There are certain steps to follow when planning for a commercial kitchen design and planning, as nothing can be changed after it is finally done.
Step 1: Involve Your Chef
It is absolutely necessary to involve your chef in the commercial kitchen design and planning, as the chef decides what equipment needs to be laid out in the kitchen, depending upon the menu chosen for the restaurant business. The chef has a better idea about the ratio of the kitchen to the service area and finally, the flow of work is also an important part of the decision. Efficiency at the back-of-house is best when there is sufficient space given, although designers and the front-of-house team could also be involved in the decision.
Step 2: Know Your Menu
Since every commercial kitchen needs a menu, the development of a specific menu is highly important in the process of planning. While the menu is being crafted, list out all the specific ingredients needed for each meal, the steps involved, and the equipment that would be used. Once the menu is finalized, you can decide the placement of the ovens, prep stations, and more.
Step 3: Think About What You Don’t Need
When you design a commercial kitchen, you must think as to how equipment in the kitchen can be used multiple times, like a blender can be used to make soup as well as salsa. Ensure that you include detailed measurements of equipment for food prep, display, refrigeration, and storage. Choose whether you would have a walk-in or free-standing cold storage equipment.
Step 4: Research Local Health Codes
When you design a commercial kitchen, it is mandatory to consider restaurant regulations, although these vary from state to state. Along with these come health codes, fire codes, and employee safety deals which need to be taken into consideration. According to regulations, there could be a minimum distance that needs to be maintained between the food prep station and any sinks or disposal drains, vents, and grease traps, the size and temperature capacity of hot water tanks, and the design and location of food storage areas. Restaurant licenses and permits need regular reviews while designing a commercial kitchen.
When you consider a floor plan for your commercial kitchen, the following factors need to be considered. These are common factors that any back-of-house design should consider.
- Flexibility and space efficiency – If your commercial kitchen is designed to be flexible like your menu, then the kitchen should be a modular one with equipment on wheels or workstations that can be used for multiple tasks, which would allow you to use space more efficiently.
- Simplicity – Any commercial kitchen should be easy to navigate by using only specific equipment that you need, and also place them at proper stations to make a clear workflow.
- Kitchen Workflow – Although most kitchens are messy in nature, it still demands a high order of discipline is maintained. This can be achieved by designing your kitchen with areas by function, like cleaning, storage and inventory, food preparation, meal cooking, and service. This layout prefers to have waste disposal and cleaning areas far away from the cooking area and meal service area, by having different exits for meal preparation and dirty dishes.
- Food Sanitation & Food Safety – When designing a commercial kitchen, ensure that you have sufficient wash stations, proper size drainboards, racks, and landing tables by considering the volume of cutlery, dishes, glasses and trays that could accumulate on a busy day. This should include the right size of dishwashers too. Restaurant food safety and restaurant health codes should be followed at every step
- Energy Efficiency – Since commercial kitchens require high power, a huge part of the restaurant budget would be devoured by energy costs. Therefore, it makes sense to place equipment strategically while designing a commercial kitchen. Placing cold storage as far as possible from heat sources would help appliances from working overtime.
- Air Ventilation – While designing a commercial kitchen, plan ahead to have proper ventilation in the kitchen, otherwise indoor air quality – odor and air circulation could suffer. The range fan should be turned on when the chef starts cooking, the filter to be replaced regularly, install floor fans and air purifiers throughout the kitchen.
- Commercial Kitchen Equipment – A general list of commercial kitchen equipment that needs to be installed while you design one. These totally depend on the menu that will be served at the restaurant. Range – Oven – Grill – Deep fryer – walk-in cooler – freezer – saucepans – baking sheets – steam table – plates – mixing bowls – cleaning rags – buckets – rubber floor mats – hand sanitizer/soap – fire extinguisher.
- Technology – Technology in your back-of-house should be modular, flexible, and easy to use. Install display screens that can maximize accuracy, help you serve with customer routing preferences to prep stations, and integration with online ordering systems.