The kitchen is the heart and soul of a restaurant. The food that comes from the kitchen is the main factor whether customers will go back to your restaurant or not. However, the work that comes with making the food also takes a lot of preparation. And it all begins with a restaurant kitchen layout design that will make your back of house operate efficiently.
Where To Begin with your Restaurant Kitchen Layout
Designing a restaurant kitchen is not a one-size-fits-all process. What works for a McDonald’s won’t work as well for a Starbucks. We’ve listed down a couple of things to look at before you start building your best restaurant kitchen layout.
The restaurant menu should be the basis of any good kitchen design. How many percent of your menu do you need to cook fresh? Will you need lots of storage for your raw materials? How much preparation do you need to complete the plate? These are some of the questions that you should ask yourself when starting your restaurant kitchen layout.
Listing down all the equipment is key to building a good restaurant kitchen layout. You have to know the dimensions of the equipment to know where to fit them in your design. In addition, you’ll have to separate huge equipment like blast chillers, undercounter chillers, combi ovens, and braising pans. These cover a huge chunk of the floor area and need to be planned out well. On the other hand, small equipment can be placed on a stainless steel countertop table.
Lastly, the restaurant kitchen layout will all depend on the allotted space you own or lease from. These are the factors that you have to consider regarding space.
First, you need to know how big is the total floor area. Having this information will come in handy when you start to design your restaurant.
Secondly, you need to decide how big your front of house and back of house will be. Some restaurants maximize the FOH and minimize the BOH. As a result, the restaurant can offer more seats to customers and maximize profit. However, this can be problematic because the kitchen can reach max out in capacity while only serving a few tables. It is important to balance and proportion both your FOH and BOH to get maximum results.
Lastly, how many floors will the restaurant be? Getting two floors for your restaurant solves the problem we mentioned above. The whole second floor can be an area for customers.
Top Restaurant Kitchen Designs for your Restaurant
Now that you’re fully aware on how to begin with your restaurant kitchen layout, let’s take a look at some of the best options for your restaurant.
Open Kitchen Restaurant Kitchen Design
The open concept layout is fairly new to the restaurant industry. The concept of the layout is to have direct interaction between the customers and the chef. Imagine a concert but instead of music, the main attraction is how your food is cooked.
An open concept design needs highly trained employees to operate properly. The mental focus needs to be in tip-top shape to cook in front of customers. In addition, the room for error is a lot less due to the open kitchen setting. However, the benefits of an open kitchen restaurant design is enormous in terms of customer satisfaction. If your staff can handle these types of pressure, then this type of layout might be best for your restaurant.
Assembly Line Restaurant Kitchen Design
QSRs with a short menu commonly use this type of kitchen layout. An assembly line layout is used to produce food in high volumes. For example, a burger joint like In-&-Out or McDonalds uses an assembly line for their kitchen layout.
The process for an assembly line is simple. First, it starts with food preparation. Next, it moves to the cooking of food. Lastly, it goes to proper packaging and dispatching of the food. In terms of manpower, there’s usually a team designated to each of these stations.
Zone Restaurant Kitchen Design
The zone layout builds different types of zones in the kitchen separated by their respective functions. For example, the restaurant will have separate stations for cleaning, food prep, storage, and cooking. To break it down further, the cooking section can also be divided into vegetables, frying, baking, and grilling.
The zone restaurant design is best for caterers, hotels, and buffet restaurants. These types of restaurants usually employ a huge number of staff. As a result, the employees can easily focus on their respective stations.
A disclaimer to small restaurants. Avoid using the zone layout since there won’t be enough space for each station.
Island Restaurant Kitchen Design
The island design brings all the food to the center of the kitchen. The oven, fryers, grillers, and other cooking equipment are all together in one spot – in the middle. On the other hand, the cleaning and food preparation are all situated on the outside of the island.
This type of restaurant kitchen layout promotes communication amongst the team. The design allows for supervision in all areas of cooking to be easy and straightforward.
If you have a square shaped kitchen with enough space, this might be the best design to use in your restaurant.
Corridor Restaurant Kitchen Design
Restaurants with small kitchens often use this type of design. The corridor layout is very straightforward as it has all its equipment and functions on one side of the wall. Only one to two employees are deployed during operations due to the limited space of this design.
Important Sections in a Restaurant Kitchen Design
Sections are important to know when designing your kitchen. Knowing the ins and outs of each section will help you design your restaurant easier. Let’s go through the sections you need to know with your restaurant kitchen layout.
Every kitchen design needs an area for their inventory. Categorize your items and separate them accordingly into: food and non-food. Separate areas for storage need to be in place for dry, chilled, frozen food, and non-food.
Decisions will have to be made to know how much chilled or frozen storage would be needed. Take a look at your raw materials and calculate which items go into the chiller and the freezer. After this, you can purchase the needed equipment with the right amount of capacity that’s proportional to your ingredients.
The oft forgotten section in designs is the cleaning area. Allot some space for your dishwashers, sinks, and mop sinks. Restaurants use commercial dishwashers to clean faster. Sinks are for cleaning utensils while mop sinks are used for items that have touched the floor. Mops, mop wringers, scrubs are examples of this.
Before you cook your food, you need to prepare ingredients. This deserves its own area as it can be quite messy if it’ll be included in the cooking area. In between your inventory and your cooking area is where the prep area is usually located. Doing this will create a flow where you get food from the storage, prep, and then pass it on for cooking.
This is the bread and butter of your kitchen. The oven, grill, braising pans and other cooking equipment are located in the cooking area. Meals are usually completed in this area and are plated for serving.
Lastly, you need an area to dispatch the food cooked. The servers will use this area to wait for the food to be made and serve it to the corresponding customer. Ideally, the dispatch area needs to be near the exit of the kitchen. This is to ensure that the meal that was cooked is near the customer to be served.
Study all the points above in order to have your ideal restaurant kitchen layout. There are many types of restaurants and each has different kitchen designs. Do the proper research to figure out which kitchen layout works for your restaurant and which one does not.