Commercial kitchen design has a direct impact on the performance of a restaurant/café across a number of different measures, including efficiency, safety, and profitability. Good design will take account of many aspects of commerciality, from staff safety and ergonomics to food production and the efficiency of foodservices equipment.
By minimising the amount of movement around the kitchen, and the number of steps involved in the completion of a task, kitchens can increase both their productivity and safety. This is achieved by careful planning and consideration.
Three key factors determine good kitchen design:
- Space requirements and capacity
- The choice of equipment
Today, we are going to look at the methods involved in designing a viable and profitable commercial kitchen.
The first step in the design process is to look at the type of food that you are going to create. Consider each dish from start to finish and document all of the various cooking methods, storage, and preparation requirements needed to make the dish.
You should map your entire menu in this way before deciding on the kitchen size, plan, or layout. If you are restricted to a specific space beforehand, and your menu is too complex, then you will need to drop some dishes off the menu in order to accommodate for this.
Once you have done this, you should have a comprehensive list of all of the equipment you will need to complete the kitchen. You can then set about working out how big each of these items needs to be in terms of capacity, and then set about finding these items from a kitchen equipment supplier. This will give you the dimensions of the various pieces of equipment, and this will in turn allow you to work out how big the kitchen will need to be (taking into account walkways).
Now you know how much space you need, you can then set about choosing a site. This could be an existing kitchen, a kitchen that requires remodelling, or a kitchen that you construct from scratch.
Once you have chosen your site, contact your local HSE advisor to ensure that the space is viable for intended use. Otherwise, you might end up with an expensive project.
Next, you need to establish the precise measurements of the kitchen, taking into account the position of the windows and doorways, electrical sockets, piping and plumbing, and various drains (i.e. for washing machines, dishwashers, and sinks).
Ideally, you should use 3D modelling software to create a plan of the kitchen, with all of these existing fixtures and fittings in place. If you are having the kitchen designed professionally, then the designer will take care of this for you. If you do not have access to 3D software, then Architect paper is a sufficient, albeit time-consuming alternative.
The first consideration should be flow and ergonomics. These refer to the way that people move around the kitchen and the safest manner of using the various features in the kitchen.
A commercial kitchen should function in such a way as to minimise the number of steps involved in creating the dishes, while at the same time maximising efficiency, safety, and productivity. There needs to be sufficient room for people to move around the kitchen safely, while ensuring minimum time wastage.
The final step in the process is to ensure that your plans are workable and legal. To do this, you need to contact the Food Standards Agency for recommendations and advice. They will be able to direct you to the relevant people. It’s important that you have your plans assessed on a variety of conditions, including food, plumbing, electrical, and fire safety amongst other things.