If you want to run a restaurant or café, then you will need a commercial kitchen. At first this may seem like a daunting task but with a little forethought and planning you can create a kitchen which lets you run your business smoothly and efficiently.

The rule of five

We’ve asked an expert, Claire Davies Kitchens, for an advice and here are the main principles to follow:

  1. Food prep area. This needs to be large enough to keep different types of food away from each other. This stops any cross contamination between raw meats and vegetables.
  2. Storage. You need to be able to store all your foods at the right temperatures to keep them as fresh as possible.
  3. Cooking area. This is the area where it all comes together so this space should be big enough to hold plates and dishes while you assemble your meals.
  4. Service area. Wait staff need to be able to reach and carry dishes to customers without entering the cooking area so plan on having a window where food can be placed ready to carry to tables.
  5. Washing and cleaning areas. All crockery and cutlery need to be washed before using again. There should be placed to drain dishes after you have washed them and stack them when they are ready to be put away.

In an ideal world the commercial kitchen will be big enough so that staff can move around without bumping in to each other. The most used areas should have easy access.

There are three styles of kitchen and which one you choose depends on your own preferences as well as the amount of staff and space you have. The kind of food you serve will also dictate the type of kitchen you choose.

Further inspiration: top 10 design features to borrow from restaurant kitchens.

Assembly line

If you are in the business of assembling and serving foods like pizza and sandwiches, then this style may suit you. The kitchen should be laid out in a line so that several staff can work at once.

You may like to start off with a cooler area where ingredients are stored, then move on to an area where the item is prepared, onto where it is packaged, and finally on to where the customer pays for it.

Zone style

This style of kitchen id normally divided into different areas where different foods are prepared at the same time. You may have an area where only starters are prepared, an area for main courses, and area for side dishes, and finally an area for desserts. In this situation each area should have their own refrigeration and washing spaces.

Island style

Many regular kitchens also have islands in them. They are normally placed in the centre of the kitchen and one part of food preparation is carried out there. This may be a place to do the cooking, while the other areas are used for food preparation, storage and serving.

To sum up

The best way to start designing your small commercial kitchen is with a sheet of graph paper. Draw to scale the dimensions of the space you have available, and then fill in the specific areas you want. Keep in mind that you need your kitchen to be well ventilated because this area gets very hot when in use. Keeping your staff comfortable while they work will mean less stopping time to cool off.

With a little planning and forethought, you will soon have a perfect small commercial kitchen, designed exactly as you need to prepare and serve your type of meals.