Commercial Kitchen Design Basics Considerations


Among the fundamental objectives in the design principles of a kitchen is the maximum use of available kitchen space to reduce operational costs and productivity of the equipment, devices, and personnel involved in the kitchen.

The workflow of a professional kitchen is another fundamental aspect, designed to increase safety and productivity.

The design refers to the general planning of the space, the size, shape, style, decoration, and interrelation of the kitchen spaces are defined in the design.

The layout is the detailed graphic representation of the kitchen plan, the precise and specific location of each element and equipment in the different work areas in the kitchen.


Creating the concept of your kitchen

The first thing that must be defined before beginning to establish the principles of kitchen design is a well-defined concept of the type of kitchen that is going to be designed.

It is necessary to define to which type of market the concept of a kitchen that is being planned belongs, the gastronomic market can be divided into four basic subgroups:

Fast service restaurants, formerly known as fast food, fast-casual cuisine, mid-scale and upscale, these subgroups are currently unclear.

The lines between them are often blurred in the market, it is very important to determine who your potential customers will be, and which market segments your kitchen will serve.

Knowing this is the beginning to determine everything you will need in the kitchen referring to the kitchen equipment, furniture, areas, personnel, and others.

To fully understand the concept of the kitchen to be designed, the fundamental answers regarding the type of food and service in the kitchen should always be clear.

Relative to food. What type of food will be offered? What is the style of preparation? How extensive will the menu be? What will the price range be?

It is also important to know the minimum number of dishes that can be served per day, this will help to define aspects related to storage and the necessary equipment for the kitchen.

Relative to service. How will the food be made available to the guest? Self-service? Counter service? Or full service, where the guest is seated and a waitstaff takes orders?

these questions will help to have a general idea of ​​how the kitchen design will be concerning size, spaces, the definition of areas, storage, necessary equipment, and circulation flows.

Knowing the kitchen menu

The next fundamental step in the kitchen design approach is the development of the menu. When you think about it, you will realize that you can’t even choose a location until you’ve decided on a menu.

many factors such as the price range, size of kitchen areas, equipment of the kitchen, and skills of your potential workforce, everything varies according to the food it will serve.

You must decide on your menu before the design process begins, knowing the menu of your kitchen will definitely help to develop the design and then the layout.

Design Flexibility in kitchen design

In any foodservice environment, it is smart to design maximum flexibility, and there are different types of flexibility to consider: mobility of the equipment within the kitchen space, multiple uses for the equipment and how it can affect the design of the work sections, operational flexibility, and labor flexibility.

Before carrying out the design, you should have an overview of the spaces and their relationship with future activities that will be carried out in the kitchen, such as, for example, the width of the doors and corridors should be wide enough to maneuver the different workflows fluidly.

The width of an aisle in a kitchen should be at least 36 ” for acceptable maneuverability of staff and work equipment.

Other important aspects are to take into account the future growth of the kitchen areas, such as a possible expansion of the kitchen, have sufficient and well-located space for garbage deposits, and have sufficient electrical capacity in the different areas.

Contemplate future growth that may require additional space and utilities and Consider equipment and workspaces (tables, shelves) that are movable. Think “maximum flexibility.”

Look for equipment that has a good reputation and a verified performance record. As much as possible, each piece should be energy efficient, simple to operate, multifunctional and easy to maintain.

Comfort and safety in the kitchen design

A very poor kitchen design can make food preparation and service much more difficult than it should be, the work areas inside the kitchen must have small dimensions.

If a kitchen has a narrow aisle, it will be a very difficult space for workers to move, however, if the spaces and corridors inside the kitchen are too separate, workers can get tired faster by having to perform more movements and steps.

In the kitchen, many injuries are caused by misuse of the simplest equipment, especially during the preparation of the dishes and when the staff comes into contact with knives and other sharp or delicate utensils such as glass, some manual or liquid electrical appliances hot.

Culinary appliances and equipment must be ergonomically designed and manufactured with the correct materials: modular, integrated, simple to use, non-allergenic, easy to wash, and non-toxic.

The number of people who will be working in the same workspace must be taken into account, the minimum that must measure the width of an aisle in a kitchen is 36” if it is a double-circulation aisle it must be wider.

The proper design and location of equipment and work tables is very important, the correct heights of work tables and surfaces must be defined, as well as shelves and other under-counter equipment, this is to minimize the risk of injury from workers due to unnecessary stretching and bad work positions.

Aspects such as; Adequate lighting for the required tasks and control and noise reduction are fundamental part to be taken into account in the kitchen design, It is also important to know the proper location of the equipment.

Concerning its environment it is essential to leave a certain distance between the equipment and the walls, also take into consideration that some teams cannot go side by side.

For example, special care must be taken with deep fryers, since oil at a certain temperature is unstable.

Defined flow patterns in kitchen design

One of the most important aspects in terms of the design of the spaces of a kitchen is related to the workflow.

This allows the functionality to be translated into an efficient, safe and prepared area for the performance of the activities carried out in it.

Something very necessary, especially in the design of kitchens linked to dining rooms or the hotel industry.

Why is workflow important in a kitchen?

The workflow is a fundamental part of the kitchen design, the food served by a professional kitchen has to prevent any contamination to avoid health risks.

This means that it is necessary to use the correct equipment and to know perfectly the procedures, the design of the workflow, and the layout of the kitchen spaces.

The same applies to security, where the choice of each of the teams is even more relevant. However, the key point is how to organize the machinery, configure the spaces and implement the procedures.

Why is a well-designed kitchen so important to food safety?

When designing the workflow in a professional kitchen, a thorough knowledge of the kitchen equipment and the processes that involve people and materials is necessary.

If the teams are designed to interact seamlessly with humans and each other, the workflow will be efficient.

Precisely because of this, designers have to be very familiar with the machines and their procedures, so that they can gather patterns, actions and objectives that achieve an optimal workflow.

The food served by a professional kitchen must avoid any contamination to avoid health risks. This means that it is necessary to use the correct equipment and to know perfectly the procedures, the design of the workflow and the layout of the kitchen spaces.

Therefore, the collection and final disposal flow of solid waste must be independent of the preparation and cooking area, as well as the washing area, although the latter must have indirect communication with the cooking area.

The same applies to security, where the choice of each of the teams is even more relevant. However, the key point is how to organize the machinery, configure the spaces and implement the procedures.

What causes cross-contamination in a kitchen?

Most cross-contamination occurs through avoidable contact between food and pollutants, that is when staff does not wash their hands after handling raw foods, and raw foods and preparations are not separated.

The flow of personnel and materials must be designed to reduce these possibilities.

This means keeping the service and storage areas completely separate from the rest of the kitchen and keeping chemicals or cleaning products away from the main food preparation areas (never in cabinets that hang over those areas).

Keep food safety equipment at the center of the flow

Blast chillers and freezers are basic for food preservation. Its location must be comfortable for the flow and promote the economy of movements.

Place the ovens near the blast chillers, and put the freezer under the counter, near the fryer, so that the workers return the food with a minimum movement after taking the necessary amount.

This prevents food from being left out of the refrigerator and exposed to bacteria and other contaminants. The important thing here is to “know your refrigerator” since the best device is always the one that has unsurpassed performance in terms of cooling / freezing time and interaction with related equipment.