The kitchen stands at the heart of many businesses. If it is a successful kitchen, producing good food efficiently and safely, then the business, be it a restaurant, cafe or hotel, will flourish. If the kitchen fails, then the business will go down with it. Good service and a pleasant dining room experience will not make up for bad food or food that is delivered only after an excessive wait. A great deal of the success, or indeed failure, of any particular kitchen is due to its design, and design is a complicated affair.
Many factors have to be balanced to produce a satisfactory whole. Has the correct equipment been installed at the right location, to ensure a smooth and efficient flow of products? Have potential traffic jam spots been identified and modified in advance? Does the whole operation comply with Health and Safety legislation and will it satisfy the Environmental Health Officer? If it is a restaurant kitchen open to the view of the clientele then does it appeal to the eye? Above all has the kitchen been achieved at a cost that has not upset the financial stability of the business?
It is no surprise then that many businesses faced with the task of creating a new commercial kitchen space turn to the services of a professional commercial kitchen designer as these specialist companies have both the experience and the equipment necessary to balance all the factors outlined above.
Take, for an example, the actual basic design of a commercial kitchen and the making of the plan and blueprints. The do-it-yourself amateur designer will probably have to use a ruler and graph paper and do his or her own scale conversions with the aid of a calculator and pencil. With care an accurate ground plan can be achieved, but a two dimensional representation can only offer so much information.
Hiring a team of professional commercial kitchen designers, is by far the more constructive option. They will have access to the latest software and will be able to construct a ‘virtual’ kitchen, with all the chosen equipment installed, that the customer can ‘walk through’. This experience can be invaluable for spotting those ‘choke points’ which were mentioned earlier, and problems with compliance can be spotted and remedied before they actually take place.
Professionals are aware that the two imperatives of functionality and compliance are constantly at work in any kitchen design, sometimes pulling in opposite directions. It may be convenient to have the washing facilities in one place, for instance, yet lawful to have them in another. Food storage and preparation areas have to be kept separate but must also give easy access one to the other to facilitate the smooth production of the end product. The owner of the business must be concerned with ventilation, lighting, the provision of first aid equipment and literally dozens of other things before he or she lets the chefs go into action. Here the expertise of the professional will be of great use, as they will be able to advise the kitchen owner on the regulations and plans accordingly, achieving the best balance between the two contrasting needs.
The professional design team will also be able to advise a kitchen owner over the matter of equipment purchase. Not only will they know what a commercial kitchen needs, they will know where it can be bought for the best price. This is an important matter in a field where there is much choice and where many expensive mistakes can be made.