Commercial kitchen Design standards
Components of a Commercial Kitchen
Most people hear "commercial kitchen" and think of ranges, grills, fryers, and maybe a frantic, angry chef yelling out orders. That may be the case, but the true commercial kitchen is much more than just the equipment or personnel found in it. A successful kitchen includes specific components organized in a particular pattern to optimize performance and efficiency. Those components are:
- Food Preparation
- Meal Cooking
The cleaning and washing section of a commercial kitchen includes sinks, warewashing machines, and drying racks. This section is first on the list because without dirty dishes there are no clean dishes to serve your food on. Three-compartment sinks are necessary for washing utensils, while warewashing machines can quickly clean plates and other serving vessels to keep the kitchen running at full speed. This section of the kitchen should be located near the kitchen entrance so servers can quickly drop off dirty dishes, and near the storage area so chefs can quickly find clean dishes.
The storage area can be split into non-food storage, cold storage, and dry storage. The non-food storage area can be split further into a section for disposable products, a section for cleaning supplies, and a section for the clean dishes from your cleaning/washing area. Remember, in order to avoid contamination, cleaning and sanitation chemicals cannot be stored above food, food equipment, utensils, dishes, or disposables like cups and plastic cutlery. Cold storage is where you keep anything that needs to be refrigerated or frozen, while dry storage includes all nonperishables and other consumables. This area might also contain a receiving area for inventory shipments, shortening the distance new stock has to travel through your restaurant.
The food preparation area has sinks for washing produce, cutting areas, and mixing areas. Typically, the food preparation area is split into a section for processing raw foods (breaking down cuts of beef, for example) and a section for sorting foods into batches (chopping vegetables, mixing salad dressings, etc.). Placing this section near your storage area allows cooks to efficiently grab fresh dishes, prepare plates, and move them on to the cooking area quickly.
The meal cooking area makes the rest of the kitchen tick. This is where main dishes are finished, so here you will have ranges, ovens, exhaust hoods, fryers, griddles, and other cooking equipment. Like the food preparation area, the meal cooking area can be broken down into smaller sections like a baking station, grilling station, and frying station. Because meals are finished here, the meal cooking area should be near the front of the kitchen next to the service area.
The service area is the final section of a commercial kitchen. If you have a serving staff, this is where they will pick up finished dishes to take to customers. If you have a self-serve or buffet-style restaurant, this is where foods will be displayed in warmers for customers to assemble their plates. This area needs to be located at the very front of the kitchen, just after the meal cooking area, to shorten the time and distance between completed meals and customers.
Commercial Kitchen Design Layouts
There is no perfect formula for commercial kitchen layout. Every foodservice establishment is unique and will operate differently than others, so you have to decide what will help you best meet your kitchen goals. That said, there are several basic commercial kitchen design layouts to consider that succeed in blending solid kitchen design principles and kitchen components effectively.
The island-style layout places the ovens, ranges, fryers, grills, and other principle cooking equipment together in one module at the center of the kitchen, while other sections of the kitchen are placed on the perimeter walls in the proper order to preserve a circular flow (any section can be the “island” depending on what best suits your needs). This layout is very open and promotes communication and supervision, while leaving plenty of open floor space for easy cleaning. This layout works best in a large kitchen that is square in shape, but can certainly be modified to fit other shapes and sizes.
The zone-style layout has the kitchen set up in blocks with the major equipment located along the walls. Again, the sections follow the proper order for increased flow, giving you a dishwashing block, a storage block, a food prep block, etc. Communication and supervision are not difficult in this layout because the center of the space is completely open.