4 Tips for Setting Up Your Commercial Kitchen

4 Tips for Setting Up Your Commercial Kitchen

You've been on a culinary journey for even longer than you realize. Whether it started in grandma's kitchen or over a hot plate in your dorm room, the spark was lit and your path toward opening a restaurant began. You've struggled, saved, and dreamed and now it's time. Time to build your first commercial kitchen. But it can be an overwhelming process. From health codes to energy efficiency, there is so much to consider. Thanks to our experience repairing refrigeration in kitchens across the area, we've compiled a list of tips for you to consider as you design your kitchen.

Consider much food will you store at once

Will you keep just enough fresh ingredients for one day and replenish them daily? Or do you need more storage than that? How much of your staple ingredients will you have at once? Thinking through these questions is important so that you can determine the size of your dry storage units, as well as your refrigeration. For example, would a table-top or under-counter refrigerator be enough? Or do you need a full-size fridge or even a walk-in? Once you've answered these questions, you can move onto designing the flow of the space.

Compile a list of equipment, from essential to specialty

Almost every commercial kitchen needs the basics, including:

Work tables

Refrigeration

Food carriers

A dishwasher or compartmentalized sinks

Basic kitchen needs, including pans

But from here, you will need to add specialty equipment. A breakfast spot might need toasters and slicers, while an Asian restaurant might need rice cookers and a coffee spot will need espresso machines and blenders. Each type of appliance will come in varying levels of production and cost and it's vital to get equipment that will get the job done, but also fit your space and your budget. Keep in mind that commercial-grade appliances have varying needs when it comes to power and your electrical setup should be designed to accommodate them.

Design the flow of the space

Even home chefs know that an efficient kitchen flow is vital to the cooking experience. No one wants to carry dripping dishes across the kitchen to the poorly-placed dishwasher. In the same way, but on a much grander scale, the flow of a commercial kitchen is vital both for efficiency and safety. A poor kitchen flow can result in frustration, slow production, and even spills and injuries.

First, educate yourself on the most common kitchen layout styles, including zone, island, assembly, and open. This article has a great explanation. Next, plan your prep area by writing out an ingredient list for every item on your menu and set up your prep station accordingly. For example, if you are going to create 50 salads a day, you don't want your staff walking across the kitchen for the croutons 50 times. Design the space so everything fits where you need it. Next, begin to think about sanitation. This is not an area to skimp on. First, read up on all health code requirements and be sure you have the space to accommodate the necessary sanitation equipment. Then consider the volume of dishes that will need to be washed at once and plan that space accordingly. Many kitchens set up the dirty dish area close to the kitchen door so servers can quickly drop them off. 

Of course, there are many more considerations for the flow of your kitchen, but thinking through these basic issues and needs will help you avoid any major mistakes.

Ask the experts

As a restauranteur, you are an expert at many things. Perhaps you've spent years as a pastry chef or cooking ramen to perfection. However, it's important to consult those who have different expertise. For example, no one knows better how to (and how not to) set up a dishwashing station, then a guy or girl who has held that job for many years. Ask them what works and what doesn't. What frustrates them and makes their job harder? What brings efficiency and safety to that job? Similarly, your servers are experts on the most efficient ways to serve food from the kitchen and bring back the dirty dishes. An experienced server who has worked in multiple kitchens is an invaluable resource. Finally, if you are hiring a chef in addition to yourself, they will likely have strong preferences on kitchen design and equipment (what chef doesn't?!) While you may not be able to cater to every preference, some simple tweaks may go a long way toward creating a space that he or she will thrive in.

 

Setting up a commercial kitchen is a dream come true for many people. However, those dreams can quickly turn into nightmares if the design is hasty and poorly thought out. We hope that these tips will help you design a productive, efficient kitchen that will bring you success for many years to come.

Did you know that we repair commercial refrigerators and freezers? Let us know how we can help! Call 352-609-2682 or click here for more information.

 



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