Different Types of Restaurant Kitchen Layouts to Choose From

Designing or coming up with a layout for your kitchen is very important as it will end up greatly determining how the entire process in the restaurant will go about. There is no exact layout for a restaurant kitchen.

Every restaurant is different and will work uniquely compared to others so it is essential to think about what will best suit your kitchen requirements. However, there are three basic restaurant kitchen layouts to consider which are very efficient when it comes to creating a good mixture of kitchen components and design principles. Below are these layouts.

1. Island Style Layout

In this layout, the fryers, grills, ovens, ranges and other cooking equipment are placed all together in a single module based at the center of the kitchen. Other kitchen sections are designated on the perimeter walls in the correct order to maintain good circular motion.

Any section in the kitchen can be the island depending on individual needs or requirements. If your restaurant kitchen is open, encourages supervision and communication, while also leaving plenty of space to allow cleaning to be done quickly, this is an excellent choice.

It is more efficient when implemented in a kitchen area that is large and has a square shape, but it can also be modified and made to work with other sizes and shapes.

2. Zone Layout

The Zone Layout has typically the kitchen arranged in small clusters and most of the critical kitchen equipment placed along the walls. Just like the Island Layout, all sections adhere to the correct order that gives you a storage area, an area for preparing food, a dishwashing block, etc, thereby providing increased flow.

Supervision and communication can also be handled well in this layout as the center of the space remains open.

3. Assembly Line Layout

The Assembly Line Layout is well suited for a kitchen that serves a large number of customers and needs to do it as quickly as possible such as cafeterias and correctional facilities.

It is best suited for restaurants or establishments that have a limited menu which serve vast quantities of the same food type such as a pizza shop or a sandwich shop, but it can also be applicable on any other kitchen type. In this layout, the kitchen equipment is organized in such a manner that allows the food preparation area to remain on one end and the service area on the other all in one line.

The cleaning and storage areas can be placed on the assembly line ensuring that they remain out of the way. This will make the kitchen very efficient and keep it open for excellent flow and communication. Most of the time, equipment in a kitchen can be linked together thereby removing any wasted space.

After you’ve considered the different layouts and components of varying restaurant kitchen design, there are two important details that you should also keep in mind. These are health codes and ergonomic design.

Ergonomic Design

Sticking to an ergonomic kitchen design layout tends to mean that you have to carefully place all the equipment in the kitchen with effectiveness and comfort in mind.

The fundamental principle of ergonomic design has the employees using as little energy as possible to complete various tasks in a brief time. This design also applies to other things such as lighting and equipment selection.

Health Codes

Every state and country has its health codes. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that you have entirely familiarized yourself before you begin designing your kitchen.

5 Tips for Working in a Restaurant Kitchen

When you start working in a professional restaurant kitchen, it can be very uncomfortable and scary during the first days. Each restaurant kitchen incorporates its own unique style and methodology of getting things done.

If you happen to make a mistake and end up doing something in a manner that is not expected, you will probably end up embarrassing yourself among your newly found colleagues or worse, injuring yourself seriously.

Therefore, it is important to be prepared both mentally and physically when starting work in a professional kitchen environment. Below are 5 tips for working in a professional restaurant kitchen.

1. Get Clarification

If you have not entirely understood your assigned tasks, ask or inquire again. It may make some of your co-workers mad if you do it too often as it shows your un-attentiveness, but it’s better than being unsure of what you are told to do and doing your job wrong. The kitchen environment is all about consistency and you are less likely to annoy people when inquiring clarification than messing up the food.

2. Always Remain Calm

Professional kitchen environments tend to have extremely high stress, and it takes a right amount of discipline and nerves not to lose control. When you are visibly nervous it makes others nervous as well and can also make the chef nervous as well.

Your colleagues will more than often notice your fear. Even when you are nervous inside, you need to do your best show that you are calm on the outside. This will show your workmates that you are confident in your abilities and will inspire confidence in them as well.

Also, in case a mistake happens, you should refrain yourself from yelling or bashing your co-workers and leave that to the cooks or wait staff.

3. Be Fully Aware of Everything Around You

A restaurant kitchen can be a very crowded and hectic place. Make sure that you let your workmates be aware of your location at all times. If you happen to walk around a corner, say “corner”, if you happen to walk behind someone, say “behind you”, if you happen to walk near someone while holding a sharp object, say “sharp” and when walking around with a hot pan, say “hot”.

Not following these rules or any similar rules is considered to be very rude and dangerous. Additionally, it also shows that you have not yet spent enough time in a professional restaurant kitchen. These call-outs are second nature for experienced kitchen workers.

4. Move Deliberately and Efficiently

In a professional restaurant kitchen, movement efficiency is very important. If you run around the kitchen with no clear purpose, your colleagues will perceive you as incompetent. Take a moment to think about what you want to do, collect your product for preparation, and remove any unnecessary movements around the kitchen.

Divide your process into small steps so as to minimize unnecessary movements and maximize efficiency and speed in the kitchen.

5. Maintain Good Organization and Cleanliness

Always ensure that your station stays organized and clean and also make sure that everything remains in its place. Keep all your products and work materials appropriately organized on your workstation and also make sure that your apron and jacket stay as clean as possible.

7 Tips for Installing Restaurant Kitchen Faucets

Nowadays, faucets have become very easy to install. You can now purchase options that install entirely from the sink’s top thereby eliminating the need to crawl underneath the sink. However, you still need to know a few things before you begin the installation process. Below are seven tips to get you started.

1. Remove the Old Faucet

It can be almost impossible to loosen corroded nuts that hold faucets. If preserving the older tap is not a concern, you can cut the nuts off instead. To do this properly, use either an oscillating tool that has a metal-cutting blade or a rotary tool. Use one of these tools to cut off one side of the nut then use a long, strong substance such a screwdriver to pry away the nut from the body of the faucet.

2. Mount the new Faucet Using Silicone

Most newer faucet models come with a gasket that creates strong bondage between the sink and the product. However, it is still highly recommended to apply some clear silicone to the gasket’s bottom and the tap so as make sure it seals properly. The silicone can also work as an adhesive that helps prevent the faucet from moving or shaking unnecessarily if the nuts end up loosening.

3. Upgrade the Supply Lines

Making sure that the supply lines are connected correctly in a manner that ensures no leakage is an integral part of the installation process. However, new connectors come with braided jackets that have been attached to each end thereby making the connections foolproof.

They are a bit more costly than the older versions but are worth it. With this, you won’t need to tighten up the nut very tightly to make the seal effective. All you will need to do is thread it and tighten using your fingers and use a wrench to add a small turn.

4. Measure the Supply Line Correctly

Most new faucets come with supply lines which are probably not long enough or lack the right threads that will connect to the shut-off valves. To correctly measure the supply line’s length, you will require measuring from the sink’s underside near the faucet connection point to the shut-off valve and include a few inches. If for some reason the supply lines that came with the faucet are not long enough, then you should purchase extensions.

To make sure that the new threads on the supply lines end up accurately matching with those on your shut-off valves, go with one of your supply lines and make sure it matches with the one you intend to buy.

5. Loosen Shut-Off Valves that are Stuck

If you have a stuck shut-off valve, you can free it by slightly loosening or easing up the packing nut. This will help relieve any pressure on the stem valve thereby allowing the valve to be turned quickly. Re-tighten the stem nut just enough to ensure that there is no leakage.

6. Take Out the Aerator Before Turning on Water

When doing plumbing maintenance or repair, debris or other types of minerals and food substances that had built up inside the valves and pipes end up getting dislodged. Removing the aerator helps to prevent these materials from clogging and blocking the water flow to the aerator.

7. Pre-mount the Faucet on an Uninstalled Sink

If the faucet is also being installed alongside with a new sink, you should mount it to the sink before doing any installation. It will be much easier to do this than being forced to place your body in tight or funny angles when installing the faucet.

Even if it’s not a new installation, removing the old sink in order to gain better accessibility when installing the faucet may be actually easier than installing the faucet on it when it is already installed.

4 Tips for Running an Efficient Restaurant Kitchen

A kitchen is usually the central operational section of a restaurant. This is where food gets prepped, cooked, plated, and delivered. Kitchens can be huge and spacious or can be small and able to accommodate the restaurant’s needs, depending on the type of business available to it.

Despite its size or appearance, a restaurant kitchen needs to be carefully designed and monitored to ensure that it runs at full capacity. Below are four tips for running an efficient restaurant kitchen.

1. Work Well With Your Staff

As a manager or owner, your staff will need your guidance regularly, but it is vital to understand that everyone has a few weaknesses here and there.

Instead of trying to force your team to do things in a way that you prefer, try to understand their strengths and weaknesses to help you identify ways you can get things done more efficiently.

Ensure that they get whatever they need to be more successful at their jobs. Doing this will help your employees become more independent and also make decisions that are in line with your thinking.

2. Ensure Your Communication System is Effective

Normally, a good point of sale system will resolve most of your communication problems. In most kitchens, you will find that if something needed to be modified or even canceled, the front house staff would speak directly with the kitchen.

This type of communication is usually efficient, more accurate, and even faster. After a change is relayed to the kitchen, the server will then proceed to update or modify the order at the point of sale system.

Using technology as a means of communication is great, but sometimes it can complicate things that were simple in the first place.

3. Someone has to be in Control

To keep everything running smoothly, someone needs to be in charge to ensure things don’t fall apart. In a restaurant, this is usually the expeditor.

Expeditors commonly call the shots in a kitchen and also ensure that the right orders get to the right tables. This is often the person who is the middleman between the kitchen and the front of the house.

If an order needs to be modified or there is some helpful feedback that requires being communicated to the kitchen, it should all be processed by one person for effective communication.

This also allows your staff to focus on whatever they want to do without a lot of distractions.

4. Ensure that Everything is Streamlined

Your kitchen and your menu need to be fully compatible. Make sure that your menu is designed around what you have available in your restaurant.

Ingredients, storage, kitchen layout, equipment, and the skill of your staff should be taken into account when designing a menu.
Below are some pointers on how to do this efficiently:

– Replace menu items that are somewhat complicated to prepare.

– Cut down the size of your menu to make it more manageable for your kitchen.

– Use fewer ingredients to lower your inventory and labor costs and also make your line more efficient.

– Ensure that you hire an experienced front house manager who knows how to keep everything flowing smoothly.

– Purchase the right equipment for your menu. If money is tight, design your menu to fit what you have in the kitchen.

– Hire the right crew and train them accordingly.

5 Reasons Why Using Built In Dishwashers is Greener than Hand Washing

If you want to save water and money when washing dishes, then using a dishwasher is definitely more eco-friendly than hand washing your dishes.

Contrary to what some people may tell you, a large electric dishwasher is a greener choice than hand washing your dishes in the sink, especially if it is a newer model.

Below are some facts to support this.

1. Water Consumption

Despite the fact that dishwashers look like they are continually spraying water, you’ll be surprised to know that they use much less water than hand washing.

When cleaning dishes in a sink, you can end up using up to 27 gallons of water per load. According to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a newer model Energy Star certified dishwasher can only use only 3 gallons per load. In a year, an Energy Star certified dishwasher is capable of saving up to 5,000 gallons of water.

What dishwasher models do you require to reach these water saving capabilities? In 2013, new standards were placed which required dishwashers to use a maximum of 5 gallons per load.

However, older units built before 1994 can end up wasting up to 10 gallons of water per load.

2. Energy Saving

This is probably even more difficult to believe, but dishwashers can use less energy than hand washing. When you are hand washing, the water needs to heat up the water for you to be able to wash dishes properly by hand.

Most new dishwasher models come pre-installed with heaters inside which are capable of warming water more efficiently than the standard water heater. If a dishwasher is energy star certified, it is capable of using less than half the energy than hand washing.

3. Dishwashers Are More Efficient with a Full Load

A dishwasher is more efficient when it is loaded full of dishes. If there are days when your dishwasher does not get filled up, just use the rinse and hold feature if your dishwasher comes with it.

This will help to prevent food from drying on dishes and sticking until you get around to a full load and it also enables you to stay green.

4. Eliminates the Need for Rinsing by Hand

It is very wasteful to rinse your dishes by hand before putting them in a dishwasher. Research by Consumer Reports found that pre-rinsing your dishes can waste up to 6,000 gallons of water in a household each year.

Most new dishwasher models are very capable of handling bits of food on a dish thereby eliminating the need for pre-rinsing. Your dishes will still be adequately washed as long as you just scrape off the big leftovers into the trash.

5. No Need to Physically Endure Hot Water

For dishes to be thoroughly sanitized, water needs to be heated to about 60 – 63 degrees Celsius. Your hands are not capable of handling such temperatures for the period it requires to wash dishes correctly.

It is also wasteful to turn up the heat settings on a water heater when you only need to wash your dishes.

Dishwashers can take care of this while you just sit back and relax.

tips for saving water in restaurant

5 Ways You Can Effectively Save Water in Your Restaurant Kitchen

Nowadays, restaurants are among the business which is more vulnerable to poor water access and high utility costs. According to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency, in the US alone, foodservice and hospital industries account for about 15 percent of the total water consumption in institutional and commercial facilities in the country.

Naturally, the kitchen is where most water usage takes place. In a restaurant where water is mostly used for food preparation, cleaning, and operation of various types of equipment water usage remain high.

The usage of water in the kitchen will end up determining the restaurant’s operating costs, environmental impacts, and even the image of a brand.

It is, therefore, crucial to ensure that you save as much water as possible in a restaurant kitchen. Below are five ways in which restaurants can conserve water and reduce the effect of water shortages on operating costs.

1. Using Pre Rinse Spray Nozzles with a Low Flow

This is probably one of the cheapest and easiest water conserving upgrades and also very useful. Most restaurants tend to pre-rinse dishes and utensils before placing them in a dishwasher, and they use older models of pre-rinse spray valves which are very inefficient when it comes to water conservation.

Conserving water in this phase will also help to reduce energy costs as these sprayers tend to use hot water. Also, the valves in these types of nozzles are very easy to install and only require you to unscrew the old valve and screw the new one in.

2. Installing Low-Flow Aerators

A good amount of hand washing is done in restaurants and any business that does food servicing. Therefore, purchasing low-flow aerators and installing them at hand washing locations can be a simple and effective way of conserving water in a restaurant.

Installing these devices in the kitchen is excellent, but you can also install them in other areas such as bathrooms and public toilets.

3. Finding and Repairing any Leaky Faucets

Faucets that drip slightly can be easy to ignore, and the water that they end up wasting after some duration can be overwhelming.

The Food Service Technology Center (FSTC) has a water leak cost calculator incorporates energy and water usage to correctly determine the annual expenditure that can occur from a dripping faucet.

Purchasing and installing a new gasket will help to ensure that water is conserved correctly thus saving you tons of money.

4. Upgrading Dishwashers

In every restaurant, it is a well-known fact that dishwashers are the primary water and energy consumers. However, most people are not aware of how the new Energy Star rated machines are efficient when it comes to water conservation.

In fact, they probably use about half the water that the older models use. In some cases, you can even buy these Energy Star rated machines and pay in installments, and the savings that they help you generate from water and energy conservation can also end up paying for the device itself in 2 years’ time.

5. Get Rid of Boilers

Steam cookers that are based on boilers and a combination of conventional steamer ovens are known for their excessive water usage, and they are capable of taking up as much as 40 gallons of water every hour whether they are in use or not.

Steamers are probably the most useful kitchen appliances when it comes to water and energy conservation, and they also provide excellent heat transfer.

Close system steamers will re-use the water supply stored in them thereby re-using any moisture that would probably end up venting into the air or going down the drain.

how to buy second hand restaurant equipment

Tips For Purchasing Second Hand Restaurant Equipment

Restaurant equipment consists of everything from ice machines to commercial ovens, from dining tables to restaurant dishes or even sinks. Buying material for a new restaurant or replacing old/faulty ones can be a big undertaking. Deciding what type of equipment to purchase can be overwhelming especially if this it’s your first restaurant.

If money is tight and you are hoping to spend less, you may want to consider purchasing second-hand equipment. While this can sometimes be a risky step to take, if well handled, second-hand equipment can help your business take off and make enough money for you to start investing on newer and top-rated equipment later on.

Below are 5 tips on how to purchase second-hand restaurant equipment.

1. Plan Your Menu

One of the most common mistakes that people do when buying restaurant equipment is wasting money on things that you most likely won’t even need. To help avoid this, before you create your shopping list, ensure that you first plan your menu. This way, you will know exactly what type of equipment you need and what you don’t really need.

2. Make a Budget and Stick to It

When you are looking to buy second-hand materials, it is evident that saving money is the primary goal. Therefore, it is very important to create a budget and ensure that you stick to it.

Try and find a balance between quality and what you can afford. While of course, higher quality equipment is better and will always help you produce better quality food, you don’t want to buy top of the line products while some standard ones will work almost similarly.

Determine which equipment pieces are more important than others and then try to emphasize on those ones first.

3. Measure Your Space

This seems obvious but it is still important. When purchasing second-hand restaurant equipment, make sure that what you intend to buy will fit in the space you have.

Unfortunately, a lot of buyers tend to buy equipment without first measuring their space, only to find that it does not fit properly where they intended it to be placed.

When measuring, make sure that you also take into account your doorways measurements so as to know whether the equipment will be able to enter your building.

4. Look for the ENERGY STAR Label

It’s no secret that when buying second-hand kitchen equipment, you’ll meet up with a lot of sellers who will claim that their equipment is top rated. The easiest way to accurately identify the most reliable and cost-effective products is by looking for the blue ENERGY STAR label.

Equipment or products with these labels have a higher chance of performing well and also provide long-term savings to your restaurant. The ENERGY STAR label can be found somewhere on the equipment label itself or its original packaging.

It signifies that the equipment has passed the standard requirements defined by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and that it is also suitable for use in a commercial kitchen.

While it is not a must that you buy equipment with this label, looking for one that has the label will significantly lower the chances of you buying faulty second-hand restaurant equipment.

5. Test the Product First Before Buying

Purchasing any second-hand equipment always has the risk of it being damaged or not working as expected. This can result in confrontations with the seller who may end up claiming that the equipment was not faulty when he sold it to you.

To avoid such grievances and unnecessary frustrations, ensure that you fully test the second-hand equipment you are thinking of purchasing.

Don’t just run a simple on and off test; make sure to tell the seller to run a full test as if he was using the equipment on a normal working day.