Essentials of commercial kitchen design

A commercial kitchen can only run efficiently and profitably if the kitchen systems design is highly professional. This is particularly important in high-volume catering where thousands of meals are cooked and served at a time.


Essentials of commercial kitchen design │ BOSASA IFM

Here are seven essentials of commercial kitchen design for optimum productivity:

1. Legal

The kitchen must comply with all sanitation and food safety regulations. Install all equipment according to legal requirements and the manufacturers’ instructions

2.  Adaptable

The design must be flexible to accommodate changes as needs evolve. Movable equipment and multipurpose work areas are ideal.

3.  Divided

There must be different sections for different tasks and functions:

  • Storage, which should be near the receiving area. The cold storage area has fridges and freezers. The dry food storage has shelving and the non-food storage area has dedicated shelving space for various items including clean dishes.
  • Food preparation, with different sections for processing raw food, washing produce, chopping vegetables, etc. Each section has its own sink and handwashing area.
  • Cooking, where the hot food is prepared in ovens, grillers, cooking ranges, fryers, etc. Separate sections for baking, cooking, grilling, frying.
  • Serving, where waitrons pick up the plates to take to diners, or where the food is displayed and kept warm in a buffet.
  • Washing, with dishwashers, sinks and drying areas.
  • Waste, where refuse is disposed of.

4.  Logical

The kitchen must have a circular flow so that meal components progress logically from one station to the next with no back-and-forth. Starting from storage, meal ingredients should move to adjacent and food preparation sections, then the cooking section and the serving area, which should be at the front of the kitchen. Completed meals exit the kitchen on one side and soiled dishes enter on the opposite side, with the washing and waste areas furthest away from food preparation. Common layouts to accomplish this are assembly-line, island and zone designs.

5.  Simple

There should be no clutter. As the saying goes, a place for everything and everything in its place. An ergonomic design maximises the efficiency and ease of completing tasks.

6.  Easy to clean

Hygiene is paramount in any kitchen. Use durable and easy-to-clean surfaces such as stainless steel and granite. Wire shelving and porcelain tiles for floors and walls are a good option. Casters allow items to be moved easily for cleaning, and hanging wall mountings allow cleaning below them.


7.  Easy to supervise

An open-plan design lets the executive chef oversee the entire kitchen at a glance. In correctional facilities, open-plan kitchens are essential for security.

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