If you’re a culinary enthusiast, you may have thought about bringing your kitchen vision to life and turning this passion into something more. But designing a commercial kitchen is not an easy job! You must consider several things, including food prep areas, functionality, storage space, and aesthetics. The layout isn’t the only aspect that matters when designing a kitchen.
You have to make this space as efficient and safe as possible because it has to be suitable for food preparation. Thorough planning is crucial in your kitchen’s design because it ensures you’ll get the desired outcome and helps you save money and time as the construction takes place.
Essential functions of a commercial kitchen
According to experts, the space of your commercial kitchen should support seven critical functions:
- Food preparation;
- Dish return.
Obviously, dish return isn’t necessarily a requirement if you own a takeout or fast-food restaurant. However, additional packing and distribution space will be necessary.
Things to consider before designing your commercial kitchen
You can picture it in your mind: the stainless-steel appliances, the practical use of the space, and its potential to become the next big commercial kitchen in your area. While it’s great to dream big, you need to take things step by step and consider some aspects before designing your kitchen, such as:
- The space. The location is crucial because it determines who your clients will be and the success of your restaurant. It may even impact the food that you’ll provide. Besides geographic location, you should also think about the physical space. Your timeline and budget depend on whether you’re building the commercial kitchen from the ground up or retrofitting a second-generation space.
- Safety regulations. Before designing your kitchen, you need to research regulations about food safety. These involve the federal, state, and local levels, and you should learn all of them. Before the construction, it’s wise to meet with an inspector. Navigating the rules regarding food safety is both costly and time-consuming, so you should reach out to commercial kitchen design professionals, as they can simplify the process.
- Menu. This is the exciting part of the process, and an important one, because ideally, you want to have a concept down regarding the food you’ll serve at your restaurant. This is because commercial kitchens aren’t standard, and the floorplans differ, so each should be designed based on the menu and the overall concept. For instance, a pizzeria can’t work without a pizza oven.
The aesthetics of your commercial kitchen matters, too
Functionality is crucial in a commercial kitchen, as you want it to run smoothly and efficiently. But that doesn’t mean you should overlook the aesthetics of the kitchen. Let’s face it: customers also take into account the vibe they get when going to a restaurant. A simple meal will become more appetizing if people associate it with comfort and good taste. Lighting, color scheme, and flooring – are all essential elements of a commercial kitchen’s design.
Some of the items you purchase for your commercial kitchen can become outdated over time, or they may get damaged due to wear and tear. For instance, at some point, you may want to get new kitchen doors simply because you realize you are no longer satisfied with the ones you have. This is understandable because kitchen cabinets are an essential component of this commercial space; it’s where you store appliances, so you want them to be functional. But at the same time, you can’t settle for just any kind of kitchen cabinets, and that’s because of the impact they have on the overall space. If something as important as kitchen cabinets doesn’t fit anymore into your space, the whole design will be affected.
On the contrary, the right cabinetry will transform the kitchen and help you maintain a brand image. The design of your restaurant will impact the chefs’ and employees’ moods, which is another good reason why you should focus on aesthetics. There are endless designs you can opt for, depending on your preferences. For instance, you can choose an all-white design to create a bright space. Or, you can use theme colours in your kitchen cabinets. If you have a high-end restaurant, you may want to opt for wooden-themed kitchen doors. Or maybe you’re more into traditional designs. It doesn’t really matter which style you choose as long as you stay true to yourself and attempt to create a well-balanced look in your commercial kitchen. You can use the Internet for inspiration, but remember to stay as unique as possible because that’s how you’ll stand out.
Steps to take when designing a commercial kitchen
After creating the menu and getting a handle on safety regulations, it’s time to start designing your commercial kitchen. Here are the steps you should take:
Get the measurements right
Square footage isn’t enough to plan your kitchen layout – you must consider doorways, electrical outlets, and plumbing. They are all crucial factors that will help you create the design of your kitchen and figure out the timeline and budget. Small measurements are easy to forget, but you shouldn’t overlook them. Thus, consider the space between the doorway and light switches, as well as the one between the bathroom and the kitchen.
Choose a layout for the kitchen
The next step is to figure out how your commercial kitchen will work. This depends on what kind of restaurant you operate. For instance, an assembly line is ideal for small spaces, while an open configuration is more suitable for fast-casual chains. You can also opt for an island kitchen layout, a galley layout, a zoning layout, or an ergonomic one.
Look for kitchen equipment
Purchasing equipment for your commercial kitchen is a vital yet overwhelming task. You need to list everything you need for food prep, refrigeration, storage and display. Every item you buy should meet health code requirements. Your kitchen equipment may include the following:
- Ice Machines;
- Food processors;
- Beverage Equipment;
- Stainless Prep Tables, etc.
Additionally, you should consider specialty kitchen equipment pieces, as you need them to meet the specific requirements of your menu. The items you choose will impact the overall design of the commercial kitchen, so it’s essential to consider this step carefully.
The bottom line
Designing a commercial kitchen is by no means easy, but it’s not impossible either. If you take things step by step, you’ll undoubtedly create an outstanding commercial space that will bring you many customers and turn your culinary business idea into success.