To be successful in the food industry, the right combination of space, equipment, and skill needs to be realized.
Food preparation of all types must be safe, clean, consistent, and efficient, but add the elements of service and customer experience to an already tough arrangement, and therein lies the unique challenges of the restaurant and hospitality industry.
A restaurant floor plan and a commercial kitchen layout can make or break the success of even the most talented chefs and savvy restauranteurs.
Whether part of a luxury hotel experience, massive catering hall, roadside diner, or corner cafe, all food preparation and dining spaces need to enable professionals to do their individual jobs and also collaborate as a team.
This requires distinct stations that are just as interconnected as all the ingredients that form an entrée.
What’s In A Commercial Kitchen Layout?
A restaurant kitchen layout is typically much larger than a standard domestic kitchen, although compact versions of a full-size restaurant design can be realized. Commercial kitchens will always favor function over form in almost every aspect. Conventional appliances and utilities like stoves, ovens, sinks, are often scaled up.
Preparation surfaces are made from heavy-duty, and easy-to-clean materials like stainless steel and butcher-block. Cooking tools are stored in an easy-to-access fashion, such as on shelving or hooks instead of tucked into cabinets.
Food storage is seldom integrated into the food prep space, meaning that commercial kitchens will feature walk-in fridges, chest freezers, and pantries the size of small rooms instead of built-in versions.
While commercial kitchens can look like one overwhelming space, they are really a collaboration of multiple stations. Examples include the sauté station, where chefs cook various dishes and ingredients on multiple-burner ranges.
This station is sometimes bordered by cutting surfaces and spaces to lay out seasonings and ingredients. The grill station is similar, but instead of accommodating pots and pans, it provides a heated surface on which food is placed directly.
Frying stations, which consist of deep-fat fryers, baskets, and tools for breading, battering, and handling are also common fixtures.
Naturally, some commercial kitchens will have addition stations or exclude some of these essentials based on the type of restaurant or venue, but the vast majority will have a dedicated space for placing completed orders, which are then kept cool or hot until all dishes for the party are ready to be served.
This is where the front and back-of-house teams come together to make food service possible. And finally, there is the dish return and cleaning station that takes care of used prep and serve essentials so they can re-enter the process.
What Matters In Restaurant Design?
When building a restaurant blueprint, the kitchen and restaurant layout must be balanced for the needs of the staff as well as the experience of the customers.
Of the total restaurant floor plan, about 40 percent should be dedicated to food preparation, with additional spaces for workers to take breaks, keep personal items, and conduct various aspects of jobs not immediately related to food prep or cleaning.
Accounting for these worker needs has become increasingly important in an industry where worker retention has gotten tougher than ever.
Although many restauranteurs enter with grand visions of a restaurant interior design that wows customers, a realistic approach is a requirement.
A restaurant floor plan will leave an impression on diners, but it will also determine what equipment and capabilities can be incorporated into a kitchen, which in turn defines the menu, preparation style, and many other factors.
The restaurant kitchen layout and dining arrangement will define the experience of not only preparing and serving meals, but also maintaining cleanliness, food and occupational safety, and many other aspects of running a successful business.
Properly balancing space and budget limitations, kitchen capabilities, and the overall vision is essential.