Designing restaurant kitchens can be very complicated. There are many factors to be considered when planning where to put equipment and what materials to use. Local authorities may require detailed documents showing the site plan, floor plan, equipment layout and plumbing/mechanical/finish schedules even before any construction begins. These plans should be developed with food safety in mind. The information in this post can be used as a general guide to help new restaurateurs understand environmental health and local authority requirements when designing their kitchens.
A site plan should show the facility and surrounding areas such as parking, drains, incoming services and bin areas. Some operators may want the option to hose down their bin areas to keep them clean, but this can’t be done if there is no adequate drainage. Consideration should be given to access for food deliveries and any nuisance caused by smells from kitchen ventilation and noise from fridge room equipment.
This is the most important part of the planning process. Where to put equipment sets the flow of all restaurant operations. A good floor plan can increase efficiency for kitchen staff and servers and improve food safety. A bad floor plan can cause confusion and contribute to cross-contamination. The floor plan should show all areas of food service, storage, dishwashing, preparation, staff toilets and janitorial facilities.
Hand wash sinks should be convenient and easily accessible to all areas of the kitchen. To achieve this, multiple sinks may be needed. Employees should have access to hand wash sinks on the cook line, in prep areas and in the wash-up area. At least one mop sink should be available to fill up and dispose of mop water.
Adequate sinks must be available to show that pans and dishes can be washed separately from vegetables. The sinks should be large enough to submerge the largest piece of equipment. Seperate sinks are needed even if a dishwashing machine is installed.
Separate areas for dishwashing and food prep. If the kitchen is large enough, and to prevent cross-contamination, the dishwash area should have a separate entrance for staff to deliver dirty dishes without walking through any prep areas.
Equipment on the cook line should be positioned to execute the menu efficiently as well as prevent raw meats from contacting ready-to-eat foods. This can be tricky, but putting the salad prep area on the opposite end from where raw meat is handled will keep foods from contaminating each other from storage and handling.
All equipment must be of commercial quality and fit for purpose Use a reputable kitchen installer to source the equipment. Stainless steel for all shelves and benches is now standard practice. To facilitate cleaning, all stationary equipment should be sealed to the wall or spaced for cleaning.
A finish schedule should show the materials used for all floors, walls and ceilings. It’s important to understand finishes in the kitchen will be different than in the toilets or restaurant areas. As a general rule, all finishes in food prep areas should be smooth, easily cleanable and impervious. Some local authorities also require that light colors be used so it’s easier to see if areas are clean. Typical kitchen finishes are correctly gloss painted or plastic clad walls, non-slip vinyl flooring coved to the walls, washable ceiling tiles or matt painted finish.
Plan Early to Save Time and Money
As you can see, a lot goes into planning a restaurant kitchen. Often, new operators don’t understand that decisions made in the beginning can greatly impact flow. This can lead to longer wait times, unhappy customers, cross-contamination and increased risk of illness—all of which can have a negative impact on sales. Start planning early with an emphasis on efficiency and food safety. Use a reputable kitchen installer to help with your design and choosing the correct equipment.
Each local authority has different plan review requirements. Submit plans early and don’t start construction until those plans are approved. The environmental health officer will have comments and concerns regarding the plans, and adjustments may need to be made. It could be costly if the work has already started without these changes on the final plans. Please consult your local authority for more information.
Using a reputable kitchen installer such as YCE Catering Equipment in Leeds could save you time and money. Give them a call on 0113 252 6566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
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