in Vancouver

Food Storage:

On average, food cost accounts for 25-30% of your total margins. After purchasing your ingredients, proper and reliable food storage is important not only from a food safety aspect, but to maintain the longevity of your ingredients.

Most commissary kitchens can be outfitted with custom cold and dry storage, but often come included with an industrial walk-in fridge, freezer as well as dry storage shelving.

Food Preparation:

Whether it’s folding hundreds of dumplings or packaging orders for your ghost kitchen it all relies on the single most used piece of equipment: tables.

Identifying if your commissary has stainless steel tables that are adjusted to a proper prep height, will save you hours of cleaning, and years of damage to your back. Food preparation also includes your personal investments such as knives, cutting boards, and heat-proof rubber spatulas.

A few extra dollars could potentially save you hundreds in labour costs, replacement costs or personal damages.

commercial equipment commissary kitchen

Commercial Kitchen Equipment:

Cooking equipment can vary based on your needs, but having access to a wide variety of commercial kitchen equipment will let you experiment with different concepts or provide a resource to scale your current production.

Commercial grade stoves are a combination of both oven and range. They are most similar to what you would find in your home kitchen but are outfitted to operate at higher temperatures and hold larger capacities.

Commercial ovens are capable of holding a larger capacity and retaining heat more efficiently. They cook fairly evenly through radiant heat circulated by a fan.

Deck ovens are suited better for high-volume baking, as they allow for a larger surface area. They come with a few additional features like steam injection, and fan speed control and provide an even radiant heat - perfect for bread baking.

Combi-Ovens provide similar functions as deck ovens but offer three types of heat transfer: dry heat, steam, and a combination of both. They are engineered to offer the highest level of control and when used effectively can perform cooking techniques like searing, sous-vide, as well as all of your traditional oven techniques.

Ranges are often differentiated by BTUs: a measurement of how much heat is generated per device. Commercial ranges can also be segmented by the number of burners, which means more space, and can include specialty ranges at higher BTUs for woks, or stock pots.

Commercial grade mixers not only drastically reduce the amount of prep time from the volume you’re able to mix, but the capability to continue to mix without the fear of overheating your machine.

In the case of stand mixers and tabletop mixers, they traditionally come with three attachments: a bread hook for kneading; a paddle for mixing; and a whisk for incorporating air and emulsion.

Tilt Skillets, otherwise known as braising pans, are versatile pieces of equipment used for a variety of cooking methods: searing, sauteing, braising, stewing, and with additional pieces of equipment, steaming. They are most commonly used for high-volume cooking and, by definition, are able to tilt out their contents, which is ideal for cleaning as well as product transfer. Steam Kettles are also used for high-volume cooking, as the standard size ranges from 20 to 40 gallons.

They are technically called steam jacket kettles since their primary source of heat comes from steam being circulated throughout the interior walls of the entire kettle. This allows for liquids to be heated not only faster but more evenly.

commercial dishwasher and three compartment sink

Industrials Dishwashers are lifesavers in commercial kitchens. Similar to your home dishwasher, to increase longevity and reduce maintenance, you will still need to scrub, but a key differentiator is cleaning speed and cleaner strength.

Most commonly you may find conveyor belt dishwashers, which can independently clean and sanitize in under a minute. You may also find door-type dishwashers, where you manually close a door to sanitize.

Having a well-organized kitchen space can increase productivity, reduces food waste and lowers labour costs.

If you’re curious about our equipment, take a look inside our 10,000-square-foot Strathcona commissary kitchen.

Whether your business needs an entire storage rack, high-volume equipment, or a station available to you 24 hours a day - with Coho’s customizable packages and variety of commercial kitchen equipment, the power is in your hands to decide what you need for your business.

Sources: BDC Food and beverage outlook

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