Building a Smart Restaurant: The Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of a restaurant. Its design, construction and efficiency affect the entire operation of the restaurant and can drive or hinder success. Disorganized spaces lead to spills, wasted steps and loss of income. But a thoughtfully conceived and executed space can work like a well-oiled machine.

Whether you are opening a new restaurant or have been in the industry for years, the process is still the same. There are many considerations to make when designing a kitchen layout. In our latest edition of “Building a Smart Restaurant,” we’re going to look at how you can design your kitchen to ensure your restaurant is efficient and, of course, successful.

Buy the Right Equipment

The restaurant kitchen is a workhorse, and as such it needs to be equipped to be able to deliver quality products every day. When you’re shopping for equipment, make sure you include, at the very least:

  • Food prep tables
  • Electrical equipment, such as stoves and fryers
  • Refrigerators and freezers
  • Dishwashing equipment
  • Storage cabinets and drawers
You’ll need each of these areas to keep everything flowing smoothly. Depending on the menu you have selected for your restaurant, you may need additional areas that are specialized to meet your needs. The menu should dictate much of what need to be in your kitchen.
It’s important to ensure that any equipment you do order is designed for a commercial kitchen, is the appropriate size and meets all health and safety standards.
An ergonomic kitchen design aims to increase the cooking times by placing equipment in places where they will work at optimal levels and reduce the number of steps the staff needs to take.

Set Your Kitchen Up for Success

There are four basic restaurant kitchen configurations: Assembly line, island, zone and ergonomic. The menu and work style of each restaurant operator will drive the layout of the kitchen space. For instance, restaurants with limited menu items, such as fast food or pizzerias, can use an assembly line setup to maximize their output.

An ergonomic kitchen design aims to decrease preparation times by placing equipment in places where staff will work at optimal levels and reduce the number of steps they need to take. For instance, placing a cold refrigerator next to a hot fryer will reduce the energy efficiency of the refrigerator, but it means being able to quickly pull out fries and toss them into the deep fryer.

Creating zones can significantly increase the efficiency of a kitchen. This configuration tackles the kitchen design by defining specific areas for single purposes. This means breaking the kitchen up by task, with one zone dedicated to prep work, another for cooking, one for desserts and one for plating. A zone configuration creates less movement because each member of the staff is placed in the area of the kitchen they need to be in.

The island style configures tables similarly to the zone style with one exception: the central tables are arranged in the center of the room, allowing prep work to be done in the center of the room and cooking along the outer walls. This arrangement also works in the reverse, with cooking in the center and prep work and plating done along the outer walls.

Keep it Organized

We know your chef loves kitchen gadgets, but the quickest way to a disorganized kitchen is to stock up on all the latest and greatest products. Chances are you don’t really need 20 different knives or that garlic press that ends up wasting half the clove. Make sure that everything in your kitchen is an absolute necessity that has earned its place.

Paring down your supplies and accessories is a great way to keep your kitchen moving efficiently. Take your organization to the next level by keeping items that have similar functions together and encouraging the staff to always put items back where they found them. That means you need to invest in smart storage for your things. If you’re running low on space, think vertically — you’ll find there’s plenty of unused space in your kitchen once you change your perspective.

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Work with econstruct, Inc.

Building smart kitchens requires industry knowledge and experience. Getting the right design, even for a small kitchen, can have a significant impact on sales revenue. The team at econstruct, led by Frank Neimroozi, can get your restaurant kitchen off to the right start. By designing kitchens alongside owners and chefs, econstruct creates spaces that are functional and efficient. Give us a call today to start planning your restaurant construction.