There are fundamentals synonymous with all well designed commercial
kitchens regardless of the type of business. Whether it is a restaurant,
hotel, care home or school kitchen, they should all be designed with
careful spatial planning to maximise efficiency and create a suitable
workflow. They should also be compliant, suitably equipped for the intended
purpose of the commercial kitchen, and designed to create a safe working
environment for the catering staff.
Regardless of the shape or size of the commercial kitchen, the design
should embody the following key areas which are crucial to the operation of
the commercial kitchen:
Wherever possible the kitchen should have a delivery entrance located next
to the kitchen storage areas. This allows direct access for deliveries
without interfering with the operation of the kitchen, impeding service,
and means that deliveries need not pass through food preparation, cooking
areas or any customer area.
If space permits, and particularly with larger catering facilities, it is
necessary to have a designated landing area for the deliveries with
sufficient work bench space specifically to book the deliveries. This also
allows for efficient sorting of deliveries before being transported to the
designated storage area. Scales may also be required to check the weight of
certain produce, and trolleys to transport good to the storage area. Hand
washing facilities are also good practice to prevent any possible cross
The delivery booking in or drop off point must have adequate space to
ensure that deliveries do not cause obstructions and pose a risk to health
& safety. For example, the delivery access point may also be a fire
escape so it is imperative that isn’t blocked when accepting deliveries.
The amount of deliveries and the frequency will depend on the type of
establishment the commercial kitchen serves. Restaurants may prefer smaller
daily deliveries of fresh produce and others may opt for bulk deliveries
including frozen produce and dry goods. More frequent deliveries are more
beneficial when storage space is at a premium and a quick turnaround of
produce can be advantageous.
The amount of storage required will obviously depend on the size of the
operation, and the frequency of deliveries, but generally the following
will need to be considered:
The average commercial kitchen will require sufficient refrigeration to
store fresh meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, fruit and vegetables.
These items should be stored separately to avoid any possible cross
contamination which could lead to a health risk. Freezers will also be
required for frozen food storage.
Dry goods should be stored in cool, well ventilated areas away from heat
sources and moisture. The dry goods should not be stored on the floor and
should be on suitable racking or shelving. It is good practice to have a
separate dry store room when space permits. Smaller premises without the
luxury of space, may use stainless steel cupboards or shelving in a
designated area of the kitchen for dry goods.
COSH cupboards are required to store cleaning chemicals as set out in the
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. These cupboards
need to be lockable are usually of painted steel construction or stainless
It is important to have a designated food preparation area within a
commercial kitchen. To achieve the optimum flow and prevent contamination,
the prep area is best placed between the storage area and the cooking area.
This prevents the need to carry unprepared produce through the cooking area
and avoid any potential contamination.
Food prep areas should incorporate basic fundamental equipment which would
include adequate food prep surfaces, sinks, shelving, storage and
refrigeration which should always be manufactured from stainless steel.
Depending on the operation and purpose of the prep area, other specialist
food preparation machinery may also be required, such as food processors,
meat mincers, potato peeling and vegetable preparation machinery. You will
also require separate refrigeration such as under-counter refrigerators.
These refrigerators can be re-stocked daily with food that requires
preparing, to avoid continuously going back and forth between prep and bulk
storage areas. In brief you will need to consider:
Food prep sinks
Suitable Utensils & food prep machinery
Utensil & Equipment Storage
Hand washing facilities
Consideration should also be made to the type of food that is being
prepared. It is very important to prevent cross contamination. This occurs
when bacteria is spread, usually between work surfaces and is most likely
to come about when raw food touches or drips onto ready to eat food or
surfaces. Apart from being kept extremely clean at all times, to prevent
contamination food prep areas should be segregated into different zones for
the preparation of:
Pre-cooked and Prepared Food
Segregation is difficult with smaller commercial kitchens where space is at
a premium, and it may not be possible to have separate clearly defined food
prep areas. When this is the case, it is imperative that stringent cleaning
procedures are in place, and surfaces and utensils are thoroughly cleaned
between differing food group preparation.
This segregation should also be considered when storing these different
food types in refrigeration, which is another hot spot for possible
contamination. Your local Environmental Health Officer may inspect your
commercial kitchen without notice, and will check that adequate measures
are in place to provide a compliant food preparation area. They can advise
and make recommendations to ensure your commercial kitchen is compliant and
The cooking area or cook line is the heart of the commercial kitchen and
its location within the kitchen needs to be in keeping with the correct
flow of the kitchen. The size of cooking area is dictated by the amount and
type of cooking equipment required, which in turn is dictated by the menu
and amount of covers the kitchen produces.
Type of cooking equipment
Cooking equipment will vary depending on the type of establishment. Most
commercial kitchens and restaurants would require core appliances such six
burner gas oven ranges, fryers, salamander grills and combination steam
ovens. Larger operations that require bulk cooking may have appliances such
as bratt pans and tilting kettles.
The positioning and layout of the cooking equipment is very important and
key to the efficiency of the operation. For example, the chef may want to
create two working areas within the cook line, one used predominantly for
hot starters and the other for main courses.
It will also be necessary to place ambient infill benches between certain
appliances. For example, it is good practice to place infill benches
between fryers and oven ranges. This will prevent any spillages from pans
boiling over into the fryer which could very dangerous. The infill bench
only has to be 300mm wide but if there isn’t enough space it may be
necessary to fit a fryer guard instead. It is also good practice to place
salamander rills over ambient benches. This acts a landing area and also
protects the grill from heat sources below. Other ambient surfaces will be
required for preparation and plating up.
Additional refrigeration may also be required in the cook line. These
refrigerators would hold prepared food ready for cooking and enable the
chef to work efficiently without leaving the cooking area. It might include
under-broiler counter refrigerators for holding steaks or fish ready to
place on the char grill or plancha. They may also require refrigeration for
cold garnishes ready for plating up and adding finishing touches.
All cooking areas will require a suitably sized ventilation system
installed in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations. When gas
appliances are underneath the canopy it will also require a gas interlock
system. The canopy should of stainless steel construction and be fitted
with stainless steel baffle filters that can be easily removed and cleaned.
Commercial kitchen ventilation systems should also have make up air coming
into the kitchen to replace the air being extracted, which is a regulatory
requirement where gas appliances are installed.
FOOD SERVICE PASS
This area of the kitchen is referred to as ‘The Pass’ and it is where the
plated meals are placed when they are ready to be collected by the waiting
staff. The pass should be situated between the cook line and the entrance
to the dining area, so that waiting staff can efficiently collect serve the
meals without entering other parts of the kitchen.
The food service pass would require equipment such as hot cupboards and
heated gantries. The hot cupboards can be used to store crockery and keep
warm ready for plating up. The work surface on top of the hot cupboard or
additional work benches can be used for plating up. The plated meals can
them be placed underneath the heat lamps on the heated gantry and kept warm
until the waiting staff arrive to collect.
WASH UP AREA
The wash up area and dishwasher area should never be underestimated and
should be suitably sized for establishment and covers produced by the
kitchen. The wash up area should be located somewhere in the kitchen next
to the entrance from the dining room, so that staff can efficiently drop
off dirty crockery, without walking through other parts of the kitchen and
interfering with productivity.
This area of the kitchen should be suitably equipped and have an efficient
flow from where the dirty crockery is dropped off to where clean crockery,
pots and pans can be collected ready for reusing. It would generally
include the following areas within the wash up area:
Dirties drop off point
Dishwasher pre-rinse sink
Pot wash sink
Cleans table/exit table
Racking for clean crockery
Suitable refuse bins and waste management should also be considered. The
local water authorities will also require you to install a grease trap
and/or a bio enzyme dosing unit to prevent grease build and blockages in
the drainage. Ventilation may also be required depending mainly of the type
of dishwasher used.
· Waste Management
· Grease traps & drain maintenance
Call Caterplan now and speak to one our design consultants. Let us design,
supply and install your commercial kitchen and help maximise your business