Few other aspects of designing your restaurant are as crucial as designing the kitchen for it. This is where your chef and operations team will bring your menu to life, impressing customers in the process and having them return for more. The commercial kitchen is also an expensive investment, since the equipment for it costs a small fortune. Bearing the implications in mind, how do you ensure you plan and design your commercial kitchen fit out to maximise productivity and efficiency, while containing costs? The key lies in extensive planning and expert consultation before you make any purchases, so you aren’t left with an incomplete commercial kitchen and unexpectedly large bill.
To start with, discuss your restaurant menu with your chef. While it may be hard to finalise a menu months before the restaurant is open, you should be able to determine what most of it will look like. Once you have most of your menu in place, your chef will be able to determine what equipment he will require to prepare the dishes. Using this approach ensures you aren’t purchasing equipment you won’t require, hence avoiding major unwanted expenses.
Armed with this information, you can now involve experienced designers to discuss ideal kitchen designs, making the best use of the space available and further enhancing its potential with a smart layout. Your chef and designer will have valuable input on layout, grouping equipment that have similar purposes or creating separate work zones out of the same space, allowing for greater functionality in the process. You also need to incorporate health and safety regulations in the planning stage so your kitchen is prepared to pass all inspections before it opens for business.
While the layout of your commercial kitchen will depend on the space available and other such unique factors, there are some common features that you must consider:
Everything in your commercial kitchen will have a specific use, based on which they can be grouped together. Organising your kitchen equipment as per their function will make it easier for your back of house team to find tools faster, since they belong to specific sections in your kitchen. Additionally, keep cooler appliances such as refrigerators and chillers away from equipment that functions at a higher temperature, to prevent unwanted energy consumption.
Choose commercial equipment wisely, taking into account their individual energy consumption estimates. Very often, cheaper equipment consume more energy, making it a costly purchase in the long run. Instead, it’s advisable to opt for equipment that is energy efficient, even if they are relatively more expensive. Since this equipment is designed to last for a longer period, you will end up saving more money with a reduced energy bill in the long term.
Good ventilation in your kitchen isn’t something you can compromise on, since it impacts the health and efficiency of your staff. The regulations around ventilation is also something you need to bear in mind. A smoky kitchen is dangerous and also uncomfortable, and can also affect the taste of the food that is prepared in it, giving more reason to have adequate ventilation in place.
Create separate working zones in your custom commercial kitchen for tasks such as frying, baking, cutting and cleaning. Doing this ensures your team is able to work efficiently in their respective zones, preventing chaos in the kitchen. It also lets your team be more efficient since they aren’t forced to go from one end of the kitchen to another for every little task.
Your restaurant fit out needs to last you a long time in order to prove cost-effective. Hence, the equipment you choose and the storage design and overall layout must be easy to maintain. Pay attention to the material that is used in designing the kitchen as well, choosing sturdier materials that are also durable and easy to clean.
Your restaurant menu isn’t set in stone. It’s likely you will want to refresh your menu every few months, based on seasonal trends and customer demand. Some of these dishes you decide to include may require a different set of equipment, hence your kitchen design must be flexible enough to adapt to changes in the future.
Hospitality World Direct is one of Australia’s largest food service equipment suppliers, with two large showrooms in Melbourne and a state of the art online store that showcases one of the widest range of products in Australia. Contact Hospitality World Direct for your commercial kitchen fit out needs on 03 9543 1611 today.