An efficient restaurant kitchen layout is crucial for a safe, fast and quality service.
A poorly designed kitchen can be the main ingredient for a disaster recipe. The fast-paced environment can result in people bumping into each other or hitting a structure. When designing a restaurant kitchen, the priority should be the efficient flow of moving people and supplies. Kitchen function first before kitchen aesthetics.
Here are the areas that you need to identify at the start of your kitchen design process.
- Food Prep area: counter space, cutting tools, and storage containers.
- Washing areas: ideally, one for food and another for dishes to avoid food contamination.
- Storage area: space for storing utensils and other cooking tools, food ingredients and place settings.
- Cooking area: space for cooking appliances and a kitchen display system for BOH staff to keep up with incoming tickets.
- Service area: space for plating dishes and handing them off to servers to deliver to diners.
Identifying these essential areas in your kitchen is just the beginning. To make an area serve its maximum capability, you need to consider the following elements in your design.
Restaurant industry guidelines say to use 60% of your space to the front of house, and the remaining 40% is for your back of house.
But, just how much room do you have to work with?
Your kitchen needs to be able to accommodate storage space that is appropriate for your needs. Factors that can affect this include:
- the volume of your business – how much equipment will your kitchen need to hold
- the frequency of your delivery – the less frequency, the more storage you may need
- the types of storage – ideally for dry, refrigerated and frozen items
In addition to storage, you need to consider how many people will be in the kitchen and the typical staff’s routes between stations. To maintain effective movement, the Building Code of Australia recommends that in a kitchen, each person needs 10m2.
It would seem obvious to think that a more prominent space is always better when designing a kitchen layout, but no, it’s not always right. You can indeed fit in more of everything. Still, if space is not designed so that each station relates to each other, people could be wasting valuable time getting to and fro an area, or people could get hurt avoiding ill-placed equipment or a structure with low headroom.
This leads us to…
Flow in terms of kitchen design means moving from one stage of your cooking process to the next with little space or friction between them.
An example is the designation of the delivery receiving area, which should be situated near your storage. The storage should be situated next to your preparation area, which is located near your cooking area. Your cooking area should be located near your plating area which is next to your servery…and so on.
It is a simple concept that aims for efficiency. When you design with the flow in mind, you decrease mistakes, accidents, food contamination. You also gain speed in prep time and have less fatigued staff. Your staff will quickly know where to get their needed items fast, and they wouldn’t have to walk all over the place to accomplish a task.
A kitchen design with a logical designation of stations makes for less chaos. And this logical designation of kitchen stations reflects the kitchen processes involved in creating a dish and fast service.
RELATED READ: 5 Keys to Removing the Risk From Open Kitchens
Safety and design go hand in hand.
Food safety is a priority in our industry, and we need to create an environment that will inherently promote this. In addition to food safety training, you need to provide a kitchen structure or layout to support your staff as they implement it.
Design a space that prioritises food safety, such as having your chillers near the receiving area to ensure less time is lost when moving temperature-sensitive ingredients. Another is ensuring that the storage for cleaning chemicals is situated away from where food preparation is done. Another great example is ensuring that your food prep for raw materials is separate from cooked areas. You want to avoid food contamination and you need to make it easy for your staff to do it.
Aside from food safety, your kitchen design should also take your staff’s safety in mind. Consider space for ventilation and that the workspace dimensions allow for optimal movement. Create fire exits and ensure the installation of fire safety equipment.
A great kitchen layout also supports staff interactions and communication. A maze-like kitchen or one with walled-off sections can isolate people. An open floor plan makes it easy for Managers and Executive Chefs to oversee the comings and goings in the kitchen.
An efficient restaurant kitchen layout can make a world of difference to the quality of food and service you deliver and your staff’s well-being.
If you are based in Perth or WA and needs assistance in creating an efficient workflow in your kitchen, give us a call and let us help you create the cafe or restaurant of your dreams.
That’s it for this week.
As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!
Ciao for now,