Find the ideal layout required for peak efficiency of food production. 

Imagine standing at the threshold of your dream—a commercial kitchen bustling with activity, the aroma of delectable dishes wafting through the air, and a team working seamlessly together to craft culinary masterpieces. Before embarking on this exciting culinary adventure, the groundwork must be laid, starting with the comprehensive planning of your kitchen’s layout. Numerous important factors, such as regulatory compliance and efficient workflow, must be considered to guarantee the safe and effective operation of your establishment.

Whether you’re a seasoned restauranteur or just starting to make your culinary mark, your kitchen’s layout will be crucial in how efficiently your kitchen operates.

Start with the Space

Within your commercial kitchen, take note of the existing structural connections. The placement of plugs, drains, and ductwork will certainly dictate certain aspects of your layout. Connect with your contractor to discuss potential alterations to these elements, ensuring that the space suits both current and future needs. Your head chef, a connoisseur of both cuisine and kitchen flow, will be an invaluable asset in this discussion. Together, build a blueprint or floor plan infused with collective insight and expertise, crafting the preliminary plan for your culinary canvas.

Pay Attention to Health Codes and Safety Regulations

All commercial kitchens have to follow various regulations and health codes depending on the jurisdiction of their location. It’s in your best interest to start early regarding these considerations, as they may extend your timeline for opening. Here are some key details to keep on top of:

  • Research health codes and food safety standards at federal, state, and local levels.
  • Measure doorways and walkway widths to ensure easy navigation.
  • Note the placement of fire alarms and exit signs for safety.
  • Schedule appointments with relevant inspectors before construction begins.
  • Secure the appropriate certificates and licenses for your establishment.

Plan for the Key Elements

Every commercial kitchen should be built with dedicated areas in mind. These spaces help to maintain organization even at the busiest of times. When planning your layout, account for these areas:

  • Delivery drop off
  • Storage
  • Food Prep
  • Cooking
  • Service
  • Dish return
  • Cleaning
  • Washing

It can be helpful to place specific spaces close to one another that group similar tasks, such as having storage close to your delivery drop-off area and dish return near your cleaning and washing areas. Being thoughtful about these spaces before they are put in place can help optimize kitchen efficiency.

Include the Essential Equipment

In order to cook delicious meals, you’ll need something to cook with! Your restaurant equipment should include certain appliances specific to your cuisine or menu. It would be difficult to run a pizza place without a pizza oven, after all. But generally, you should consider the following types of equipment on your list. Keep in mind there can be a lot of variation in size, so ensuring you have enough space for the product output of your restaurant will be vital. 

  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers
  • Ovens
  • Ranges
  • Dishwasher
  • Sinks
  • Walk-in Coolers
  • Stainless Prep Tables

Understand the Details

Once you’ve sorted out the key areas and equipment you’ll need for your restaurant, there are still a few more aspects to consider before choosing your commercial kitchen layout.

  • Space efficiency: Optimize kitchen space for cost savings and safety by strategically placing equipment and ensuring proper spacing. Take detailed measurements and blueprints to bring with you when equipment shopping.
  • Flow: Design a workflow that minimizes cross-traffic and enhances productivity through logical workstation placement.
  • Flexibility: Plan for adaptability to accommodate changing needs without significant renovations.
  • Sanitation: Prioritize food safety with easy-to-clean surfaces, appropriate sink placement, and pest control measures.
  • Technology: Boost efficiency and communication with modern equipment, inventory management, and kitchen display systems for improved performance.

The Art of Simplicity

It’s easy to feel swamped when planning your restaurant or commercial kitchen. But remember, simplicity is the heart of a well-functioning kitchen. Balance your preferences, health regulations, and input from your head chef to create a streamlined and efficient kitchen.

Select the Right Layout

All angles matter when choosing a layout, especially the expansion of offerings and increased volume. As a result, this aspect of planning is usually dictated by a few different factors, starting with your menu. Your layout will fall into one of six categories:

  1. Assembly line: Each part of the cooking process has its own station and can easily be moved on to the next.
  2. Island layout: All cooking equipment is located in the centre of the kitchen, whereas other stations are along the perimeter.
  3. Galley layout: The opposite of an island layout, cooking appliances are along the walls, and an open space is in the centre.
  4. Zoning layout: This involves divvying up the space based on dedicated tasks, offering a high level of organization.
  5. Ergonomic layout: With consideration to cooking staff, this layout means they move as little as possible to complete their tasks.
  6. Open kitchen: Customers can see all the action, as the kitchen is not closed off to the dining area but an extended part of it. This layout may require more thought to be put into the aesthetics of your kitchen, in order to maintain restaurant ambiance. 

Putting it All Together

The layout of your commercial kitchen requires just as much attention and planning as all other aspects of your establishment. With a high-level overview of the most important factors, you can work to complete this space with minimal revisions, setting you up for success. Along the way, collaborate with industry professionals, culinary experts, and your internal team. Their valuable insights and expertise can ensure you stick to your construction schedule and floor plan, meaning you’ll be preparing for your grand opening in no time!

Eva Lorena is a dedicated professional excelling as the Lead Customer Service and Commercial Kitchen Consultant at Zanduco, a prominent e-commerce platform in the food equipment and services sector. Boasting extensive experience in both customer relations and commercial kitchen operations, Eva’s expertise is a driving force behind Zanduco’s reputation as a leading player in the industry. She takes pride in her ability to guide clients across the US and Canada through the vast array of offerings from over 100 trusted brands, ensuring their individual needs are met with precision.

Expert Takes, Feature, Food Safety, Kitchen Equipment, Restaurant Design