Designing your Kitchen Layout Part 1

Designing your commercial kitchen should incorporate both food flow and selecting the correct equipment for the job.

Part 1 - Food Flow

Your kitchen should be designed to handle the events that occur as part of food preparation in sequential order. It sounds simple, but you would be surprised to learn how many foodservice facilities (independent and chain establishments alike) are designed without keeping this key principle in mind.

Now, let's look at how this concept is applied to the design of a kitchen.

1. Delivery of Raw Products

The first thing that occurs in the preparation of food is the delivery and acceptance of the raw food products.

2. Storing of Raw Product

Once the product is accepted, it will have to be stored either in the cooler or freezer, or in the dry storage area.

Already we have established that the receiving and storage areas have a critical relationship and should be located adjacent to one another.

In a typical design, it would be counter productive to locate the receiving and storage areas on opposite sides of the facility.

3. Preparation

Next, the food will require preparation work.

The preparation area should be adjacent to the refrigerated and frozen storage areas. Once this work is completed, the food can go in one of two directions: back to refrigerated storage for later use or to the production area for cooking.

You can see that our flow patterns are developing.

4. Cooking

Once the food is cooked, plated and garnished it is now ready to be served to your customer by the waiting staff.

5. Serving

The design of the pick-up area is critical.

The waiting staff should be able to get in and out of the kitchen without disrupting the cooking staff - a separation should exist by design so that the waiting staff and cooks do not hinder one another's efforts.

6. Clearing

Once the food has been enjoyed by the customer the table is cleared and all dirty plates etc. are dropped off in the wash-up area. The washing area, a key component of any kitchen operation, must be strategically located.

With both the service staff and the kitchen staff requiring access, there are several critical relationships to consider.

Ideally, the flow patterns of the waiting staff and kitchen staff should meet at the food pick-up and soiled drop-off areas, but should never cross.

See the following drawing as an example.