Commercial Kitchens - Seeing the whole picture
The enjoyable day to day particulars of operating commercial or restaurant kitchens can sometimes blind the proprietor to the long term implications of such processes as purchasing new pieces of commercial catering equipment. Often the chef or owner is concerned simply with the never ending and immensely satisfying task of producing good food at an attractive price. Viewed in this light, the purchase and installation of a new item, be it a replacement oven, ventilator hood, refrigerator or whatever becomes an incidental, a short term problem to be surmounted. The long term considerations may be appreciated, but they are placed to one side, to be considered when there is time for such things; too often, alas, all too often, there never is time.
This is unfortunate. A design of a commercial kitchen and the catering equipment required should never really be considered as matters in isolation from each other. In an ideal world, in fact, they should always be considered as two aspects of the same problem. When new equipment is purchased its location is a design matter. The flow of people and product through a well run commercial kitchen is a vital fact in its ergonomic efficiency. A new piece of equipment simply pushed into the place of a previous item, which might have been smaller or of a different shape, can cause time-wasting and potentially hazardous choke points to form, leading at best to a loss of efficiency and at worst to a failure to comply with the all important health and safety guidelines.
Designing for excellence
This is why anyone involved in operating kitchens for restaurants or any other commercial catering establishment should seriously consider retaining the advice of a company which has experience in kitchen design. Such is a business is a vital asset whenever a piece of equipment is replaced and their services should not only be sought when a major refurbishment or redesign is being considered. Commercial designers of kitchens are also frequently suppliers of commercial kitchen equipment and so they are familiar with all the specifications of this equipment: how much space it takes up, how much power it needs, what its ventilation requirements are and so on. If the designers are involved in the decision to purchase and install the item, then they can advise the purchaser in such a way as to avoid any of the future problems which we listed above. Although ‘prevention is better than cure’ is a medical maxim it has applications in many other fields of endeavour, including the efficient operation of a commercial kitchen.
Of course commercial kitchen designers are the first port of call when the decision is made to completely rebuild a kitchen and the technology used to offer the client a variety of ‘virtual’ kitchens, showing different possible arrangements of equipment and preparation areas is probably fairly well known to most contemporary proprietors. What is perhaps forgotten is that this ability to show the consequences of a redesign is also just as useful when it comes to showing the consequences of the purchase of a single new piece of equipment. The customer can see the whole picture and thus come to the right choice.
posted on 08 June, 2015