How to Organize a Restaurant Kitchen

/ Commercial Kitchens, Foodservice Tips, Restaurant Tips / July 3

Commercial Kitchen Organization

Whether you own a large, buzzing restaurant or a small corner pub, the commercial kitchen is the heart of your entire establishment. It also is one of your biggest investments that requires routine cleaning and equipment maintenance throughout the week. One way to maximize your space is by organizing it in a logical and an efficient way.

But where do you start? Fortunately, we’ve come up with some basic commercial kitchen organization ideas to help you out.

Keep Small Gadgets in Reach

Hang all of your most-used gadgets throughout different stations in your kitchen. This will keep your cooks from having rummage through cabinets or shelves to find small items. Some of the utensils or cookware you should consider hanging are:


  • Spatulas

  • Tongs

  • Spoons

  • Whisks

  • Ladles

  • Strainers

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Small pots and pans

This also is relevant when organizing your bar. Think of the space as a mini kitchen in your establishment. Everything from cocktail napkins and straws to corkscrews and rimmers should be within reach on a shelf underneath the counter. This not only creates a smoother operation when preparing drinks, but it also helps get beverages quickly to the customer.

Use Shelves and Racks

Instead of using closed cabinets and pantries, go with shelving units and racks that are out in the open space. Whether you choose wall-mounted options or standalone designs, both allow you to keep all your essentials easily accessible. When determining what goes where, consider dedicating storage by specific groups of items.

For instance, have an entire shelf just for spices and dry ingredients. Make sure each container is clearly labeled to prevent any mix ups during cooking or food prep. The same setup can be done for other items like bread, canned goods, oils and condiments and non-refrigerated produce. You also could have a whole shelving unit or rack to arrange your cookware by type, height and frequent usage.

Commercial Kitchen Prep Station

Create Designated Stations

Think about organizing your commercial kitchen into different stations to create a more streamlined process from start to finish. While there are many ways to lay out a kitchen, you should try incorporating these four core stations:


  1. The Prep and Baking Station – This where you would do everything from mixing and cutting to rolling and kneading. That means there should be an ample amount of counter space, work tables, sinks and easy storage for essentials. Have your cutlery stored in blocks, docks or magnetic strips, and keep your cutting boards, bowls, spices and dry ingredients on open shelving units.

  2. The Hot Station – This zone should house all your cooking equipment, such as fryers, grills, ranges and warmers. Keeping these units in a separate space not only simplifies the cooking process, but it also prevents grease and heat from wearing out your dishwashers and refrigeration units.

  3. The Cold Station – The area should house your freezer and refrigerators, whether they’re walk-in or reach-in models. Make sure to keep this zone at modest distance from your hot-side equipment. If they’re too close, the heat could cause your refrigeration units to run at an improper temperature. Also, it increases the chances of large grease buildups from damaging the condenser coils.

  4. The Cleaning Station – This spot should be designated for cleaning dishes, pots, pans and utensils. Naturally, the space should have multiple sinks and dishwashers as well as shelving units to hold everything from scrubbing pads and brushes to soaps and detergents.

Other small stations can be added to your kitchen, depending on its size. Consider designated areas for desserts, salads and plating for an even smoother and more efficient operation. You also can split your prep and baking station into two zones if you have a larger space.

Organize Your Refrigeration Units

When it comes to commercial kitchen organization, storing items in the refrigeration units is perhaps the most crucial tip. The way you lay out items not only improves the efficiency of your units, but it also helps the freshness and lifespan of all your ingredients and beverages. For example, spacing bulk items about 4 to 6 inches apart, you can improve circulation and help eliminate hot spots inside your refrigeration units.

Where certain items are stored is important as well. For instance, meat should be placed on lower shelves so any potential spill hit the floor instead of contaminating it. Also, produce should be stored away from any fans to maintain freshness and prevent over-chilling or freezer burn.


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