Designing a Functional Restaurant Kitchen

Many factors go into opening and running a restaurant, including designing a functional space for your customers to eat in and enjoy. However, there’s another space that’s just as important in your restaurant, and that’s your kitchen. The kitchen is where most of the action for your restaurant is going to take place, and if it’s not designed in a functional way, the flow and productivity of your business will suffer.

It’s time to look at the crucial areas of your commercial kitchen’s design and see how they relate to your business. Think of the operations of your kitchen, and the common processes that occur everyday.

First, you need to have food in the kitchen to cook, which means you’ll need to receive deliveries of produce and meat. The ‘deliveries’ section is where these goods arrive, and it could also includes any drinks that are delivered. You’ll need to work out how these products will be taken care of after delivery. Will they need to be stored or refrigerated? Make sure you have adequate receiving processes so you don’t have food waste or spoilage.

Next is ‘storage’, both dry and cold. You will need to determine what type of storage you need first, and then how much storage you’ll need. Consider these questions to find the best options.

  • How long does the food typically stay in storage?
  • How often do I get deliveries?
  • How big is the kitchen space?
  • How much food is prepared on a daily or weekly basis?
  • What type of storage can I reasonably accommodate while still maintaining function in the kitchen?

Cold storage will require freezers and refrigerators, and these come in a variety of sizes and styles, such as undercounter or freestanding. Shop around for commercial refrigeration options that match your needs and budget.

Dry storage will require proper shelving, and you will need to meet the food hygiene regulations, so be sure you do your research.

Now that the food is stored safely and securely, it’s time for ‘food prep’. Prep is a crucial part of your commercial kitchen, and what you need determines how your food prep area will be set up. Do you need to have the storage and refrigeration close by your prep? Is it important to have a combination prep/refrigeration option in the kitchen? If it’s important for you to have quick access to small appliances and other kitchen needs, you will need to have a prep solution that can accommodate all of these.

If you prepare food beyond salads and sandwiches, you likely need commercial kitchen equipment for ‘production’. Here is where you’ll need to consider the size and type of the larger-size equipment, such as a commercial range or oven. As these pieces of equipment take up a lot of space, you will have to consider how much you’ll use them and how they can fit in your kitchen to improve how you prepare food for your customers. Don’t overlook things such as commercial ice machines either, because those are important for your customers’ food and drink experience a well.

Once the food is cooked, it needs to be plated and served to your customers. After the food is served, all dirty dishes, linen and tableware will need to be removed as well. These aspects are part of the service area of your commercial kitchen’s design. Your servers should ideally have a service station where they can easily get the supplies they need to set and clean up a table. If food, once plated, will be waiting to be picked up, a station or area for hot-holding is another factor that makes it easy for your servers to feed customers efficiently and quickly.

What happens after the food has been consumed by your happy customers? Your waiting staff will need to clean up, which means you’ll have dishes – so to the ‘wash-up’. Dishwashing is a must in any busy commercial kitchen and you’ll need the equipment that can keep your dishes sparkling clean and ready for customers. If you aren’t using a commercial dishwasher, it’s crucial that you have a dish-washing system that includes areas for washing, rinsing and sanitation — it contravenes food hygiene regulations to perform all three in the same sinks, so be aware. The dishwasher you will need will depend on how much you need to wash, how big your space is, your budget.

Cleaning the restaurant, not just the plates, must be considered as well. Chemicals, brushes, cleaning cloths — all of these will be used to clean your restaurant. To comply with COSHH, they need to separated and stored away from anywhere where food is stored and prepared, and chemicals need to safely secured. Ensure you have adequate space to keep all of these things together.

Finally, you have to deal with ‘waste’ at your restaurant. Rubbish and food waste must be disposed of, and you need to make sure that you have the right equipment on hand to do so. Bin liners, waste bins, recycling bins, and other rubbish needs will mean that there has to be storage of these products, and you need to arrange your kitchen so that they may be easily retrieved.

Your kitchen requires careful consideration and planning. It, itself, is like a business, where everyone and everything has its part. The task is difficult, but it’s worth it for a perfectly functioning commercial kitchen.

For help or advice please contact the Busychef team on 0500 008075 or email sales@busychef.co.uk