5 steps for designing a commercial kitchen

When planning to design and install a new commercial kitchen setup, there is the growing issue of tackling space restrictions. The limitations of available space will affect how you plan to create a working and efficient catering space. Both chefs and kitchen staff will appreciate a commercial kitchen designed to consider ergonomics and so it is essential to factor in not only space for all equipment but also space for the team to move without being over cumbered. Here are five steps to take into consideration when designing a commercial kitchen.

1. Steps you should consider when planning your kitchen

Before you even think about design, make a complete list of all the equipment you will need. Note: the menu will dictate the catering equipment required. As storage is one of the most critical factors for a commercial kitchen, you will need to determine what type of storage you need for your product, cold or ambient as well as if you have the space for walk-in refrigeration or freestanding cold storage equipment.

Ensure you take exact measurements of the kitchen area meaning discrepancies won’t be made when installing equipment. Make a note of all existing windows, doorways, electrical outlets, plumbing lines and floor drains. This will allow you to determine where specific pieces of kit will have to go and will enable you to identify your available working space and establish an efficient workflow. Regarding electrical output, lack of power and power outlets is another common problem in smaller establishments, one of the first steps you take should be a full equipment spec check to work out the kW loadings and running amps of all the proposed equipment. If the requirement is above what’s available, upgrades to the electrics will have to be made, or the new plan will have to be adjusted.

2. What equipment should you be buying to fit a small catering space

When looking for the right catering equipment, businesses should be looking at usable capacity and overall dimensions. The equipment you require will depend on what product you need to cook for meals; in addition, there are set “stations in which different tasks will take place. There are five main areas in order of food service

  1. StorageFridges, Freezers, “under- counter or standing.”
  2. Food Prep Prep stations, stainless steel prep tables, large-scale food prep mixers, blenders, food processors.
  3. Cooking commercial ovens, grills, fryers, microwaves, induction and gas hobs.
  4. Plating and serviceStainless Steel furniture, Stainless Steel shelving, Gantries
  5. Washing up/dishes returndishwashers/pass-throughs, cutlery polishers.

3. Tech advances combating lack of space

To meet the demand of growing space restrictions, technological advances have been made in commercial catering equipment. The miniaturisation of equipment through tech advancements means that less space is used up by the equipment, slimline options of equipment has become popular in recent years offering an ergonomic solution to space restriction. Other potential options for small kitchen spaces are the use of multi-purpose catering equipment. Combing multiple pieces of equipment into one provides the advantage of not only extra space but also means there is less equipment that has to be maintained.

  • Implementing Combination ovens and multi cooking appliances, (like Rational Combi Ovens) can be used to produce a wide range of menu dishes, however sufficient training is required otherwise you risk investing in a new piece of equipment and not getting the full potential.
  • Implementing the use of a prep counter (also known as a saladette unit) provides a chilled fridge for prep products as well as space for preparation and gastronorm storage of fresh product, e.g. sliced tomatoes, lettuce, sliced onions, to be used in meals during service.
  • Implementing stainless steel furniture can be awkward with a confined space and non-standard layouts. As specialists in the catering and hospitality industry we have experience fabricating stainless steel kitchen furniture, check out our page on bespoke stainless-steel fabrication.

4. Creating an efficient kitchen workflow

It is vital to establish a good kitchen workflow, providing enough space for members of staff to move freely, efficiency is increased, and fatigue and workplace injuries are reduced. Mapping out your kitchen showing routes that are likely to be taken by the chefs, kitchen staff and serving staff returning meals and empty plates is vital for creating an efficient workflow. Ensuring service staff and kitchen staff traffic don’t clash is another critical point.

5. Blueprint Plan

Blueprints are essential for providing the owner, contractor/s and suppliers the information needed to build the project. Before purchasing equipment or commencing all building, the detailed CAD drawings must be reviewed and officially approved by both the health department and fire inspector. They must include electrical wiring schematics, fire suppression equipment, emergency routes, plumbing and electrical installation plans as well as a complete list of all building materials. We offer full CAD design and project management service suited to all types of commercial kitchen refurbishment or new build project. Our technical layouts provide an excellent point of reference to ensure that our work perfectly matches your vision. Check out our page for more details and contact details.