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Starting a Cafe: Your Ultimate Equipment Guide

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Many people dream of starting their own cafe. It’s a great way to earn money while also having a lot of fun interacting with all kinds of different people and putting a smile on their faces.


But starting a cafe requires a lot of determination, patience and excellent communication skills. Also, it demands a great deal of money, as you’ll need to rent out a space in a good location, buy all the right furniture and equipment, develop relationships with different suppliers, and so on.

Here we’ll look into the different types of equipment you’ll need for your cafe, and how to find the best combination to fit your budget.

The importance of planning

Proper planning is essential when starting a cafe, because you are going to need a lot of different types of equipment. Also, planning well in advance will give you a great insight into the exact budget you’ll need, how to make the right decisions, and which pieces of equipment are necessary for a smooth start.

All these decisions are important because they directly affect how your business is going to perform during the initial stages.

What you will need

Let’s take a look at which pieces of equipment are absolutely necessary and which ones can be acquired later on, as your cafe continues growing.

An efficient POS system


One of the things that many people forget to think about is a great POS system. As technology has significantly improved in recent years, many work processes across various industries have been greatly improved.

A fine example is the advancement in POS systems, which now come with an abundance of features, including reporting, inventory and stock management, and membership and loyalty programs.

An excellent espresso machine & coffee grinder

People who love visiting cafes are mostly interested in a great quality coffee. This is why it is imperative to invest in both a high-quality coffee grinder and an espresso machine. Not many people are aware that investing in an espresso machine without a grinder can be a mistake.

Having one without the other isn’t going to result in weak coffee. But by investing in both a coffee grinder and espresso machine, the coffee served in your future cafe will have a much better and more memorable taste.

Make sure to initially invest in both of these machines, no matter how tight your budget is, as it will be a worthwhile investment.


A storage refrigerator & freezer

One of the things that should be on your mind is getting a freezer or a storage refrigerator for your cafe. There are plenty of beverages you’ll want to cool down (least of all, milk for your coffees!) and proper refrigeration storage will extend the shelf life of the merchandise in your cafe.

The size you’ll need directly depends on how big your space is going to be; that is, how many guests are likely to pass through your cafe. The higher the number, the bigger the storage refrigerator you’ll need.

The freezer, on the other hand, doesn’t have to be big, as you won’t have to keep many items in it. Frozen beverages, food, and coffee lose their taste after being unfrozen, so you should only have a little freezer for some things you personally decide to keep there.

A pleasing refrigerated display cabinet for cold food

Are you planning to serve cold food to your customers? Then you should definitely think about a refrigerated display cabinet. Pick a display cabinet that will go well with the overall design of the cafe.

It is a great way to display a variety of foods, giving your cafe a more pleasant look and presenting enticing options for your patrons, which could increase sales.

A  bain marie for hot food

This piece of equipment is only necessary if you’re planning to serve hot food to your customers. But investing in this type of equipment isn’t completely necessary at the beginning; it might be a better addition in the future. For the first couple of years, it is a better idea to just serve cold food to your customers; for example, sandwiches.

Attractive cafe furniture

Furniture plays an important role in how much a cafe appeals to visitors. Think of the theme your cafe will bring to life and find furniture that will fit that theme.

Furniture can be quite an investment, but you can turn it into a long-term process, making it less stressful for your budget. Start out with more basic options and work your way towards classier furniture later on.


Quality coffee cups, cutlery and crockery

Like furniture, picking the right cups, cutlery and crockery depends on the style of cafe you want to create. For example, if you are planning a cafe resembling something from the past, cups, cutlery and crockery should resemble that period of time.

Consistency is very important in this line of work, as it allows you to build a reputable brand. Think of Starbucks, a chain of cafes that keeps up consistency on so many levels.

A Wi-Fi router for happy customers

In our modern and always connected world, Wi-Fi has become a normal thing people expect in any quality cafe. Even though the majority of people have data plans on their smartphones, having a Wi-Fi option is a great plus they’re bound to appreciate. Plus, it will be good for online marketing, as people will tag your venue in their social posts.

All your kitchen equipment needs


There is plenty of equipment you’ll need in your kitchen, including:

  • A blender – This is going to come in handy for various things on your menu.
  • A juicer – Chances are that you’ll offer fresh juice to your customers.
  • An ice maker – Ice is added to a wide variety of drinks, which makes this machine necessary for a normal workflow.
  • Multiple compartment sink – This is a practical tool to help you deal with dirty dishes quickly.
  • Sandwich unit – If you are planning on making sandwiches for your customers, this will be an important part of your kitchen.
  • Bulk coffee grinder – This tool is not necessary from the start, but as the number of customers increases, a bulk coffee grinder will become a necessity. In fact, you’ll need several of them, as you will want to keep flavoured and regular coffee away from each other.
  • Grill and oven – These two will give you enough flexibility for the food you wish to serve to your customers.
  • POS hardware – A great POS system should allow your kitchen staff to flawlessly communicate with baristas and waiters.

These are some of the things you should have in your kitchen to ensure a stable workflow in your cafe, without any hiccups. But you can add different types of additional equipment later on, as you start to expand and invest more money in your business.

Durable POS hardware

Cafes can be chaotic workplaces, exposing your equipment to moisture, spillages, and plenty of knocks. So when you’re picking POS hardware, make sure it’s durable.

Also, pick a POS system that comes with plenty of peripherals. It will not only enable you to track orders, sales and the state of your inventory, but it will also allow your waiters to be more flexible. They’ll be able to take an order from anywhere in the cafe. And the barista will be notified instantly, so they’ll be able to immediately start working on the order.

These are the most important things you should keep in mind if you are planning to start a cafe. Make sure you spend a lot of time planning the right moves. It will enable you to make the right decisions without cutting too deeply into your budget.

For more information about durable POS systems for your cafe, you can get in touch with us and get all the information you need.