The great care needs to be taken when developing your restaurant kitchen planning since it is the heart and the command central of any restaurant and its very important for it to function well in order for your restaurant to not only survive, but thrive. The decor, ambiance, furniture and space will not matter much if the kitchen is not executing efficiently and pleasing your customers. The quality of food and the speed of service all depends on efficiency, hence the necessary planning so the kitchen design and layout must be undertaken with due diligence and expert input. Errors committed here can prove detrimental to the over health of the business both initially and long term.
A poor restaurant kitchen planning process often has a ripple effect in other areas such as in higher payrolls, slowed production, operational inefficiency, unhappy staff and subsequently, dissatisfied customers. In order to ensure all your operational needs are met, it is always best to solicit the advice from a restaurant kitchen consultant, and the most successful consultants would be former professional chefs. Simply looking at their operating background, chefs have the hands on experience with most types of equipment, and those in the know can provide the most modern and functional design to utilize the best use of the kitchen space.
So how does restaurant kitchen planning work?
It all starts with the menu
Ideally, everything that pertains to the restaurant kitchen planning process should start by deciding the menu. This will allow you to take further decisions regarding equipment purchase, recruitment, spacial usage, small-wares, operational demand and potential inventory pars. This step is mainly to conceptualize and brainstorm the idea of having a restaurant. What should you sell, at what times, and at what prices, will be critical to deciding well before you open the doors. You need to be unique to carve your niche in the market. There are a few ways to go about it.
- Sell something creative that none of your competitors in your area are selling.
- Sell something which is far better than what your competitors are already selling at the same price.
- Sell something at a lesser price than what your competitors are already selling.
You need to go one by one in order to stand out in the competitive market.
After the menu is decided, the next step would be to allocate appropriate space for every element of the kitchen. The art of designing a perfect kitchen is to put every inch of the available space to some judicious use for increased efficiency which will speed execution and maintain the quality of the food. Depending on the length and style of your menu, you may have a few stations or you may have several. Have a lot of salads? Then a salad station will be ideal. A lot of grilled food? Then a larger grill will help get food out of the kitchen faster. Here are the things you need to decide while planning spatial usage for the kitchen:
- Different food stations – Salad, Grilled, Veg/Non-veg, Breads, Mock-tails etc.
- Equipment Placement
- Lighting and Ventilation
- Drainage and waste System
- Dish washing area
- Staffing Requirements
The next step would be to develop the restaurant kitchen planning specifications with the required equipment, keeping in mind the menu and the space allocated for each station and culinary technique to be employed. You can decide whether to buy old equipment, lease or buy new since each will have their own benefit and advantage in cost cutting and efficiency. In order to ensure you are spending money in the right place, it is always a good idea to consult a kitchen designer before making any capital investment decisions.
There is a wide range of manufacturers of kitchen equipment and the design consultant should carefully specify what you’ll need based on your desired operating strategy before making purchase decisions. Equipment is sold by dealers, distributors, jobbers, manufacturer’s agents, or directly by the manufacturer pending on the size of the order or the size. In most cases local or regional restaurant and hotel supply companies are best equipped to serve. We will expand on how restaurant equipment is purchased in our blog post “Types of Restaurant Equipment Suppliers.”
The most critical element of a restaurant kitchen planning process is the input from the chef and the people working in it. Finding the right person for the right job is obviously essential for success, so be very selective in your hiring process. The head chef should have a passion to create and deliver amazing recipes with consistency. He or she should also have a critical decision making ability and be resourceful and decisive when a situation demands.
The success or failure of any restaurant depends upon how well the concept was planned, and then, how well the plan was followed!