starting a fast serve bento box lunch joint. what kind of equipment/kitchen is best?

Joined Apr 29, 2011
thanks for any help or advice i can get here ...

the menu is quite simple, meat over rice and veggies. there are some other aspects but they are not material to my questions ...

we've found a few spaces, about 1000 sq ft. we'll have minimal dining area, but as much as possible while still maintaining a kitchen that can handle the volume (low side estimate 100 tickets/day to start)

will probably not have silverware, plates, etc ...  we are in the san francisco area, so any insights with specifics to the area are incredibly awesome.


the spaces are do not have any kitchen setups at all, basically think of converting a boutique clothing space into the concept above.

so, my questions are:
  1. how daunting (cost and time) to get the hood/ventilation
  2. what kind/how much equipment will we need? my thoughts are a grill, flat top griddle, broiler, sink, fridge, prep tables, assembly area, dishwasher (maybe)
  3. layout, space: how much space (square footage) do you need for everything?
  4. will 100 tickets a day require more than 1 griller and 1 assembly + 1 cashier and 1 back person
again, thanks for any help or advice.
Joined Sep 18, 2008
You need to talk with the health department/inspector(s) and the fire department (hood/ventilation).

In my limited experience, you will need:
  • Seven (7) sinks, 3 well ware washing, floor sink for ware washing, hand wash with floor sink, and a mop sink, more if you want prep sink(s) and hand wash sink(s) for each work area (often required)
  • Hood/ventilation/ANSUL requirements are dependent on cooking equipment, rough (very rough) budget estimate, oh, $2,000 per running foot, make sure your hood can handle expansion of cooking equipment, it is cheaper to put it in first than it is to retrofit or expand!
  • Equipment requirements are highly dependent on your menu!
  • Space requirements are menu driven
  • Again, menu dictates staff, 4 people at minimum wage is probably close to $50/hour, that's $400 per 8 hour day or $4/ticket (based on 100 tickets). As long as your ticket price averages above $12, you stand a chance of staying in business, at $16/ticket, you might even make some money /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif
Joined Apr 29, 2011
the core product is basically rice, veggies, and a grilled meat on top. im guessing we'll need a type 1 hood, which is sounding like a really big cost. i will be using calgold to start the process of figuring out all the permits and requirements.

do you mind if i PM you with more questions if any come up?

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