Have you decided on a commercial kitchen layout for your restaurant? Do you find the design to be effective for your business? How does it affect the productivity and efficiency of your restaurant staff?
Total Food Services suggests that forty percent of the total area of your restaurant should be dedicated to prep and kitchen areas. However, even if the kitchen is not open to customers, it still plays an essential role in your restaurant.
Making the kitchen area as functional as possible should be your priority. Increasing the efficiency and productivity of your restaurant operations is a great deal for you as the owner.
This article provides the information you need to design and layout commercial kitchens. Find out how to devise a functional design, and what tips you need to follow when creating your kitchen design.
Commercial and Restaurant Kitchen Design 101
The process to achieve the perfect design in a commercial kitchen varies greatly from one to another, but there are many critical steps that everyone should follow. Even though they may not sound as thrilling as strategizing where the equipment and counters will be installed, they are essential.
Making such a mistake of skipping some could lead to back-and-forth adjustments that could be time-consuming and expensive.
But first, you must know that this is not only you and your interior designer’s responsibility. To come up with a functional kitchen design and layout, you need a team of experts that can contribute useful insights.
The chef plays a significant role in your design process. Your kitchen is their home, and they know every inch of it better than anyone. You may want to ask your in-house chefs what improvements they think need to be made.
Moreover, the chefs at your restaurant do not only observe your preparation process. Furthermore, they know the tools they need and where to place them precisely. In addition, they will have a better idea of where and how to deploy their teams for maximum efficiency.
Now that you have an idea of how your design will turn out, it’s time to contact your industry designer. Various types of interior designers exist. Engage the services of those who are familiar with restaurant operations.
This is because they already have experience in dealing with the technicalities of commercial kitchens. This will facilitate the process of creating a practical, functional, yet visually pleasing design for your commercial kitchen.
Following the design process, utility personnel will now need to be included in the project. All the installation you’ll need will be handled by them. A second opinion can help if they refuse to agree with the design as they claim it’s too ambitious.
After all, your designer made sure it’s workable. Your electricians, plumbers, and builders should also see your vision in your kitchen. This is to make it easier for them to incorporate their services into your design. You need their expertise, at the same time, they need your vision.
Fundamentals in Designing A Commercial Kitchen
You must be equipped with the knowledge of what to work out first before creating your kitchen design.
Know your menu.
Understanding your menu is an essential first step to evaluating the necessities of your kitchen. There is no standard kitchen design that will operate for every foodservice operation.
Commercial kitchen layouts include many staples, such as prep tables and washing stations, but you should consider the food that you intend to serve when determining which equipment to use and how to arrange it.
Talk to your chef and other kitchen staff. They’re the ones who’ll be operating in the kitchen each day, they must have input in how it will be built and designed.
Be conscious of your kitchen space.
It is easier to design more efficiently if you know what you are working with beforehand. Take these measurements before you begin.
When designing a kitchen’s workflow, keeping in mind not only square footage but also the location of windows, doors, and electrical outlets is crucial.
Know your local regulations.
Even if you were to design the perfect commercial kitchen for your exact needs, it would be for naught unless you took local codes and regulations into consideration.
Regulations vary on a regional and city level, so even if you’ve designed commercial kitchens elsewhere, it’s important to familiarize yourself with them before you begin designing.
What Makes Up A Commercial Kitchen
Organizing kitchen components in a particular pattern can optimize performance and efficiency. Some restaurants may also configure the kitchen according to the concept or design of their facility.
You will be able to plan the layout of your commercial kitchen more efficiently if you know what components need to be included from the outset. Incorporate these components into your commercial kitchen.
Food storage can be categorized as dry storage, cold storage, and non-food storage. Storage areas for non-food items are categorized into three categories: disposable products, cleaning supplies, and clean dishes.
You should always keep cleaning and sanitation chemicals away from food, food equipment, utensils, dishes, and disposables to prevent contamination.
Cleaning and Washing Station
Dedicated sinks are necessary for washing utensils, while dishwashing machines keep plates and pan fresh. Drying racks and other equipment necessary for cleaning and drying food produce, ingredients, and dishes are located in this area.
This area of the kitchen should be near the kitchen entrance to facilitate the quick drop-off of dirty dishes, as well as near storage areas so chefs can easily find clean food equipment and dishes.
Food Preparation Station
Depending on the type of food on the menu, your commercial kitchen may have several food preparation areas. It is typical for food preparation areas to have two sections: one for processing raw foods and the other for sorting and mixing foods into batches.
This section should be near your storage area so cooks can easily retrieve fresh dishes, prepare them, and move them to the cooking area.
In this area, you will find equipment including ranges, ovens, and fryers, which are used for making main dishes. The kitchen needs many pieces of cooking equipment unless your restaurant specializes in raw foods.
In the same way as the food preparation area, the meal cooking station can be divided into sections, such as the baking station, grilling station, and frying station. The meal cooking area should be located near the service area in the front of the kitchen.
Kitchen personnel can easily keep track of incoming order tickets with the help of a kitchen display system.
Commercial kitchens conclude with a service area. It is here where your serving staff will pick up completed dishes to carry them to customers. The food will be displayed in warmers for customers to assemble their plates if you have a self-service or buffet-style restaurant.
To shorten the distance from cooked meals to customers, this area should be located directly before the meal cooking area.
Factors That Affects The Design Of Commercial Restaurant Kitchen
Here are the factors that you should consider in designing your kitchen area.
A kitchen with an ergonomic design minimizes the movement of the kitchen staff, which is one of the most important factors that reduce the risk of accidents in the kitchen. It also minimizes unwanted spilling of food.
Energy consumption is one of the most important factors that you need to consider when designing a restaurant kitchen. For instance, placing the cookers in one area reduces the cost of range hoods.
It is essential to choose equipment that is designed for a professional kitchen, regardless of whether it is used or new. Whether it is a used or new item, restaurant kitchen equipment can generally be divided into the following groups:
- Dishwashing hardware
- Refrigerators, freezers
- Electrical hardware for cooking
- Cabinets, drawers, and shelves
In general, the size of the kitchen should be proportional to the number of seats in a restaurant. Of course, the size of the kitchen varies from one type of restaurant to another, but there is a specific ratio.
A restaurant’s kitchen must have at least five square feet of space at every seat.
Commercial Kitchen HVAC Design
It is not possible to operate a restaurant kitchen without adequate ventilation. Steam and smoke are unacceptable and can be hazardous for your employees.
You do not want your guests smelling like food after they leave your restaurant. Ensure that your HVAC is properly maintained and updated if needed.
Keeping food safe for consumption in your restaurant begins with design. You can keep food safe for consumption by positioning your receiving area near the fridge and by avoiding cleaning chemicals near the food.
It is also essential to check local regulations so that your restaurant takes extra precautions to ensure food safety. In some regions, local regulations may define your restaurant kitchen’s layout or design elements.
You must ensure proper sanitation and safety to protect your customers and employees. And since COVID-19, it’s become even more obvious that good restaurant cleaning is inherent.
As you design your commercial kitchen, you should also keep the health of your employees in mind. A professional kitchen should have good ventilation. Floor mats should be installed to prevent knee and back problems.
In planning a safe restaurant kitchen, you need to pay particular attention to fire safety. Install fire-exit doors, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers. Work with your designer to design appliances that can be used every day as well as emergency tools.
You’ll need an efficient kitchen if you want to succeed in your restaurant business, so don’t make the kitchen difficult for your staff to navigate. Focus on functionality first when designing a commercial kitchen floor plan.
The design of your kitchen should be seamless so that everyone can get their work done, from the expo to the line cook to the executive chef. Use only the equipment you need, and put certain stations where they are easiest to access.
Consider the purpose of your kitchen: cleaning, storing and inventory, food preparation, preparing meals, and serving. As a result of this arrangement, the food waste disposal and cleaning area are not near the meal preparation area, and dishes are disposed of in the dishwasher rather than being dumped into the kitchen.
Planning a commercial kitchen layout without considering maintenance is one of the most common mistakes. You do need to make sure you have room for your kitchen equipment to be repaired or replaced at some point.
When possible, you should design your kitchen to allow for easy movement of certain items and easy access to broken items such as refrigerators, ranges, ovens, microwaves, etc.
Common Types of Commercial Kitchen Configuration
Creating a commercial kitchen layout is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every foodservice establishment is different and will operate differently, so you have to decide what works best in the environment you’re working in.
Using a zone-style layout means the equipment is organized along the walls of the room; in this layout, you’ll have a dishwashing area, a storage area, a food prep area, etc.
Due to the open layout of the center of the space, communication and supervision are not difficult.
Assembly Line Layout
This layout may be more suitable for establishments with a limited menu that serves large quantities of the same foods, such as a sandwich shop or pizza shop, although it is viable for any kind of kitchen.
It allows cooks to quickly send food down the line as the preparation area is at one end and the service section is at the other. To keep them out of the way, the cleaning, washing, storage, and receiving areas can be located behind the assembly line.
The result is a kitchen that is open and efficient for good communication and flow. The equipment in the kitchen can be linked together, eliminating even more wasted space.
With the island layout, cooking equipment is grouped in one central area of the kitchen. Other portions are arranged on the perimeter of the kitchen in the proper order to maintain a circular flow.
The open floor plan promotes communication and supervision while leaving plenty of space for easy cleaning. It is most suitable for large, square-shaped kitchens, but many other shapes and sizes may be modified.
Open Kitchen Layout
A commercial kitchen design in which a wall is removed can be converted into an open kitchen for customers to see what’s going on behind the scenes.
A glass partition between the service area and the dining area is a smart choice to protect the food from unexpected sneezes or coughs. To ensure guest safety, hot cooking appliances should be kept at a safe distance from customers.
This type of kitchen provides an excellent opportunity for entertaining guests as well as maximizing a small space. There are many ways to create this kind of seating, including placing bar stools by the kitchen.
A very small space like a food truck, on the other hand, is only able to afford a galley kitchen. Even in a very large kitchen, like a restaurant, you can put multiple cooks in the kitchen and have them rotate between several stations simultaneously.
For small spaces and fewer employees, such as food trucks, the ring and galley layout will be the best fit. All kitchen equipment and workstations will be located along the perimeter of the kitchen in this layout.
Tips In Incorporating Commercial Kitchen Design Ideas
A strategic kitchen layout makes a kitchen functional and safe. A well-designed kitchen enables kitchen staff to work safely and effectively, producing fewer staff turnovers and higher customer satisfaction.
The truth is that no kitchen design stands above the rest. Here are some tips that can be beneficial for you and your kitchen designing journey.
- The kitchen should be adaptable. Changing trends in the culinary field are quite likely to require menu changes in the future. But it should be noted that adding cooked dishes to the menu will require different equipment.
Hence, your kitchen must be flexible and able to accommodate future market demands.
- For the preparation of meats and other foods that need low temperatures during cooking, keep electric stoves and ovens away from tables with cooling systems.
It is also recommended that refrigerators and ice makers be far away from food preparation appliances and baking equipment. This minimizes energy consumption and ensures the safety of processed foods.
- Dishes need a specific place to call home. They should always be returned to the same predetermined location each day. Store appliances with similar functions together.
- To avoid unnecessary collision, tension, and chaos in the kitchen, create working zones. Determine the actions to be undertaken in the kitchen and divide them into zones: areas for food cleaning, cutting, baking, frying, and cooking. Every employee working in a zone.
- It is important to pay attention to the energy consumption of electrical appliances when purchasing them. Electric appliances with low energy consumption are usually more cost-effective in the long run.