Kitchen Planning and Restaurant Equipment

Kitchen Planning and Restaurant Equipment

The kitchen is where the magic happens – especially in a restaurant. Even though your guests might not even see it, it is just as important, maybe even more so than the actual dining space. Let's see how you can effectively plan your kitchen space to ensure a great customer experience.

Kitchen Design: Understanding Requirements

1. Determining the needs and possibilities for your kitchen

To create the perfect kitchen with an ideal layout and all the needed equipment, you first need to figure out the specific needs for the type of cuisine and service concept you want to offer. Additionally, it is important to consider the possibilities of your space and what you can make out of it. Think of your built-in equipment and hygiene regulations.

Restaurant menu and kitchen requirements

1.1 Working with your menu

Before making a kitchen plan, consider the specific requirements for your planned menu and service concept. For this, it is best to consult your head chef. If you yourself are the chef, think through the process it takes to create the items on the menu. Write down a list of all the food items and the steps needed to prepare them. During this process, some questions that can help you with your planning are:

  • How much storage do we need? And what different kinds of storage (freezer, fridges at different temperatures, pantry, etc.)?
  • How many burners and ovens do we need?
  • Do we need an open flame?
  • How much space do we need for food preparation?
  • Do we need specialty equipment?

Once you have figured out all the requirements related to food creation, it is also important to take any service requirements into account. It is crucial to adapt your kitchen to ensure a consistently smooth-running service experience for your customers. Questions that can help you further here are:

  • How many customers do we need to be able to serve at maximum capacity?
  • How many servers do we plan on employing?
  • Do we need an area to prepare takeaway foods?

All these factors must properly be assessed before starting to plan your kitchen.

Planning your restaurant space

1.2 Assessing the possibilities of your restaurant space

The second step to determine the possibilities of your kitchen is to assess the space that your restaurant has. As a rule of thumb, an ideal ratio of dining space to kitchen space is 60 to 40. However, you might need to adapt this ratio if you have a very small restaurant or a very large restaurant.

Once you have assessed the actual size that your kitchen could have, it is time to assess the possibilities of placing various pieces of equipment. The location of electrical outlets, water supply, air vents, and windows will determine the interior layout of your kitchen.

We recommend visualizing all these aspects on an accurate floor plan of your restaurant space. That way, you won’t end up being faced with bad surprises and can start purchasing items and consulting handymen.

Hygiene regulations for restaurants

1.3 Ensuring the compliance with health and hygiene regulations

Besides the needs and possibilities of your actual restaurant space, it is very important to be able to adhere to health and hygiene regulations. To ensure the compliance with these regulations, in Germany:

  • your restaurant needs to have multiple storage units with specific temperature, humidity, and light requirements. This is important to safely store various food items without the risk of them going bad or developing bacteria or fungi.
  • your kitchen needs to be designed in a way that makes it possible to thoroughly clean and disinfect all areas;
  • you need to ensure a constant flow of air and air circulation;
  • all items used to prepare food need to be stored and cleaned in a certain way;
  • food waste needs to be able to be disposed of correctly.

We at METRO advise you to get to know your local health and hygiene regulations and adapt your kitchen space to comply with them.

Sections of a Commercial Kitchen

2. Figuring out the different sections of your kitchen

Once you have determined the needs and possibilities for your kitchen, it is time to figure out the different sections your kitchen should have. Generally, there are seven basic elements you should find in every smooth-running and well-designed kitchen. In the following, we will take you through the steps of your ingredients being delivered all the way to the step of (hopefully) empty plates returning to your kitchen after your meals have satisfied your customers.

Sections of a Commercial Kitchen

2.1 Delivery

First you need to have a space to receive ingredients from your vendors. For this, make sure you have a loading space outside of your restaurant, where delivery cars and trucks can park. Ideally, this loading space is connected directly to the kitchen through a door. That way, your customers will not be disturbed by the delivery process. However, even if the loading area is not directly connected to the kitchen, it is important for it to be very close to the kitchen with a short amount of time being needed to properly store freshly delivered products. Especially on hot summer days, this is crucial to reduce spoilage of your ingredients.


2.2 Storage

Next, any delivered products must be appropriately and safely stored in designated storage spaces. Besides storing food products, however, you also need storage space for cooking tools, place settings, and cleaning supplies. For this, make sure that you have designated cupboards. In general, it is very important to know your storage system inside-and-out, so that you and your employees are constantly aware of where various items are stored.


2.3 Food preparation

The third step to consider for designing a smooth-running kitchen is ensuring that you have various food preparation areas. Food preparation mainly includes chopping and cutting different ingredients. In doing so, it is crucial to appropriately separate the food preparation areas of different types of foods. For instance, never prepare meat and vegetables on the same cutting board or countertop and never prep dairy-free or nut-free foods where they could come in contact with said allergens. This is especially important if you serve vegan or vegetarian meals, offer halal, or kosher cuisine, or have allergen-free items on your menu.

In addition, make sure that food preparation areas are close to the storage spaces for perishable items. This ensures short walking distances and keeps refrigerated or frozen items as fresh as possible. Moreover, never wash your vegetables, meats, fruits, and other ingredients in the same sink as dirty dishes to prevent unhygienic conditions.


2.4 Cooking

The next step is what most people would consider the key element of a restaurant: cooking the food. The cooking area is where the action happens: boiling, sizzling, frying, and baking. To ensure that your cooking process happens as smooth as possible, it is important to have products that cater to high-volume foods. Being able to cook large portions at the same time benefits the efficiency and overall satisfaction of customers.

We at METRO also recommend installing a digital kitchen order system. That way, any food that is ordered in the dining room of the restaurant and subsequently is entered into a computer or tablet by your service staff automatically appears digitally in your kitchen. Anybody working in the kitchen can then take the orders into account and start the process of preparing the dishes. This eliminates stress and makes sure your ordering process is organized.


2.5 Service

Before your food can be served to customers by your service staff, it needs to be assembled on a plate, organized by table, and kept warm until it is picked up. Thus, your kitchen needs a designated area for this, ideally equipped with heat lamps and near the dining room of your restaurant.


2.6 Dish return and cleaning

Lastly, you need to consider what happens when your plates come back to the kitchen. For this, you need an area to store dirty dishes and properly dispose of food waste. To clean the dirty dishes and the kitchen itself, it is important that your kitchen has commercial dishwashers, large sinks, and large drying racks.
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Choosing the Type of Kitchen Layout

3. Finding the perfect layout for your kitchen

Now you are aware of the requirements your kitchen should ideally adhere to. It is time to think about the layout of the kitchen. How do you accommodate all the different required elements in your kitchen and what relation should they be with each other? These are some of the most common kitchen layouts.

Choosing the Type of Kitchen Layout

3.1 Assembly line layout

This layout follows the previously discussed steps of a smooth-running kitchen. All sections are arranged in a way that allows you to literally walk through the steps involved in the dish preparation. This layout is great to ensure a seamless flow of ingredients and allows all cooking staff to remain at their assigned station.


3.2 Island layout

In this layout, the section for cooking is the center of attention. It is in the center of the kitchen in an island-like setup. All other sections are located along the sides of the kitchen, facing the walls. A benefit of the island layout is the fact that the chef can oversee all the processes well and can easily communicate with all the kitchen staff.


3.3 Zoning layout

The zoning layout divides, as the name suggests, the kitchen into different zones for every step or into different zones for the preparation of different types of meals. With this layout, the staff can split up according to their area of expertise. In addition, many dishes can be prepared simultaneously.


3.4 Galley layout

A galley layout means that all stations and all the kitchen equipment is positioned along the perimeter of the kitchen. Benefits of the galley layout can be the fact that there is a space to move around in the middle of the kitchen.


3.5 Open layout

An open layout doesn’t exactly describe the layout of the kitchen itself, but much rather the layout of the entire restaurant and the way the dining area and the kitchen are set up to one another. In an open layout, the kitchen and the dining room do not have a wall between each other. Sometimes, there is a glass partition though. Nonetheless, diners can look inside of the kitchen. The open layout can be attractive in a restaurant, as it allows for transparency regarding the food preparation in general and the cleanliness of the kitchen. All in all, choose a layout that allows you to reach your restaurant’s goals regarding efficiency. Try to make the most out of your kitchen space.
Purchasing Kitchen Tools and Equipment

4. Conclusion – Equipping your kitchen

How to equip your restaurant kitchen

After choosing a kitchen layout, the last step in your kitchen planning process is to purchase the equipment for your kitchen.

For this step, try to use what is already in the space (if your restaurant was previously also used as a restaurant) and/or dot down a detailed list of all the equipment you need. Intensively research possible manufacturers considering the quality of their products. We at METRO also recommend buying equipment in bulk to save money.

Once you have established what you need for your restaurant, what is possible and what values you want to enforce for your restaurant, nothing stands in the way of designing your perfect kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions

5. Kitchen Planning and Restaurant Equipment

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