Everything You Need to Know About Restaurant Kitchens

Planning, Equipping and Cleaning Restaurant Kitchens

How to Manage a Restaurant Kitchen

Andresr/E+/Getty Images

The kitchen is command central of any restaurant. It is where food gets delivered, prepped, cooked and plated before being served to customers. Kitchens can be large and spacious of teeny tiny. No matter the size, if a restaurant kitchen is carefully designed, the cook staff can consistently produce 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 Restaurant Kitchen

Restaurant kitchens are made up of various stations. There are prep stations, sauté stations, pizza stations, salad stations. Depending on the size and style of your restaurant, you may have a few stations, or you may have several. Consider your restaurant menu when planning your kitchen. Do you have a lot of salads? Then a salad station will be ideal. A lot of grilled food? Then a larger grill will help get food out of the kitchen faster. Space is another important consideration. If your restaurant kitchen is going to be housed in a small space, that is going to limit your plans, as well.

That isn't to say you can't have a large menu with a tiny kitchen. It just means that you will have to be extra organized and utilize your space to capacity. 

Stocking Your Restaurant Kitchen

Once you have planned your restaurant kitchen, next, you need to outfit it with all the right commercial equipment. Restaurant kitchens are a good place to stock up on used equipment. You can often pick up restaurant dishes, serving utensils and other small items for pennies on the dollar. Larger pieces of equipment, such as commercial ovens or grills, can also be bought be used with plenty of life left in them. You should also consider the benefits of leasing restaurant equipment, such as ice makers, which have a pretty short lifespan.

Read reviews of restaurants stoves and other restaurant equipment.

Once you are open for business, your restaurant kitchen will always be busy (well, that's the plan anyway!) so it is important to have a plan for keeping it in clean, smooth running order. Create a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly kitchen cleaning list that outlines everything that needs to be taken care of, from wiping down prep stations to cleaning grease traps. Keep a checklist handy so that daily jobs get done and employees don't try to put them off for the next shift. Regular cleaning of a restaurant kitchen can also help cut down on food spoilage and waste, saving you money.

Staff Your Restaurant Kitchen

The most important part of any restaurant kitchen are the people who work in it. Finding the right person for the right kitchen job is essential for a smooth running restaurant. While many jobs in a restaurant kitchen are perfect entry-level positions, such as dishwasher or prep cook, others require years of experience. Be selective when hiring restaurant cooks, chefs, and managers. Look for people who not only know how to cook but can also work as part of a team.

There is a lot of turnover in the restaurant business, so it is doubly important that you, as the restaurant owner, do everything you can to make your restaurant staff feel appreciated and valued, from modeling the behavior you want to see to offering bonuses for stellar customer service. Encouraging your staff, both in and out of the kitchen goes beyond just money. In fact, there are a lot of ways (10 to be exact) to show your staff you care. And remember, happy staff means happy customers. 

As they say on MTV Cribs "This is where the magic happens" (Except the celebrity on the show is always referring to their bedroom, but whatever). The kitchen of any restaurant ​is where the magic happens. Having it organized from opening day, and keeping stocked, cleaned and well staffed will help keep your restaurant running smoothly. ​