Commercial cookware definitely needs to be durable and easy to care for. Chefs prefer a heavy anodized cooking surface to help prevent sticking. Commercial grade cookware would also need to use metals that promote heat conduction as the chef needs to be fast in his presentation.
Professional chefs would also need to have their cookware sets include many different sizes of pots and pans, from small to larger. They will customarily cook individual meals in the smaller pans but may have some things pre-cooked that can be distributed in portions of the individual plates.
As you will note on cooking shows, they also take a dish from the stove top to the oven and sometimes to the broiler. It wouldn’t be good if they had to switch pans just to do this, so commercial cookware needs to be versatile, as well.
It is widely known that chef’s prefer stainless steel of a heavy grade and having multiple layers of different metals for a variety of reasons. These reasons can range to how fast they heat, to how little they stick at high heat, to how easily they clean up afterward. The easy usability of the handles is also an important consideration when stocking the commercial kitchen.
Commercial pans have many different manufacturers, but the best adhere to the same standards, such as multiple layers of metals and aluminum or copper cores, for evenly distributed heat conduction. Stainless steel interior layers are also a major consideration so that the true taste of the food will not be contaminated.
I would say that durability is a primary consideration in commercial cookware as well, since these pots and pans take a beating every day, day in and day out. Chef’s do a lot of ‘flame’ cooking, so in that the pan is engulfed in flame, it would need a good, exterior layer that could be easily cleaned.
Gourmet cooks may have a problem with ‘non-stick’ coating on the interior of the pan, but because of the flames, they may consider an outer layer having a coating that would not show the burning that occurs from the flame cooking.
There are a number of appliances available that could be considered truly commercial cookware today, besides the usual pots and pans, that may not have been extensively utilized in the past. These include different rotisserie devices, convection ovens, and cookers used exclusively for smoking meats.