The landscape for restaurant location is now as pick and mix than it has ever been.
With restaurant sites even harder to find thanks to increased competition, many are now forced to be creative with the space that they choose. Meaning that smaller, more difficult layouts with less practicality are a reality rather than a last resort.
But just because your space resembles a glorified shoe box doesn’t mean that the design and productivity of your kitchen should suffer.
With planning and organisation, you can still deliver quality food to your customers and keep the health and safety standards high, whilst ensuring that you avoid costly changes in equipment or construction later on down the line.
Ask the Experts
You may be the expert in the kitchen but this doesn’t necessarily mean you feel confident in executing a kitchen design that will prove effective.
Hiring a designer may be a worthy investment so that you can get the most out of your space. Not only will this provide you with a bespoke kitchen catering to your cooking needs completely, but will also offer you solutions to any cooking or delivery issues you’ve experienced in the past.
Before you contact a designer, write down in detail the method of food storage, preparation and cooking you will need to use in the kitchen.
This will give the designer a clear idea of your needs and requirements.
Consider Design & Function
As a chef your initial instincts would be to choose equipment that functions to your needs, and whilst this is essential, design now plays a pivotal role in the kitchen.
With many kitchens now open plan and in view of the customers dining in the restaurant, considerations have to be taken about how they will see the kitchen and the feelings it will illicit.
At Canopy we’ve recently become one the first to install bespoke coloured canopies in line with a companies branding. This has not only enabled them to brand the entire restaurant and keep the theme going from diner to kitchen, but has made a welcome change to the stark stainless steel that diners can often view.
For health and safety reasons stainless steel will always be the favoured choice for cleanliness, but with advancements in coating, designers and manufacturers will be able to tell you if a more colourful option is available.
Do Your Research
Thanks to the advancements in technology catering equipment has come a long way in the past decade.
Multifunctional products are now available that are able to roast, poach, bake, toast, braise and pan fry all from the same machine, saving on space and time.
As well all know a small size kitchen can mean less staff and less space for the usual cooking luxuries found in a Michelin starred restaurant, so these combination products allow for fewer staff and are more compact for the size available.
Ventilation requirements can also be limiting in smaller spaces, and even more so if you have no access to vent outside. Here at Canopy we recently invented a new air movement system that would solve this common issue for restauranteurs.
The ductless extraction unit can be fitted with no requirement for outside access, removing grease and neutralising the kitchen odours.
For those working in heritage properties who are unable to construct ventilation, or those working within modern units with no outside access, this has been a revolutionary step in commercial catering.
Whilst you may initially worry that your small kitchen will not be able to provide you with the equipment and space you need, from our experience in the catering industry, size is never a problem. Take the opportunity to visit peers who have the same problems as yourself and gain some inspiration. You never know what solution you’ll find.