While Dawnvale is known today as one of the leading names in restaurant design and hospitality fit out, our brand first focused its attention on commercial kitchens. This is an area that we continue to feel passionate about, believing that a well-designed kitchen is an essential building block to front-of-house success. But exactly what does ‘well-designed’ mean when it comes to commercial kitchens, and how can you ensure you’re creating a space that motivates, inspires, and drives complete excellence?
Here are 5 top design rules from our own team of commercial kitchen experts:
1. Create zones
Although it’s important to ensure kitchen staff have access to all required areas, it’s also important to create zones, keeping related equipment together for ease. For example, you may wish to keep refrigeration equipment all in one area, heating equipment in another, food prep tools all in the same space, and so on. The idea is to boost efficiency, reducing the need for kitchen staff to be constantly on the move and ultimately avoiding traffic jams in spaces that are renowned for being crowded.
2. Design upwards, not outwards
Any kitchen worker, when asked about their biggest on-the-job frustrations, will likely reply ‘space’. Space is a massive issue in many kitchens, so a good rule of thumb when it comes to planning is to build upwards, not outwards. Lockable wall cupboards, wall shelves, and tiered units can prove to be hugely valuable alternatives to more space-consuming walk-in storage. Although it’s important to remember than cleaning materials can’t be stored above crockery, perishables, dry food, or disposables.
3. Don’t follow the crowd
Commercial kitchen design trends come and go, and it’s easy to get caught up in the hottest kitchen layouts at the time. But the truth is that not every design will work for every kitchen, so rather than trying to stay on-trend, it’s much more important to carefully consider your individual needs. For example, while assembly line setups work well for restaurants with a limited menu - a pizza restaurant, for example - island layouts with a centralised cooking station are best for keeping an eye on different dishes.
4. Remember your legal requirements
One thing that’s vital to remember is that it’s not enough to simply plan out and design a great kitchen that works for you, your staff, and your customers… you also need to plan out and design a great kitchen that meets legal requirements. One of the main priorities is ventilation, so it’s worth having this in mind right from the start of the planning process, building your design around the most suitable locations for heating equipment so that you can ensure adequate ventilation and maintain control over temperature.
5. Never set anything in stone
As all veteran kitchen staff know, no one design ever sticks around for too long. It’s natural, and it’s actually a good thing that chefs are willing to adapt their workspaces to meet evolving demands and changing trends. But this does mean that you’ll want to take care not to set anything in stone; not to hide the connection for the gas cooker behind a practically immobile unit, for example. Taking a flexible approach and being prepared to handle the unexpected is the most important kitchen design rule of all.
If you’re ready to get your commercial kitchen project underway, contact us now.