The kitchen is command central of any restaurant, the place where food gets ordered, prepped, cooked, and plated before being served to customers. Whether it's spacious or tiny, if a restaurant kitchen is carefully designed, its staff can consistently deliver hundreds of meals in an evening. Read on to learn all the basics of designing, stocking and maintaining a smooth-running restaurant kitchen.
Planning Your Kitchen
Restaurant kitchens are made up of various stations, each dedicated to a particular task. There may be a prep station, a sauté station, a pizza station, and a salad station.
Consider your restaurant menu when planning your kitchen. Do you have a variety of salads? A salad station is needed. A lot of grilled food? Plan on a large grill and give it its own station.
Space is an important consideration. It takes some smart organization to deliver a large menu from a tiny kitchen, but it can be done.
Stocking the Kitchen
Once you have planned your restaurant kitchen, you need to outfit it with the right commercial equipment. If you're on a tight budget, look for used equipment. You can pick up the large equipment and even restaurant dishes, serving utensils, and other small items for pennies on the dollar. You might also consider the leasing restaurant equipment, such as ice makers.
Before you open for business, make a plan for keeping the kitchen clean. You'll need daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly kitchen cleaning lists that outline everything from wiping down prep stations to cleaning grease traps.
Once you're open, keep a checklist handy so that those daily jobs get done.
Staffing the Kitchen
The most important part of any restaurant kitchen is the staff that works in it. While many jobs in a restaurant kitchen are entry-level positions, such as dishwasher or prep cook, others require years of experience. When hiring restaurant cooks, chefs, and managers, look for experienced people who can work as part of a team.
Badly run restaurants suffer a lot of turnover, so you should do everything you can to make your restaurant staff feel appreciated. Model the behavior you want to see. Offer bonuses for stellar customer service. Show your staff that you care.
The kitchen of any restaurant is where the magic happens. Keeping it stocked, cleaned, and well-staffed will help keep your restaurant running smoothly.