Restaurant owners, food entrepreneurs, and chefs alike will all understand the importance of designing an efficient and functional commercial kitchen layout. This is essential for the success of your restaurant business. A commercial kitchen, also known as an industrial kitchen, requires careful planning to ensure smooth operations and maximum productivity. But how do you know what type of commercial kitchen layout is best for your business?
In this blog, Chef Collective explores the key elements and considerations that will help you create the perfect commercial kitchen design for your establishment, keeping your operations efficient, your food safe and delicious, and all your customers happy.
The basics of designing a commercial kitchen layout for your restaurant
Designing a commercial kitchen layout for your restaurant is a critical process requiring careful consideration of various factors. You need to think about how effective it is from multiple perspectives – such as how it enhances the productivity of your staff, enables ease of pick-up for delivery or service, and its role in providing a seamless dining experience to your customers.
When you start designing your kitchen, you must think about the fundamentals of your restaurant. This includes understanding your menu and cuisine, as different recipes require specific cooking stations and equipment. Before you get started, you must ensure your space can accommodate the equipment you need to undergo all your cooking processes efficiently, from storage to food preparation, cooking, and plating. Making sure you have a safe, sanitary space is also crucial for your kitchen design, as well as easy accessibility. Then, you can start considering the other features you need to adapt for your ideal kitchen.
Key features of a great restaurant kitchen layout
A well-thought-out commercial kitchen design comprises various essential components which contribute towards your restaurant’s success. Some of these key features include:
Having adequate storage is vital for keeping ingredients, equipment, and other essentials organised. Consider different types of storage solutions in various sizes like cabinets, shelves, freezers, pantries, and walk-in refrigerators to accommodate all your different items.
Food preparation area
Your staff will spend a significant amount of time doing food preparation, which is why having a well-equipped area with enough space to move around and perform various tasks is crucial for your industrial kitchen layout. Ensure the area has the right tools and equipment needed for cutting, chopping, and assembling all the dishes on your menu.
The cooking stations are where the magic happens, where your staff create the meals you want your restaurant to be known and loved for. These stations should be strategically placed within the kitchen and fitted out with stoves, ovens, fryers, grills, and any other necessary appliances. You can also consider implementing a kitchen display system so order tickets are sent directly through the restaurant’s POS system, increasing efficiency.
Once the dishes are cooked, they need to be plated and garnished at the service area before being sent out to hungry customers. As such, they should be equipped with necessary garnishes, sauces, and other final touches to enhance the presentation of the dishes, as well as heat lamps and warmers to keep the prepared plates hot and fresh until they are served.
Allocate an area specifically for food pick-ups and delivery items, so delivery drivers can easily collect their orders without hassle. You should ensure this area is well-organised with clear signage and order information displayed to help drivers identify and collect the correct packages. This area can either be inside the kitchen, somewhere away from all the cooking, cleaning, and service stations to avoid messy encounters with the staff, preferably nearby the entrance so drivers can swiftly come and go.
Dish return space
When customers are done with their meals, there needs to be a designated place for collecting and cleaning dirty dishes. This space should be positioned in a way that doesn’t interfere with food preparation or service, so as not to get mixed up with clean dishware or food that has yet to be sent out.
There are many elements of a commercial kitchen that need to be kept clean before, during, and after service hours, from dirty dishes to cooking equipment. Maintain your kitchen’s cleanliness by implementing proper 3-compartment sinks, commercial dishwashers, drying racks, and cleaning materials such as sponges, brushes, disinfectants, and detergents.
Common commercial kitchen layout examples
There are a few common design layouts of commercial kitchens that easily enable all of the above to take place and interact seamlessly. Some of these examples include:
- Assembly Line Layout: Ideal for high-volume establishments that need quick output, this layout arranges equipment and stations in one straight line, enabling a continuous, linear flow of food preparation.
- Zone Layout: In this layout, the kitchen is divided into zones based on specific tasks such as food prep, cooking, and cleaning. It may even have separate stations within each task, for example different areas for specific menu items or dishes. This layout promotes efficiency and reduces cross-traffic.
- Island Kitchen Layout: Suitable for larger kitchens with more space to freely move around, this layout places cooking facilities at the centre with food preparation and storage areas surrounding it, allowing multiple chefs to work together.
Tips to consider for your own industrial kitchen floor plan
Now that you are aware of some of the key features and layouts of commercial and industrial kitchens, here are some final considerations for your restaurant or food business to ensure optimal efficiency, safety, and orderliness within the working environment.
Utilise every inch of space in your kitchen wisely to avoid clutter and wasted areas. Optimise the layout by strategically placing equipment and workstations to make the most of available space. Consider compact and multifunctional equipment to save space while still meeting your operational needs.
Another key factor to consider is the room for expansion within the space, as you never know how your restaurant might develop in the future. As such, design your kitchen with future expansion or changes in mind. Flexibility in the layout also allows for easier reorganisation in general. You can consider movable equipment or modular components so you can rearrange or replace facilities without undergoing major renovations.
A well-organised kitchen can significantly improve efficiency, cutting down time and effort searching for products or tools. You should designate everything to their proper workstation and place, and ensure your staff are aware of where everything is located. Clear labeling or colour coding can also be useful to help your staff quickly identify items and ingredients.
Establish a logical and smooth workflow in your kitchen to minimise unnecessary movements for the staff. This can be achieved by positioning workstations in a sequential order that follows the natural progression of food preparation and cooking, such as placing the cooking station near to the serving area and delivery area. This also closely relates to the type of commercial kitchen layout you need for your specific restaurant’s menu.
Cleanliness and safety
The sanitation of your restaurant and its kitchen should be of your utmost priority, not just to meet your local food safety regulations, but also to ensure a non-hazardous, safe environment for your staff and your guests. Follow all the necessary standards outlined by your local health department, which may include promoting proper waste management, having an adequate number of handwashing stations, and ensuring safety features such as smoke detectors and floor drains are functioning properly.
Create your dream commercial and industrial kitchen with Chef Collective
If you’re ready to open up a commercial kitchen for your restaurant in Australia, Chef Collective is here to help you start your exciting new venture. Our commercial and industrial kitchens are made to order, outfitted with all the necessities you need for your business to run smoothly, whilst giving you the opportunity to design a layout that best benefits your specific business. Start the conversation with us today, and we’ll help you curate the commercial kitchen of your dreams.