8 Equipment & Ingredients


By the end of this chapter, you will be able to:

  • understand how to prioritize equipment purchases
  • identify what equipment as being dependent upon the product you are intending to make


When conceptualizing your business and creating the list of equipment necessary to make the products you are going to sell, it is essential, to begin with, the menu as the guide for your business’s equipment needs. Prioritizing equipment purchases based on projected sales and allocation of space is the wisest approach to planning. It is also important to consider the amount of space you will have to work with making sure to allocate space in a way that illustrates your business goals and can accommodate the equipment. An example of this would be, if you plan on producing decorated custom cakes in a cake studio, you will need the following spaces:

  • Space to meet with customers and discuss cakes
    • Where, how much space, what should it look like?
  • Space and equipment to produce the actual cakes,
    • What equipment, what are the equipment specifications and measurements?
  • Space and equipment to produce the decor work
    • What equipment, what are the equipment specifications and measurements, how much space is needed?
  • Space and equipment to assemble
    • What equipment, what are the equipment specifications and measurements, how much space is needed?
  • Space and storage supplies to store all ingredients and equipment
    • What equipment, what are the equipment specifications and measurements, how much space is needed?
  • Space to store the cake through the process

This would look very different if you are going to open a cafe and donut shop

  • Seating space for customers
  • Coffee station
  • Storefront counter and display
  • Sanitation and dish station
  • Bathrooms
  • Dough scaling & mixing station
  • Dough fermentation and proofing space
  • Makeup and cutting station
  • Dough frying station
  • Finishing and garnishing station
  • Ingredient storage space
  • Cooler, Freezer

When we begin to conceive of our bakery or food business needs we are often at a loss for just how much space we will need to produce the products we intend to produce. There are limits to how small you can make a production kitchen or bakery before it becomes ineffective. It is reasonable to assume you will need a minimum of 500 square feet of production space.  When thinking about bigger spaces one must consider the rent, the potential hurdles or limitations of the space, and what the advantages are to the size. For example, if I sell only decorated cookies I could logically fit into a very small space to begin. But if I sell several different product types including bread, morning items, laminated doughs, and sandwiches I will need more space to accommodate all the equipment, labor, and storage necessary.

Equipment domains 


  • Utility Closet
  • 3 compartment sink
  • Dish washing machine – account for the size needed based on the size of sheetpans.
  • hand sinks
  • prep sink


  • Ventilation Hoods
  • Air conditioning / Heating


  • Metro racks
  • Dunnage racks


Holding equipment

  • Fridge reach-ins or walk-ins
  • Freezer reach-ins or walk-ins
  • Proofer reach-ins or walk-ins
  • Retarder reach-ins or walk-ins


  • Water meters and chillers
  • Commercial Digital Scales
  • Tabletop planetary mixers
  • Floor Planetary Mixers
  • Spiral Mixers
  • Diving Arm Mixers
  • Oblique Mixers
  • Food Processors
  • Immersion Blenders


  • Bench
  • Stainless tables
  • Rolling carts
  • Rolling racks
  • Dough divider and rounder
  • Sheeter


  • Queen Mary Carts
  • Metro racks

StoreFront & Presentation

  • Display Cases – refrigerated or room temperature
  • Serving counter
  • Register and or POS System
  • Coffee self-service station

Storefront Equipment

  • Coffee Machine
  • Espresso Machine
  • Ice Machine
  • Dish Machine
  • Coffee Grinder
  • Display cases Refrigerated or not
  • Garbage and recycling station


There are many different types of ovens including deck ovens, rotating rack ovens, carousel ovens, and convection ovens. Bakeries typically purchase the oven that is optimal for their highlighted product.

Examples of different equipment need based on bakery type:

Artisan Bread Bakery Cake Bakery Donut Bakery
Scaling Commercial Scale Commercial  Scale Commercial  Scale
Stainless Steel Tables Stainless Steel Tables Stainless Steel Tables
Mixing Planetary Mixer Planetary Mixer Planetary Mixer
Spiral Mixer Spiral Mixer
Dough Buns & Trolly Rolling cart Dough Bins & Trolly
Water chiller and meter
Holding Retarding room Walkin Freezer Proof Box
Proof Box Cooler Rolling Racks
Rolling racks Rolling Racks
Processing Wood Benches Stainless Steel Tables Stainless Steel Tables
Banetones Stove Sheeter
Couches Ventilation cutter roller
Wood Boards Hopper
Sheeter Fry Screens
Stove & Ventilation
Ovens Deck oven with steam injection Still oven, carousel oven, deck oven No oven necessary unless incorporating other baked goods
Peels , Broom
Specialty Bread slicer Airbrush Compressor Fryer
Molder Airbrush Filtration Decorating screens
Dough Divider Photography equipment Dipping stations
staging equipment
Finishing table with stool
Sanitation 3 comp sink 3 comp sink 3 comp sink
Utility sink Utility sink Utility sink
Hand sink Hand sink Hand sink
Utility closet Utility closet Utility closet


Prioritizing Purchases

A factor used by many in the baking industry is the square footage of production space x 80$ will give you a general estimate of what you will spend on equipment. When considering cost and purchasing equipment it is important to reflect on what pieces of equipment you can not afford to have malfunctioned or break on you. This is usually the equipment startup bakery owners buy new and with warranties. It is also very common to prioritize refrigeration as this can be very costly if and when it breaks down. Much of the equipment can be purchased used and or at auctions as long as you are knowledgeable about equipment repair and maintenance.  Alternatively, establish a relationship with a reputable, reliable, and accessible equipment repair company you partner with. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for equipment to break down at the most inconvenient time and if you are ill-prepared this could impact your ability to serve your customers.

Other areas of concern when considering the purchase of equipment are the building’s electrical and gas capacity and how that will accommodate the equipment. Most equipment for commercial bakeries relies upon 3 phase electricity and it is not a given that a commercial building will have 3 phase electrical capacity.

All equipment used in a commercial kitchen should be labeled NSF which stands for National Sanitation Foundation.  This is an indication that all equipment meets the standards of the foundation and will be accepted by the county health department.
Software needs
POS System – Point of Sale System
Nutritional Labeling Software and Label Printers
Book Keeping Software
Social Media Management Software
Your selection of ingredients is essential to the final desired outcome of the product. The ingredients impact the price you will need to sell your product and potentially marketing and messaging of your products. The decision to use an ingredient should align with your desired outcome and your values. For example, if I am a bakery committed to regenerative agriculture like Hewn in Evanston then I would prioritize regenerative flour and grains coming from local farmers and millers. I would also search out a comparable dairy provider to be consistent. This then would dramatically impact the cost of my ingredients and the price at which I sell the products.
If I am not bothered by the quality of ingredients and I am more concerned with providing affordable baked goods then I can source my ingredients with a lower standard bar and charge less for the product.
If you are buying in small amounts you can source your ingredients from places like Jetro Restaurant Depot or Costco. As you grow it becomes costly to continue to do this and also physically cumbersome. Once you have established that you are going to need ingredients delivered you will then seek out wholesale distributors and or brokers. These businesses sell in volume without a lot of packaging and they deliver.   Local examples of distributors are Central Baking Supply, Bear Stewart, Badger Murphy, Sysco, US Foods. These wholesale purveyors often have minimums for delivery, an example is a common $500 minimum.
You must be set up for delivery and in some cases, this involves a dock. They also have different types of payment requirements. Initially, as a small business, it is not uncommon to have to pay upon delivery as your credit has not been well established.
Ingredients price fluctuates based on the market, the volume you are purchasing, and availability. This must be taken into consideration when figuring the volume you are intending on purchasing and will impact your product pricing or profit margin. AN area often overlooked when starting a business is your storage space for ingredients and how this can increase or decrease the cost of your ingredients. If I have a bakery that has a delivery dock and dedicated convenient space for storage and receiving my cost of delivery and ingredients should be less than if I have minimal space and need to get an order three times a week. You can imagine it costs much more for the same 100 pounds of sugar if you do not have any space and require multiple deliveries.


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