Discount Restaurant Equipment Parts

A B C D E F G H I J K l M N O P Q R S T U V W - Z

This is a collection of terms commonly used in describing restaurant equipment parts and their function.

Glossary of Restaurant Equipment Parts - P


A pan is any device used as a container or a collector. A pan may refer to a shallow cooking implement used on a burner or in an oven or it may refer to a similar collecting implement used to capture water, condensation, grease, shortening, and other drainage. A pan may also be used to contain processed food items such as meat, fruit and vegetables, and crumbs as they exit a mincer, slicer, or dicer.


A panel is a (usually) rectangular section of a surface, or a covering or of a piece of equipment. Panels may be made of stainless steel, painted aluminum, or molded plastic and are water resistant an easily cleaned.  It may have fin type of opening to allow air to flow across interior components.  Panels may also be "control panels" having operating buttons, displays, dials or switches.


Piezo speakers and piezo sensors are commonly us in foodservice equipment. Piezo speakers are limited and usually serve as notification or reminder buzzers. A piezoelectric sensor is a device that measures changes in pressure, acceleration, temperature, strain, or force by converting them to an electrical charge. Piezo ignition is a type of ignition that is used in gas grills. Piezo ignition uses the principle of piezoelectricity, which is the electric charge that accumulates in some materials in response to high pressure.


A pilot light is a small gas flame, usually natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas, which serves as an ignition source for a more powerful gas burner. In a pilot assembly, there is thermocouple sitting in the pilot light's flame. The electricity that is created from the flame contacting the thermocouple wire runs to a small electromagnetic valve and holds it open. If the pilot light blows out, the thermocouple quickly cools off. It stops generating electricity and the valve closes.

Pilot Light

A pilot light is a small gas flame, usually natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas, which serves as an ignition source for a more powerful gas burner. In a pilot assembly, there is thermocouple sitting in the pilot light's flame. The electricity that is created from the flame contacting the thermocouple wire runs to a small electromagnetic valve and holds it open. If the pilot light blows out, the thermocouple quickly cools off. It stops generating electricity and the valve closes.


Pins are used to hold together assemblies to fasten two or more common components to each other and serving as hinges, axles, aligners and pivots with stops that maintain a positive limit upon the movement of components within machinery and mechanical components.


When two gears are meshed together, the smaller gear is called a "pinion". The gear that transmits the force is referred to as a drive gear, and the receiving gear is called the driven gear. If a pinion is the driver, it results in a step down drive in which the output speed decreases and the torque increases.


A piston is a component of reciprocating motors, reciprocating pumps, gas compressors and pneumatic cylinders, among other similar mechanisms. It is the moving component that is contained by a cylinder and is made gas-tight by piston rings. In a pump, force is transferred for the purpose of compressing or ejecting a gas or fluid.


A planetary mixer is a commercial piece of equipment designed to prepare food, dough and other products, replacing manual labor through a mechanical system that allows the continuous production of large quantities of food. The name “planetary mixer” describes the system used in the equipment that mixes the dough in the direction of the planets rotation in the solar system. The planetary mixer is comprised of a bowl for ingredients placement, mixing elements (whisk, hook, flat beater, scraper or other system), motors that start the bowl and whisk movements, and interconnection of the machinery that allows to the operator the control of the mixing process and other labor process (programming times and speeds; mixing elements).


Platens (flat cooking surfaces) provide a method for efficient two-sided cooking, while accommodating a variety of products. Platens are made of either stainless steel or a composite material. Operators can specify grooved platens for items that require grill markings. Manufacturers recommend the use of nonstick sheets for the top platen since it is difficult to scrape off food. Without the sheet, the top of a burger or other food can stick to the platen, compromising its quality. Sheets last about two weeks with good maintenance.


Plenums are usually situated on either side of a fan or a heat exchanger and have the important function of bringing in, distributing, and removing air.


A plug is an item that (1) provides a fitted closure for an opening designed to ensure a tight seal such as for a sink or a bottle, or for a hole or a space (2) completes an electrical connection. The plug may be removable (as for portable equipment), require a tool for assembly and removal, or serve as a permanent electrical joint between two points.


Plug Buttons or Button Plugs may be made of metal or plastic depending upon the finish of the equipment they are used with. For example a commercial refrigerator door may be optionally mounted to open from the left or from the right. In this case, the opposite side will have exposed screw holes which may be covered with a plug button. Similarly, the the screws on the side where the door is mounted may also be covered. The button cover provides a finished look, concealing an otherwise unsightly hole. When fully seated, the domed, button head protrudes above the equipment surface and over the hole edge adding a more decorative look that inhibits water or grease migration and enhances personnel safety where sharp metal edges would otherwise be exposed.


A plunger is a tool used to clear blockages in chutes, cavities, channels, spouts, drains, and pipes. Or a component that serves as an actuator such as in a microswitch.


Portion controls are specifically designed into commercial foodservice equipment to ensure precise dispensing of ingredients, products, and condiments. Portion control is an important practice within the restaurant industry and is used to maintain proper taste profiles and contain food cost.


A positioner is any mechanical device used to position something, or the part of a control valve used to control the opening or closing of the actuator based on electric or pneumatic signals.


Premix and postmix are two methods of serving usually carbonated soft drinks that are alternatives to bottles and cans.


A potentiometer is a three-terminal resistor with a sliding or rotating contact that forms an adjustable voltage divider. If only two terminals are used, it acts as a variable resistor or rheostat.

Power Cord

A power cord, line cord, or mains cable is an electrical cable that temporarily connects an appliance to the mains electricity supply via a wall socket or extension cord. The terms are generally used for cables using a power plug to connect to a single-phase alternating current power source at the local line voltage (generally 100 to 240 volts, depending on the location). The terms power cable, mains lead, flex or kettle lead are also used.

A cord set includes connectors molded to the cord at each end (see Appliance coupler). Cord sets are detachable from both the power supply and the electrical equipment, and consist of a flexible cord with electrical connectors at either end, one male, and one female. One end of the cord set is attached to a molded electrical plug; the other is typically a molded electrical receptacle to prevent the possibility of having an exposed live prong or pin which would cause electric shock. The female connector attaches to the piece of equipment or appliance while the male plug connects to the electrical receptacle or outlet.

Power cables may be either fixed or detachable from the appliance. In the case of detachable leads, the appliance end of the power cord has a female connector to link it to the appliance, to avoid the dangers from having a live protruding pin. Cords may also have twist-locking features, or other attachments to prevent accidental disconnection at one or both ends. A cord set may include accessories such as fuses for overcurrent protection, a pilot lamp to indicate voltage is present, or a leakage current detector.

Power Supply

A power supply is an electrical device that supplies electric power to an electrical load. The primary function of a power supply is to convert electric current from a source to the correct voltage, current, and frequency to power the load. As a result, power supplies are sometimes referred to as electric power converters. Some power supplies are separate standalone pieces of equipment, while others are built into the load appliances that they power.  Other functions that power supplies may perform include limiting the current drawn by the load to safe levels, shutting off the current in the event of an electrical fault, power conditioning to prevent electronic noise or voltage surges on the input from reaching the load, power-factor correction, and storing energy so it can continue to power the load in the event of a temporary interruption in the source power (uninterruptible power supply).

Power Switch

A switch will have one or more sets of contacts, which may operate simultaneously, sequentially, or alternately. Switches in high-powered circuits must operate rapidly to prevent destructive arcing, and may include special features to assist in rapidly interrupting a heavy current. Multiple forms of actuators are used for operation by hand or to sense position, level, temperature or flow. Special types are used, for example, for control of machinery, to reverse electric motors, or to sense liquid level.


Pre-rinse spray valves used in commercial and institutional kitchens are designed to remove food waste from dishes prior to dishwashing. Pre-rinsing can account for nearly one-third of the water used in a typical commercial kitchen. According to the US EPA replacing existing, non-efficient pre-rinse spray heads flowing at 1.6 gallons per minute (gpm) or greater with high efficiency, DOE compliant models offers a significant opportunity for water and cost savings within commercial kitchens.

Pressure Guage

Pressure measurement is the analysis of an applied force by a fluid (liquid or gas) on a surface. Pressure is typically measured in units of force per unit of surface area. Instruments used to measure and display pressure in an integral unit are called pressure meters or pressure gauges or vacuum gauges. The widely used Bourdon gauge is a mechanical device, which both measures and indicates and is probably the best known type of gauge. Most gauges measure pressure relative to atmospheric pressure as the zero point, so this form of reading is simply referred to as "gauge pressure".

For very accurate readings, especially at very low pressures, a gauge that uses total vacuum as the zero point may be used, giving pressure readings in an absolute scale. Other methods of pressure measurement involve sensors that can transmit the pressure reading to a remote indicator or control system.

Pressure Regulator

A pressure regulator is a control valve that reduces the input pressure of a fluid or gases to a desired value at its output. Regulators are used for gases and liquids, and can be an integral device with an output pressure setting, a restrictor and a sensor all in the one body, or consist of a separate pressure sensor, controller and flow valve.

Pressure Switch

A pressure switch is a form of switch that closes an electrical contact when a certain set fluid pressure has been reached on its input. The switch may be designed to make contact either on pressure rise or on pressure fall. Pressure switches are widely used in industry to automatically supervise and control systems that use pressurized fluids.


A probe is a small device, especially an electrode, used for measuring, testing, or obtaining information. Probes are commonly thin and oblong, and may be flexible. They contain outputs which send information to other components to control operations of equipment. There are many types of probes used in restaurant equipment for the measurement of temperature, humidity, liquid level, ice level, product or ingredient levels and other critical limits.


Proximity switches or sensors measure "closeness" to a targeted object and open or close an electrical circuit when they make contact with or come within a certain distance of an object. There are four basic types of proximity switches: infrared, acoustic, capacitive, and inductive.


A pulley is a wheel on an axle or shaft that is designed to support movement and change of direction of a taut cable or belt, or transfer of power between the shaft and cable or belt. In the case of a pulley supported by a frame or shell that does not transfer power to a shaft, but is used to guide the cable or exert a force, the supporting shell is called a block, and the pulley may be called a sheave.

Push Button

A push-button (also spelled pushbutton) or simply button is a simple switch mechanism to control some aspect of a machine or a process. Buttons are typically made out of hard material, usually plastic or metal. The surface is usually flat or shaped to accommodate the human finger or hand, so as to be easily depressed or pushed. Buttons are most often biased switches, although many un-biased buttons (due to their physical nature) still require a spring to return to their un-pushed state.


A pump is a device that moves fluids (liquids or gases), or sometimes slurries, by mechanical action. 

Pumps can be classified by their method of displacement into positive displacement pumps, impulse pumps, velocity pumps, gravity pumps, steam pumps and vacuum and valveless pumps. There are three basic types of pumps: positive displacement, centrifugal and axial-flow pumps. In centrifugal pumps the direction of flow of the fluid changes by ninety degrees as it flows over an impeller, while in axial flow pumps the direction of flow is unchanged. When a casing contains only one revolving impeller, it is called a single-stage pump. When a casing contains two or more revolving impellers, it is called a double- or multi-stage pump.

Vacuum pumps are simply compressors that take in contained gas at a pressure lower than atmospheric pressure, compress it, and discharge the gas at atmospheric pressure creating a vacuum where the contained gas originated.


A pulper is a device or machine designed to remove pulp such as that contained in citrus fruits.


A pusher is used with blenders, juicers, slicers, and grinders to press fresh fruit, vegetables, dough, and meats into the slicing, juicing or grinding mechanism. In high volume production or when speed of service is critical, best-practices dictate having multiple pushers available in a "use-and-clean" rotation.