Commercial Kitchen Design Tips

 

restaurant-kitchenWhatever the style of kitchen, the general rule is that the larger the operation, the more services and facets have to be considered.

The three prime considerations that dictate kitchen design are:

  • Service requirement: Consider the service the kitchen has to provide – for instance, the numbers being served, is it an la carte menu, plated service, self-service, cafeteria-style, etc?
  • Space available: Is the space allocated sufficient to fit in the equipment required?
  • Budget: Always have an accurate idea of spend available.

The design process should never progress without a clear understanding of these considerations, which should then be structured around the need to provide the required service, while satisfying the basic codes of practice of food hygiene and handling and complying with statutory legislation.

Always carry out a risk assessment of any design to identify any shortfalls – for instance, the need to keep the food preparation area separate from the rest of the kitchen to negate the risk of cross-contamination.

Any design should incorporate good workflow patterns and ergonomic solutions to building constraints, so the following criteria should be considered:

Delivery

  • Ensure goods vehicles have adequate access to the premises, providing direct deliveries to the catering area. Provide adequate space to allow a goods check-in area before entering the kitchen.
  • Where possible, bulk storage should be close to the goods-in area so there’s no need for delivery personnel to enter the kitchen and food preparation area. Never underestimate the need to allow adequate space for dry, chilled and frozen goods. Many suppliers have minimum drop requirements.

Preparation

  • Position main preparation between bulk storage and the cooking process, to ensure the correct flow pattern. Where possible, different processes should be segregated – ie, raw meat and fish separate from prepared foods. If necessary, consider chilled preparation areas for high-risk food environments. In smaller establishments where segregation is not possible, stringent regimes must be employed to ensure segregation of processes, so that utensils and tables are suitably sanitised between processes. In addition, consider adequate refrigerated storage for prepared food.
  • Provide adequate prep sinks, separate pot-wash sinks and hand-wash facilities.

Cooking

  • When selecting cooking equipment, consider the requirements of the menu and the ability of the staff using the equipment. Although state-of-the-art equipment such as programmable combi-ovens, pressure bratt pans and computerised deep-fat fryers may be nice to have, they may not always be appropriate for the style and content of some menus. Conversely, never underestimate the benefits that hi-tech equipment can provide, in terms of cost control, and energy and labour savings.
  • Workflows and safety should be the prime drivers in the layout of a professional kitchen. Simple things include ensuring there’s a set-down space next to deep-fat fryers, never siting a fryer at the end of a run, and always allowing a minimum of 900mm corridor to the front of any cooking equipment, although 1,200mm is ideal.
  • Ensure the flow of the cooking suite suits the style of service, with fast-cook equipment such as fryers, salamanders and griddles nearest to the point of service and bulk cooking kit such as bratt pans, convection ovens and boiling pans further away.
  • Consideration should also be given to the mechanical and electrical services available. Sometimes it’s not possible to get gas into a building, or you may be restricted by the size of the incoming electrical supply.KitchenCookingArea

Food Service Area

  • The space requirement for service is often underestimated, particularly by architects. Whether the operation is waited service or tray-line style, you can minimise queuing by the provision of multi pick-up and service points. Consider adequate space for hot and cold holding of prepared food ready for service. If it’s a large site, counters may need to be replenished several times during a service period. In an la carte restaurant, allow sufficient space for plating up and hot pass. Where possible, locate the service point close to the final cooking process to avoid double handling.

Wash-up

  • Nearly always undersized by space planners, the dishwashing operation is key to the success of any catering establishment. If it fails through inefficient planning, the restaurant cannot function. To determine the space required, the capacity of dishwasher and the amount of ancillary sorting space, calculate the number of crockery, cutlery and hollow-ware items (don’t forget trays) to be used during a service period. All reputable dishwasher manufacturers can help you with this calculation and provide you with the correct size system and machine. Remember to allow sufficient space for the storage of clean items and the disposal of rubbish, ensuring the two are segregated to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Location is paramount to the efficient management of the space. Ideally it should be close to both the restaurant and service area to avoid double handling.
  • The amount of steam and moist air produced is often underestimated. If possible, consult a ventilation engineer.

Refuse

  • Always allow for a clearly defined route for dirty dishes that won’t conflict with preparation and service areas. Consider the location of an outside refuse bay, well away from the kitchen entrance.
    Staff facilities
  • Ensure that appropriately located and sized facilities for staff changing and locker areas and staff toilets are available near the kitchen.

Environmental

  • Consider energy efficiency of all equipment, as fuel costs are now higher than ever. Also, consider volumes of water used and research your product; many major manufacturers use energy efficiency as their USPs.
  • Consider any “green” policies, allow for recycling of bottles, aluminium, plastic and paper. If possible, have a recycling area.
  • Ensure correct ventilation and air replacement are available in all areas. Consult an engineer to ensure you comply with the minimum requirements of the local authority’s clean air policy.
  • Ensure lighting provides at least the minimum requirement of 500 lux at worktop height.
  • Invite your local EHO to view your plans and pass comment. It’s always best to get them on your side at the outset.

Building fabric

  • Ensure floors (non-slip), walls and ceilings can be cleaned and maintained easily.
    And remember, almost all designs are a compromise. A good design is one that best suits the constraint of space and budget without detrimental effect on service.

Ask busyCHEF to design your dream kitchen – whether a restaurant or tea room, pub or coffee shop – advice is free! Call Ian Canavan on Freephone 0500 008075.

Food Safety starts with Smart Restaurant Kitchen Design

restaurant-kitchen-plansDesigning 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.

Site Plan
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.

Floor Plan
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.

Sink Requirements
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
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.

Finish Schedules
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 info@yce.co.uk for further information.

The best choice of quality and reliable kitchen equipment and refrigeration at excellent web prices can be found at busyCHEF