Restaurants are big business. In 2019, the industry grossed about $863 billion. If you want to open a restaurant, one of the key considerations is your kitchen design. Here are the nine crucial factors to discuss with your commercial kitchen design team.
1. Space Efficiency and Flexibility
Flexibility in your restaurant kitchen design is as important as flexibility in the entrees you offer. If you have daily specials or alter your offerings seasonally, you’ll need a kitchen layout that can adapt to changes. A modular kitchen that includes equipment on wheels can serve different functions at once. This will make you and your staff work more efficiently.
2. Simplicity of Design
The simpler your design, the more easily your employees can produce meals. If the layout is confusing, your employees will lose valuable time trying to figure it out. Minimize the amount of restaurant equipment, thereby saving space and money, and consider how the work might flow from one station to the next.
3. Plan the Kitchen Workflow
This is where your commercial kitchen design team comes in. It’s natural for kitchens to be noisy and crowded; that’s why working as a chef is exciting. However, there should be order within the chaos. Plan out work spaces according to tasks: dishwashing, inventory, storage, food prep, cooking, and serving. Then waste disposal and dishwashing can take place away from the commercial kitchen appliances in the chef’s area. This way servers leave the kitchen with entrees on one side as busboys take in dirty dishes and silverware on the opposite side.
4. Sanitation and Safety
Having a lack of wash stations is a critical error in commercial kitchen design. When considering drainboards, landing tables, and racks, think about how much silverware, plates, glasses, cups, and trays will pile up at your busiest times, and factor in how much your dishwashers can handle.
Food safety and health code practices should be utilized everywhere in the kitchen, by all of your employees. Although laying out the spaces for cooking and prepping is the more interesting design task, don’t forget that laying out cleaning areas is also crucial. Consider the places where soiled dishes will accumulate and where freshly washed stacks will go for easy accessibility by the staff.
5. Training and Supervising
Your commercial kitchen design should provide space in the back where the head chef can train and supervise other employees. It can be a challenge to hire and keep exceptional staff members, so it’s important to give them incentives for promotion in the back area of the kitchen. The head chef should be able to tour the kitchen and watch the employees’ activities.
6. Make Your Kitchen Energy Efficient
Restaurant kitchens use a great deal of energy, so much so that a large portion of your costs could go to energy. You can cut down on these costs by situating cooking appliances in a way that allows the exhaust hood to carry off hot air. This will help to cool the kitchen. Also, take care to place refrigerators away from equipment that generates heat so that your appliances won’t be overworked.
Just as it’s important to think about energy efficiency, it’s important to think about ventilation. Without good ventilation, the inside air quality will be poor due to odors and inadequate air circulation. The range fan should be running when the cooking begins, and the range hood filter should be switched out often. Also, consider designing your kitchen so that there’s room for air purifiers or fans in strategic areas, especially since the rear of the kitchen can get very hot.
The most common error people make in commercial kitchen design is not leaving sufficient space for maintenance. You need room for repair people to access broken equipment. Therefore carefully planning out the placement of all countertops and pieces of equipment is imperative. Go for a modular design that allows you to move work areas if necessary.
In the rear of the kitchen, technology should be accessible, flexible, and modular. Instead of using paper tickets, electronic display screens can improve the accuracy of orders and speed up serving by providing customized routing to prep areas.
Restaurant kitchen design is a complex process. Contact us today to learn more.