March 17, 2020

Imagine yourself in any upscale restaurant you’ve ever been to. Patrons sip wine while listening to uplifting music, enjoying quiet conversation while relaxing the night away.

If only you could see inside the kitchen — and if you’re a veteran restauranteur, you have. Orders come in hot and the food goes out fast. Chefs prep and cook, others wash dishes, and servers scramble for hot plates. The hustle and bustle are amplified in poorly planned kitchens. What if there isn’t enough grill space, or what if ovens aren’t large enough for keeping up with orders? A poorly designed kitchen can make an already-tough job feel next to impossible.

That’s why it’s so imperative to consider your commercial kitchen layout carefully. Here, we will review several important factors to consider when planning your layout.

Key Components of a Commercial Kitchen

Every commercial kitchen layout must have stations for cooking, washing, storage, food preparation, and service. To create an optimized kitchen layout, you need to have an understanding of the role each of these stations play in overall kitchen operations.

Below each is reviewed in more detail.

Cooking station

The cooking station is where the magic happens. Most commercial cooking stations are equipped with combination ovens, fryers, and several smaller appliances.

Washing station

Washing stations for food, dishes, and cooking utensils ensure the health and safety of your customers. These stations require sinks, dishwashers and drying racks.

Storage

Your kitchen will need separate storage units for items such as perishable meats and produce, cooking tools, dinnerware, and linens. Most storage areas have a refrigerator, cabinets, and shelving.

Food preparation

This is where foods are prepared before they’re moved to the cooking station. These stations need counter space, containers, and plenty of knives and utensils. Most layouts place preparation stations near refrigerators so perishable ingredients can be easily stored.

Service area

The service area is where foods are plated before being taken to customers. Service areas should have heat lamps and be as close to the dining room as possible.

Researching Your Kitchen Needs

Choosing the best layout for your kitchen requires gathering information in order to rule out certain options.

Start by getting your chef involved in the process. Your chef can help you craft an optimal menu and equipment list that won’t exceed the space of your kitchen. Fleshing out your menu can help you consider factors such as needing extra cooking stations or food prep areas.

Also, don’t forget to research local health codes before planning your commercial kitchen layout. Some health codes could call for minimum distances between food prep stations and other parts of your kitchen. The arrangement of storage areas, the placement of grease traps, and more could also be affected.

5 Basic Commercial Kitchen Layouts

Most commercial kitchens follow one of these five layouts. Each has unique advantages for different kinds of staffs and foodservice establishments.

Assembly Line Layout

Popular with sandwich shops, burrito shops, and quick-service restaurants, the assembly line layout is based upon a centralized workspace that starts with food prep and ends with a finished entree. This configuration is best when multiple cooks are performing specific tasks to quickly churn out items from smaller menus.

Island layout

Kitchens that lean heavily on executive chefs may prefer the island layout. This configuration features a centralized cooking for prep station surrounded by other stations on the outer edges of the room. Island layouts allow for outstanding communication, but in smaller spaces the islands can become obstacles to kitchen staff.

Zone-style layout

Food service establishments with extensive menus and large staffs often choose the zone configuration. This design divides the kitchen into areas for preparing different types of entrees. For example, there may be sections for seafood or salads.

Galley layout

In galley configurations, equipment and stations are either around the edges of the kitchen or lined up against opposing walls. Almost all food trucks use gallery opposing-wall layouts. This configuration also works well in large spaces with smaller staffs, giving cooks enough room to work with several stations at once.

Open kitchen layout

Open kitchen layouts are trending in smaller restaurants with open-space designs. Rather than separate the kitchen from the dining room, these layouts place small kitchens in the dining area, allowing customers to see how their foods are being prepared. These kitchens are great for getting the most from smaller spaces while also providing entertainment for patrons. They’re not as ideal for restaurants with complicated menus.

Final Thoughts

An efficiently planned commercial kitchen is the engine that makes your restaurant go. Without one, chefs can’t work optimally, and food will come out slower than it should. Take your time and choose the kitchen layout that best fits your foodservice establishment’s needs. Making the right decision could pay off for years.

Here at FSX, we are stocked with quality equipment perfect for all kitchen layouts. Our wide selection and discounted prices means that you can find the kitchen equipment you need without breaking the bank.

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