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Choosing The Best Flooring For Your Commercial Kitchen
Of all the areas of your commercial kitchen, your flooring is one of the most important. Any food or drink that gets spilled onto it can turn it into a death trap for your staff. Spillages can lead to people slipping over, and if they're not cleaned up straight away they can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Dirt and bacteria already make their way into your kitchen via the shoes on the feet of your staff, so it's important to do everything you can to minimise this. When it comes to purchasing the flooring for your commercial kitchen there are several things that you should take into account:
- Slip resistance: Commercial kitchens get quite busy and chaotic at peak service times, with lots of staff trying to move around all at once. All of that hustle and bustle, accompanied by food, grease and water on the kitchen floor can lead to it becoming a serious slip and trip hazard. Slip resistant flooring is absolutely essential in any commercial kitchen in order to minimise and control the risk of your staff slipping and injuring themselves.
- Practicality: Safety and practicality should be at the forefront when you're thinking about what flooring to purchase. For example a tiled floor can easily chip and crack with the constant heavy use associated with a commercial kitchen. This then opens up more nooks and crannies in which bacteria can hide and grow. Flooring that is durable, not prone to cracking, and ideally in one piece without seams is ideal for your kitchen.
- Maintenance: Easy to clean flooring is ideal in a commercial kitchen setting as spillages need to be dealt with as quickly as possible so as not to disrupt service too much. Slip resistant epoxy or vinyl flooring is easy to clean and doesn't provide cracks etc for food to get caught in, meaning that it can be swept and mopped much more easily.
- Durability: Changing the flooring in your commercial kitchen every two to three years is a real hassle so it's important to look for flooring that offers excellent durability. A slip-resistant, easy-to-clean, durable floor might appear to cost more in terms of initial outlay but it will save you money, time and hassle in the long run.
Commercial Kitchen Arrangement
There is no hard and fast rule that says you must arrange your commercial kitchen in a certain way in order to achieve the best results. There are four arrangements that are quite common among many commercial kitchens, but at the end of the day persoanl preference and kitchen size and shape all come into play.
- Ergonomic - An ergonomically configured kitchen is one that is arranged according to what is most comfortable for the chef and kitchen staff. For example a freezer may be placed directly next to a deep-fat fryer. This is not energy efficient but it allows for easy access to things such as frozen chips, which can be placed into the deep-fat fryer without the chef having to take a step.
- Assembly line - This type of kitchen configuration is often best suited to a restaurant that produces large quantities of the same food, such as pizzas. An assembly line kitchen is laid out according to the order in which certain equipment is used. For example a pizza restaurant assembley line may start with the refrigerator that stores the dough, then onto the dough shaping area, then to the prep table laid out with sauce, cheese and toppings, then on to the oven, and finally to the heated holding station or boxing area.
- Zone style - A zone style kitchen configuration is typically divided into several different zones. For example you might find a dedicated food preparation area, a cooking area, a refrigeration area and a sanitisation and cleaning area. Zoned kitchens like this can help to keep things organised and prevent cross-contamination as everything has its own dedicated area.
- Island style - This type of kitchen configuration is similar to a zone style kitchen but there is one main block, or island, in the centre of the kitchen. A commercial kitchen with an island style configuration will typically place the cooking equipment in the centre, with the outer walls of the kitchen being home to the food preparation areas, storage and hot holding area.
Commercial Kitchen Layout
The design and layout of a commercial kitchen can mean the difference between a successful restaurant and one that doesn't achieve the desired success. A poorly designed kitchen will lead to disorganisation and delays in service. You'll get through fewer covers during service which will ultimately affect the profit margin of your restaurant business. A kitchen should be designed to make service flow smoothly and quickly, enabling your chefs to keep up with the demands of the covers. When planning the design and layout for a commercial kitchen you need to consider the following factors:
- Available space - The general rules for the kitchen space is to allow five square feet of space per seat in your restaurant. Therefore if your restaurant can hold 100 customers at full capacity then you'd ideally need a 500 square foot kitchen. Once you have allocated the right amount of space to you kitchen it's then important to make sure that space gets used as efficiently as possible.
- Mobility -A commercial kitchen that has been arranged well should allow employees to move around easily without bumping into one another or bumping into equipment or fixtures. The easy mobility of your employees is essential for a smooth-running kitchen, especially during peak service times.
- Health and safety - Whether you're setting up a brand new commercial kitchen or refurbishing an existing one it's important to keep your local health and safety executive informed. They're always on hand to provide any advice and guidance that you need whilst you're setting your kitchen up and once the restaurant is open.
- Ergonomics - The fewer steps your employees need to take in completing a task, the better it is all round. An ergonomically designed kitchen should enable employees to complete all of their tasks in one spot with minimal bending, reaching, turning and walking. Ergonomics in the kitchen can also help to reduce the amount of injury, discomfort and fatigue experienced by employees.
- Energy efficiency - Commercial kitchens that have energy efficiency as one of their primary considerations will ultimately save money on their utility costs, thus improving their profit margin. Refrigeration and cooking equipment should be kept as far apart as is practicable while cooking equipment should be arranged in order to maximise the efficiency of the extractor hood.
- Flexibility - It is important for a commercial kitchen to be flexible in its layout. Changes in food trends could lead to new menus, which in turn can lead to certain equipment now being used more or less often that it previously was, so the location of the equipment may need to be revised. It is recommended that equipment is placed so that it is easy to move during cleaning anyway.
- Sensory appeal - Your customers will be able to smell the appetising food being prepared in the kitchen, but you could use the kitchen layout to appeal to their other senses too. Exhibit kitchens allow your customers to see what is going on, so this appeals to their visual sense.