How to Organize a Restaurant Kitchen
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. We’ve come up with some basic commercial kitchen organization ideas to help you out.
Steps to Organize Your Commercial Kitchen
Organizing your space means creating a smoother flow and a safer work space for you and your staff. Here are five steps you can take to get things moving seamlessly:
1. Create Designated Stations
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 a 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.
- 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.
2. 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 to rummage through cabinets or shelves to find small items. Some of the utensils or cookware you should consider hanging are:
- 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.
3. Use Shelves & 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.
4. Organize Your Commercial Refrigeration Units: The “First In, First Out” Method
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.
It’s beneficial to incorporate the FIFO method which stands for First In, First Out. Organizing your commercial refrigerator this way will ensure you use the freshest ingredients, avoid contamination and prevent illness in your customers. To use this method, place newer items at the front of the refrigerator. Grab ingredients from the back of the fridge first as these are the ingredients closer to the expiration date.
Where certain items are stored is important as well. For instance, meat should be placed on lower shelves so any potential spill hits the floor instead of contaminating other products.
Extra Restaurant Commercial Kitchen Organization Tips
Some simple tips to follow when organizing your restaurant kitchen include:
- Grouping items together
- Store things like utensils where they are being used
- Put your most used items in plain view
- Declutter the kitchen every year