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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.
Professional Kitchen Equipment Essentials
Whether you're starting a catering business and fitting a kitchen from scratch or just updating your existing restaurant kitchen there are several key pieces of equipment that are guaranteed to make life a lot easier for your kitchen staff!
- A Stove Top - Every professional kitchen needs a stove top, ideally an induction one as these are much more energy efficient, cook food a lot faster and don't radiate as much heat as traditional gas hobs.
- A Combi Oven - An oven that has several functions is a great space-saver in a professional kitchen. Rational ovens are a popular choice for many restaurants and gastro-pubs as they are fairly compact and have the capability to cook, bake and steam a variety of different foods.
- A Deep Fat Fryer - Ideally a kitchen should have two deep fat fryers as a minimum so that fish products can be fried separately to avoid cross-contamination with other foods for customers that may have a fish allergy.
- Microwaves - Several microwaves are always handy in a commercial kitchen as they're the easiest way to reheat pre-pared food for quick service.
- A Griddle - If your restaurant serves any steak or burgers then a flat or ribbed griddle is essential to achieve the best flavour for your customers. A water vapour chargrill is another great piece of kit for griddling without producing unnessary smoke and will produce moist and tender results. Recently the French style plancha grill has become a popular way of producing succulent results for all types of griddled food.
- A Panini Press - If you plan on serving lunches or light meals then a Panini press is a must. Paninis are incredibly popular so they're a good addition to most menus.
- A Grill - They are usually found on wall mounted shelves above ovens or can be sited on a special built in stainless steel shelf unit attached to an induction cooking suite, so they don't take up unnecessary space. A grill, or salamader grill is essential in a commercial kitchen as it's the quickest way of finishing the tops of dishes such as lasagne, deserts and pies along with toasting bread and heating up garlic ciabatta bread.
- Hot Cabinet - A hot holding cupboard and a bain-marie are essential in fast paced kitchens where food is prepared and kept warm ready for serving. This allows for much quicker service usually.
- Commercial Dishwasher - Busy restaurants use a lot of crockery and cutlery on a daily basis so it's important to have a dishwasher that can handle near constant running during service.
- Fridges/Freezers - It's important to have an adequate amount of chilled and frozen storage within the food preparation area for items that are needed regularly throughout service. It's also vital to have plenty of back-up storage as well in a separate area.
- Pans/Utensils - It's vital to have a good variety of pots, pans and utensils for all purposes. Make sure they're stored safely and within easy reach of the food preparation area; there's nothing more annoying for a chef than needing a spoon and not having one immediately to hand!
- Extraction Canopy - A commercial kitchen creates a lot of steam and fumes with all of the different equipment running and cooking food releasing grease into the air so it's important to have an adequate ventilation system. An extraction canopy sucks the greasy air and gases out of the kitchen and an air input system or air make up system provides fresh air back in.
Commercial Kitchen Design - 9 Points To Consider
Careful consideration to commercial kitchen design, prior to embarking on your kitchen installation, will ensure you end up with a kitchen which suits you as well as your staff and will work efficiently during your busiest service times.
- Do I need planning permission?
- What sort of catering equipment will be needed and will this require a specialist kitchen ventilation system?
- Have designated work areas been defined for different operations in the kitchen to incorporate a smooth work flow?
- Have wall and floor finishes been chosen that are safe and easy to keep clean?
- Is catering equipment chosen energy efficient, easy to keep clean and service and from a local, reliable and trusted source?
- Is frozen and chilled storage, as well as dry goods storage been incorporated in order to make production easy set under counters near point of use?
- Has enough space been allowed for easy movement around the commercial kitchen?
- Has cleaning been made easy with sinks and a designated bucket sink in the cleaning area?
- Dishwashers are great, but what happens if they break down? Make sure you have at least 2 sinks in dishwashing tabling so that you can wash by hand if necessary.
Check out energy efficient catering equipment which can be incorporated into your commercial kitchen design.
Commercial Kitchen Ventilation - 8 Points To Help You Get It Right
Commercial kitchen ventilation is one of the most important elements to get right when designing or refurbishing a commercial kitchen. Here are 8 tips to help you ensure you get it right.
- Gas or electric catering equipment? - the type of fuel you cook with determines the type of system you will need. Gas produces dangerous by products of combustion which must be removed.
- Consult with the local authority - their advice is invaluable as conditions must be complied with. It could prove costly if you don't as they can enforce the removal of illegal, non compliant ventilation systems.
- Choose your grease filters carefully - the type of filters you use can reduce grease carry-over. Mesh and baffle filters are only around 40% efficient at removing grease. Cyclone cartridge filters are 96% efficient.
- Make sure your fan is quiet and powerful enough - the fan should be correctly sized and easy to access for cleaning.
- Fit a speed controller - this will help to reduce energy consumption.
- Keep duct runs to a minimum - this will make cleaning easier. Also make sure ductwork has regular inspection and access hatches to make cleaning easier and accessible for insurance inspections and cleaning records.
- Consider your neighbours - when positioning the kitchen ventilation outlets high level outlets are best. Fit odour control filters or Ozone Plasma systems to reduce odours to acceptable levels
- Don't forget supply air - your extraction system can only work efficiently if it can suck air into the kitchen as well as out. Make sure supply air vents are fitted and are not blocked. Gas equipment needs combustion air otherwise it will produce carbon monoxide - a silent killer.
When using gas catering equipment you need to fit a Gas Safety Ventilation Interlock System to your commercial kitchen ventilation system to prevent gas equipment use in the event of a ventilation system failure.
Target Catering Equipment offer an alternative solution to gas range cooking with their energy efficient Commercial Induction Catering Equipment. This can reduce your commercial kitchen ventilation system specification along with the installation costs as well as providing energy saving benefits, reducing running costs and helping the environment.