If your plan is to open a highly regarded, successful restaurant then one thing that you will absolutely have to get right is the kitchen. It will need to be completely functional, allowing for your chefs and kitchen staff to do their jobs well, producing exceptional food. Without this, your customers will be few and far between, as will your good review. Here are some tips on how to design a functional kitchen that will boost your restaurant’s reputation and keep your important staff happy.
Even if you intend to buy in all of your produce fresh every single day, you will still need somewhere to store it when you’re not using it, or after the chefs have done their meal prep and before the patrons start to order. Having someone to keep food cool is even more important if your deliveries come every few days; you need to be able to store chilled food safely.
Look into how many fridges you are going to need, and what size. In smaller kitchen, or kitchen that don’t need to store food for a long time, a standard kitchen fridge could be just right – it won’t be too big and take up a lot of space, and it will be frequently emptied and can quickly be cleaned as you go.
For larger kitchen or places where lots of food needs to be stored, you will need to think about purchasing something more industrial. A big chilled that can store as much as you need it to might be expensive and it might take up space, but letting good food spoil will also soon add up, plus it’s not a good look when the health inspectors come calling.
You might even choose to have a chiller room installed, negating the need for stand alone fridges at all. Of course, if you do this you will need to have a system in place that means the food within is rotated regularly, and that meat is always kept separate from everything else. One way to ensure that this happens is to invest in a vacuum packer which will keep the meat from contaminating anything else, and will keep it fresher for longer too.
Not all food needs to be refrigerated, and therefore you will also need space for dry storage. Look at all the food you are ordering and work out which will last longest. This is what you can order most of. You will also need to consider:
- How much space there is
- How often deliveries come
- How to keep track of use by dates
Again, a vacuum packing machine can extend the life of some items, and it will give you more space for storage too – you can dispose of the bulky packaging that some items will be delivered in, and even make the most of the ‘free from’ markets that are springing up in many towns and cities. These markets allow people to bring their own containers and by what they need, rather than offering any packaging that will only end up in landfill.
Once the storage areas of your kitchen have been organised, you will need to ensure the food prep or food preparation areas are just as function. This is a crucial part of any commercial kitchen, as it saves time during the busy lunch and/or dinner services, and food can simply be cooked to order.
So, where are you going to place your food prep area? Should it, for example, be close to the cold and dry storage areas for ease of use, or should it be further away for health and safety reasons? This will depend on the food being prepared, and the size of your kitchen in some cases. Do you need to have quick access to appliances and ingredients? What other needs does someone who is dealing in food prep need to think about? Ask your team what would work best for them.
Storage, food prep, and of course the actual cooking and service of the food is all important, but so is cleaning up afterwards. Dirty dishes can’t be left strewn across the commercial kitchen that is still being used to create dishes for other diners; these pieces of crockery and cutlery will need to be collected and cleaned. To make things easier for you, a commercial grade dishwasher would speed up clean up, allowing your staff more time to do other important jobs and streamline the kitchen.
There should be a good system in place for a quick clear up so that, whether you have a dishwasher or not, you can ensure that your kitchen is kept clean, hygienic, and uncluttered.