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Cafe Equipment Checklist

Kadence Edmonds
9 Dec 2020

Opening a coffee shop is not as easy as it appears, but being armed with a comprehensive equipment list can help get you started.

With coffee consumption still a growing part of the hospitality industry, there’s a constant need for more local coffee shops. Keeping production costs as low as possible, while still having your offerings on-trend and local, are factors in helping you to offer a reasonably priced but high-quality product for your guests.

So if you’re looking at how to start a cafe, there’s a lot more to consider than just simply getting your hands on a coffee machine and cups before opening your doors for business.

The number of items you need to consider can become overwhelmingly large, from grinders to storage, and refrigeration to cutlery. But when it comes to starting your business, acquiring the necessary equipment is vital.

To help you get on the right path here’s a quick overview of some of the basics needed to start up your cafe.

Espresso Machines

Naturally, coffee is at the center of your business. After all, what’s a cafe without coffee?

To make the perfect, smooth cup of coffee, and keep your customers coming back (because loyalty really matters), then you’re going to need state of the art equipment. It's all about having the "X" factor and quality is key in this choice, which can make this purchase one of the most costly.

Definitely invest time into researching your espresso machine, not only look for quality but ensure it is fast and efficient because your customers will also care about how quickly they are served.

Food and Drink Preparation

Alongside your espresso machine, you are going to need a multitude of other pieces of quality equipment. Expanding your offering means you can provide more customers with the items that they want.

Other items to consider:

  • Drip Coffeemakers
  • Industrial Coffee Grinders
  • Coffee presses
  • Water filtration systems
  • Food storage
  • Blenders and juicers
  • Cooking Devices - toasters/ovens
  • Ice maker

And this is just the beginning, your needs will vary from this depending on what you will be serving at your venue.


The software that you will use to run the daily operations of your business is an easily overlooked aspect; however, this is a crucial selection in helping your continued success with your business. Things to look into:

  • Security System
  • Point of Sale system
  • Rostering system
  • Accounting packages
  • Reliable Internet Network

The Point of Sale system is an absolutely critical choice here. Having a powerful system, like Epos Now’s complete solution, that allows you to integrate with your accounting package, rostering systems, and offers thorough reporting applications, and that is quick, efficient, and reliable can improve your business work flow dramatically.

Network capabilities are often underestimated as well, but they are another crucial part of your business and can help your workflow and efficiency, so make sure you have a reliable network established.

Storage and Refrigeration

When it comes to food service, this needs to be a high priority on your list. You will be dealing with a lot of perishable goods and you are going to have to have a reliable refrigeration system that also offers staff ease of access. Also, make sure that your equipment and food preparation areas adhere to regulatory guidelines.

Things to consider:

  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers
  • Insulated storage for milk products
  • Shelving for dry storage
  • Food Storage containers
  • Plastic Wrap

Consumable Goods

In any coffee shop there is a heavy need for a wide range of consumable paper and plastic goods. Some items include:

  • Takeaway Coffee cups and lids
  • Plastic cups and lids
  • Straws
  • Paper Towels
  • Napkins
  • Paper Plates
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Paper bags
  • Receipt rolls

Your needs will vary based on the offerings you will serve at your business, but these are good basics to have on hand. Another consumable not to forget to order is receipt rolls for your printers and tills!

Cups, Cutlery, and Crockery

Selecting your serving cups is an area in which to invest some time and consideration. What you serve your coffee in for dine-in guests needs to be a happy balance between looks and practicality. These pieces need to have the range of sizes needed (cup, mug, piccolo) and be cost-friendly and easily replaced because breakages happen, and they will happen often.

Other items you will need include:

  • Plates
  • Drinking Glasses
  • Cutlery
  • Food and Drink preparation utensils


Your cafe will not only need to provide a great and clean customer experience, but you also need to conform to health codes, which means having specialized cleaning equipment.

Some items for consideration include:

  • Mop and bucket
  • Rags and approved industrial cleaning spray
  • Dishwasher
  • Trash cans and bags

These item requirements can differ greatly depending on the health codes for your particular area. It’s best to do research into the relevant guidelines and regulations from your local council or government.


Although not technically seen as equipment, selecting the right furniture for your venue is another crucial choice that needs to be made. And when it comes to selections, comfort should be a huge focus point when selecting the furniture and decor. These items need to be looked at, not only from an aesthetics standpoint but also the practical aspect. Some items needed from this area include:

  • Tables and Chair
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Front of house counters
  • Food prep and working areas
  • Display cases
  • Display Fridges for cold beverages
  • Menus
  • Menu holders
  • Lighting
  • Artworks and decor
  • Audio

The choices here will vastly depend on the type of venue you are looking to open.

Get what you need

Starting a new business is always a daunting task, so allow ample time to plan and acquire all you need for a successful opening. Use this checklist to review and sort the essentials you need to ensure your opening is as smooth as possible.

Even if you find you have forgotten an important purchase, if you allow yourself time, you’ll be able to rectify any problems before your grand opening.

For more help, contact the consultants at Epos Now.

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