The joy of taking pencil to paper to begin designing your restaurant is a task that offers multiple levels of enjoyment. A fireplace here, a pizza oven there, a prepared food case in the corner. Although the enthusiasm hits height seldom reached in other aspects of the business, one of the major areas that is often over looked by new restaurant owners is the kitchen. Unless you know your way around a line of burners, ovens and plate rails, kitchen design may seem totally foreign to the front of the houseFrequently, new owners will design a kitchen that is basically cookie cutter in it functionality, never taking a menu or style into consideration. Although this was a relatively common function a decade or two ago when the market was not bulging with newly designed equipment that offer a broad range of choices. But today, kitchen equipment has been transformed into artwork designed with space and function in mind. Because of this, the used restaurant equipment market has become flooded with stoves, refrigerators, coolers, and ranges that now make it possible to design and create a kitchen for far less money than it once did.
Still, there are costs that seem hidden at first. Stainless steel tables, hoods and vents, and counter tops can cost a fortune if they require custom designs.
Whenever I was designing a restaurant with my partner, Kranston, the kitchen week was always one f the most enjoyable. The kitchen week began with a large roll of butcher paper and a few black, blue and red markers. We would lay the kitchen out with stoves, ovens, counters and tables outlined on the paper and then placed in the proper positions on the floor. After getting a feel for the kitchen we would then walk the flow of the food and staff and dirty dishes to find out if what we had designed would work on a busy night. And, then, we had to see if it worked on a slow night. Was everything accessible and in reach for a two man line? Could a five man or six person line fit into place on a busy weekend night? Steps? How many steps needed to be taken from point a to point d? Could he chef handle the salads and desserts? How about the dishwasher? Could he work the dish station and chop vegetables concurrently?
All these are questions you need to answer before the cement is poured and the stove is purchased. So before the final touches are put on the front of the house, get a roll of butcher paper and play restaurant. It will pay off in the long run. And, if you design it right, the run from point a to point d won’t seem so fa