The Importance of a Good Kitchen Layout in Your Restaurant
When most people picture a restaurant kitchen, usually it is associated with rows and rows of pots and pans, grills, utensil racks, big freezers and of course, the preparation of food. Combining all these elements together, there is also the bustle of staff members, kitchen staff led by a frantic chef and the waiting staff with their order tickets running in and out. Some people may even associate a restaurant kitchen with all its noises; the cutting, the sizzling and the oven timers going off, while others may visualise the tantalising aromas of herbs, spices and the food that is being cooked.
No matter how many elements there are in a restaurant kitchen, they are not the only things that define it. Even though there is all the necessary equipment, personnel, sounds and aromas present, a restaurant kitchen cannot be fully productive or functional without a particular pattern of running things. This requirement for a proper pattern was the element that drove kitchen layout patterns for commercial kitchens, to enhance performance and efficiency.
Knowing how important it is to have a proper kitchen layout pattern in your restaurant is the best way to start thinking about adapting one. Restaurateurs usually invest a lot of money in the FOH (Front of House) areas visible to guests and give less attention and investment into the BOH (Back of House), not realising that a streamlined BOH process is the key to a satisfactory customer experience and also to a pleasant employee experience. Hence, it is always wise to know the pros of having a proper kitchen layout.
Effectively manage time and cost
One of the main advantages of a properly planned kitchen in your restaurant is the cutting off of unnecessary time and cost expenditures. Properly designing the kitchen layout and utilising the available space effectively can reduce the need for future modifications by having satisfactory room for storage and advanced equipment alike. Having proper storage spaces and preparation spaces also means fewer food wastages, therefore, saving your costs further.
Additionally, the chef and the kitchen staff need to have adequate space and easy accessibility to all parts of the kitchen, in order to execute orders efficiently. This leads to shorter food preparation times, enabling the kitchen to dole out the maximum possible number of orders and decreasing the table turnaround time.
Function as a neat, orderly kitchen
When your restaurant kitchen is arranged in a proper layout where every piece of equipment and every single utensil has a proper place to be stored, managing the kitchen and keeping it tidy is not a hard task. It is also a safety concern when your kitchen equipment has no assigned storage spaces, so a proper kitchen layout mitigates haphazards in the kitchen as well.
Furthermore, when every utensil is in its right place, the food that comes out of the kitchen is hygienic and clean. Serving customers tasty, clean food is the ultimate goal of any restaurant and having a proper layout in your kitchen is the beginning of achieving this.
A restaurant kitchen is the definition of hustle and bustle. There are so many interconnected tasks being done in a kitchen and each one of them has to be executed perfectly to gain the desired outcome; a perfect dish prepared in a minimum amount of time. To achieve this, the many tasks of the kitchen have to have an assigned space to be executed, and it has to be planned after careful thinking. For example, the wash basins or sinks have to be away from the cooking station to avoid accidents. If the kitchen staff is constantly bothered by such trivial concerns, it limits their creativity and their output. When these kinds of productivity barriers are eliminated through a proper kitchen layout, the potency of your restaurant is undoubtedly to skyrocket.
5 key components of a commercial kitchen
There are several needs that must be fulfilled in a commercial kitchen space, which serve as the bases for all kitchen layout plans. All commercial kitchen layout plans are built around the importance of these functionalities of a kitchen and it is important to study them before moving on to the layouts.
The five main components of a commercial kitchen are; storage area, washing station, food prep station, cooking station and service area.
Any commercial kitchen has the requirement of storing items. Not just food such as fresh produce, meats and dry rations, but also cooking utensils such as pots and pans as well as place settings including plates, glasses, table mats, etc. Depending on the items you need to store, your storage area may need to have refrigerators, a pantry area and cupboards or racks.
A washing station is a must-have in every kitchen, both domestic and commercial because it is the key area that ensures proper hygienic methods are maintained. Raw food is not the only element that needs washing in a kitchen, but also the dishes and utensils that are being used in the cooking and serving process. In a commercial kitchen, it is recommended to have separate washing stations for food and dishes to make sure that the raw food doesn’t get soiled by dirty dish studs. A washing station in a commercial kitchen may have dishwashers, sinks and drying racks.
Food prep station
Food preparation stations are the spaces where raw food is getting prepared to be cooked. A lot of activities such as cutting, chopping, seasoning, etc., get done at food prep stations, therefore, they require a lot of counter space. A commercial kitchen may have several food prep stations depending on the size of the restaurant and the variety of the menu. Usually, food prep stations are located close to the refrigerators, for the ease of storing prepared food.
The most prominent part of any kitchen is the cooking station and it consists of cookers, ovens, fryers, grills, etc. The size of the cooking station in your restaurant kitchen may depend on the size of the restaurant and how many dishes have to be prepared at a given time.
Any commercial kitchen has a service area and it is used for plating the food and handing them over to the serving staff. Naturally, the service area is located as closely as possible to the dining area to make the service easy and efficient.
Types of kitchen layouts
According to the placement of the main areas and stations described above, there can be many kitchen layout styles. However, there are five major layout designs for commercial kitchens to choose from; Island-style Layout, Zone-style Layout, Assembly Line Layout, Galley Layout and Open Kitchen Layout.
Best for - Large restaurant kitchens where there is ample space