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Restaurant Sink Units: FAQs

Whether you are running a tiny pastry shop or a large restaurant, every commercial kitchen needs sinks. To work out how many sinks you need and what types of sinks to buy, consider what your restaurant will use them for and how much you will use them.

Frequently Asked Questions about Commercial Sink Units

Why do I need sinks?

Restaurant sinks have for three major purposes:

  • Washing hands
  • Washing food
  • Washing dishes and equipment

Foods generally shouldn’t be washed or prepared in sinks used to wash dishes. Handwashing should be performed in its own sinks.

How many sinks do I need?

Even the smallest restaurant requires at least two sinks, and many establishments need three. Large commercial kitchens may have several.

You need at least one double sink for washing and rinsing equipment. You are required to have at least one more sink for washing hands. That sink cannot be used for any other purpose.

You may need separate sinks for preparing foods. Those sinks should not be used for cleaning hands or equipment.

What sizes of sinks do I need?

You can decide what size sinks you need by considering the size of your kitchen and the volume of dishes or food materials that will be running through the sink.

A small pub won’t need huge multi-compartment sinks designed for washing pots and pans. A large, busy restaurant might require several.

What kinds of sinks do I need?

You need to have enough sinks for your employees to wash their hands. Hot water must be available at these wash hand sinks, and you will also need to supply soap and some means to dry hands. Paper towels are a common choice.

Not every restaurant needs a sink soley for preparing foods. Your environmental health officer or health inspector can tell you if you need dedicated sinks for that purpose. It is good practice when dealing with high-risk foods such as meats or dairy.

Even if you have dishwashing equipment, you still need sinks installed for washing dishes or pre rinse spray.


What kinds of sinks are available?

Bar Sinks

Bar sinks are compartment sinks built to a lower form so that they can fit under bars and countertops. They have many purposes such as emptying beverages. They can be equipped with speed racks for easy access to bottles. They can have open or enclosed compartments beneath for holding glassware.

Compartment Sinks

You can install multiple one-compartment sinks in small nooks and crannies. Where enough space is available, sinks with multiple compartments are more flexible because it is much easier to transfer items between them without spills.

Compartment sinks are available in a variety of sizes. Some are big enough to wash and fill even the largest pots and pans.

A four-compartment sink can wash, rinse, and sanitise dishes. The fourth compartment can be used for soaking or rubbish disposal. Some restaurants dedicate the fourth compartment for washing hands or washing foods. Remember, each compartment must be dedicated to its own use. A compartment for washing hands should not be used for washing foods or washing dishes.

Disposal Sinks

A disposal sink is designed specifically for use with a waste disposal unit. They are usually small and shaped like a large funnel. They guide water and waste products into the waste disposal. Typically, disposal sinks have large drain holes, and many have water nozzles in the sides of the basin. Splash guards are common. Silverware guards can be installed to keep utensils out of the disposal. Disposal sinks should be covered when not in use.

Drop-In and Sink Units

Drop-in or inset sinks are installed on a surface that has already been placed in your kitchen. They can be sunk into countertops and workbenches. A drop-in sink has a flange around the upper edge of the basin that rests on the countertop. An undermount sink does not have a flange and instead fits into a hole with exactly the same dimensions as the top of the sink.

Sink Units are fully assembled sink units in a range of configurations from single sinks units to double sink units, draining surface, splash back lip and a lower shelf. They come pre drilled for taps and spray units and plumbing.

Wash Hand Sinks

Every restaurant needs hand sinks for washing hands. They are usually located close to food preparation or serving areas so they are easily available when needed. They should be installed with backsplashes or sidesplashes as needed to prevent contamination of nearby areas. Some have soap dispensers and paper towel holders.

Mop Sinks

Mop sinks or janitorial sinks are used for filling and draining mop buckets. They can be installed with side splashes, and some have tall cabinets with shelving and storage space. They can be installed on the floor.

Portable Sinks

There are two major types of portable sinks. Soak sinks are typically basins with drains, mounted on a rolling stand. They do not typically have faucets but can be placed under a water source.

Handwashing carts are often used by mobile and outdoor vendors. They have two tanks, one for clean water and one for wastewater. Some can be connected to an electrical outlet or use petrol to power a hot water heater.


What materials are used to make commercial kitchen sinks?


Most commercial kitchen sinks are made from stainless steel. Stainless steel is very durable and easy to clean. Two major types are in use, type 430 and type 304.

Type 430 is used for many kinds of food preparation equipment and is slightly more economical. Type 304, often called 18/8 or 18/10, is more resistant to corrosion. It is often the better choice for equipment that will be constantly wet or exposed to saltwater or acids.


The thickness of the steel used to construct your sink can affect the price, weight, and ability to stand up under long use and resist denting. Steel sheets are measured by gauge, with thinner steel having a lower gauge. 18 gauge is the thinnest steel available for commercial kitchen sinks. It is suitable for most kitchens. For very heavily used sinks, 18 gauge steel is often used. 16 gauge offers a middle ground.


What types of taps are available?

  • Deck Mount Taps – They are connected directly to the top of the sink or mounted on a nearby horizontal surface.
  • Pot Filler Assemblies – Specialised wall mount faucets that swivel to allow filling very large pots and buckets.
  • Pre-Rinse Assemblies: These are high-pressure nozzles mounted with a hose to allow pre-rinsing dirty equipment to remove large particles and thick layers before washing.
  • Wall Mount Taps – They are mounted on the wall. They may extend through the backsplash. They are very common in the food industry; most large commercial kitchen sinks are used with wall mount faucets.



Should I buy my stainless steel sinks fully assembled?

Stainless steel sinks are available in two forms: flat packed and fully assembled. Flat pack sinks are cheaper but require labour to assemble. They can be transported through doors and down hallways more easily than large, fully assembled compartment sinks.

Fully assembled sinks can be hard to put in place, but they are usually welded and more durable.


What laws apply to sinks in my restaurant?

Every restaurant must have a sink for handwashing. The only exceptions are those that only sell food that is pre-wrapped before it is brought into the kitchen and then sold with the wrapper intact.

Water used to wash dishes must be potable. Sinks must be kept clean and disinfected when necessary.

Sinks intended for hand washing should be used only for washing hands and not for any other purpose.


How should I care for stainless steel sinks?

Never use steel wool or harsh abrasives to clean stainless steel sinks. Stainless steel does not corrode because it is protected by a thin layer of chromium oxide that forms when stainless steel contacts air. Scrubbing with hard materials can It can remove the protective layer.

Wipe sinks and taps down every day. Dry them with clean rags or paper towels afterwards. Keep stainless steel sinks dry when they are not in use.


Tap Tips

It is much easier to install the type of taps that your sinks and plumbing were intended to work with. Vertical pipes are intended for deck mount taps. Horizontal plumbing is intended for wall mount taps.

Leaky taps waste money. Replacing one worn washer in a leaky taps can save you hundreds of pounds over the course of a year. Keep your taps free of leaks and in good repair. Consider using WRAS approved taps.



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