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6 of the Best Small Restaurant Kitchen Layout Ideas

The kitchen is the most essential area in a restaurant. How food is prepared in it and how fast it comes out makes or breaks a customer’s dining experience. The layout equally plays a significant role in determining how smoothly the kitchen runs. A creatively designed restaurant kitchen provides the back-of-house team with a functional space from where they can produce consistently high-quality meals.

A well-designed kitchen is both practical and easy to use. It should meet the specific needs of the restaurant to enable the service staff to provide customers with an unforgettable dining experience.

The following are six small restaurant kitchen layout ideas that you might like:

Idea #1: Island Layout

With the island layout, the grills, fryers, ranges, ovens, and other cooking equipment are in one place, usually at the central part of the kitchen. The other sections are arranged in a circular order along the kitchen’s perimeter wall. The sections include food preparation areas, washing stations and storage units.

You can set up the island at any location in the kitchen. This layout encourages better communication and supervision. It allows for ample open floor space, making cleaning easy. The island layout is great for a large, square-shaped kitchen. However, you can modify it for smaller kitchens that feature different shapes.

Idea #2: Zone Layout

Zone layout is a small restaurant kitchen layout idea commonly used. A zone layout allows zoning of the various activities that go on in a commercial kitchen. Each activity is assigned a specific area. Different meals are designated in different separate zones. For example, the kitchen could have a baking station, a frying station, a meat station and a salad and soup station.

The zone-style layout is great for organizing your kitchen. It makes it easy to prepare different meals separately and on-demand. In some cases, each station has a specialized chef as opposed to a line cook, who is responsible for all meals. This layout is perfect for restaurants with lots of staff and a diverse menu, but it can be adjusted for smaller kitchens. It is commonly found in large operations such as events-space kitchens, catering kitchens, and hotel restaurants.

Idea #3: Assembly Line Layout

The assembly line layout features an island or a central row that begins with food preparation and ends with a ready meal. The layout is ideal for a commercial kitchen as it facilitates the production of the same dish repeatedly. To maximize efficiency, have multiple cooks and assign each one a task along the food preparation process.

This is a perfect layout for a restaurant with a limited menu or fast food restaurants such as pizza parlours. You can place the storage/receiving and cleaning/washing stations behind the assembly line. This arrangement makes it possible to process meals quickly along the food preparation line. It’s commonly used in correctional facilities and cafeterias.

The assembly line layout promotes efficiency and leaves adequate open spaces in a commercial kitchen. This allows seamless operations among staff and promotes effective communication. To avoid wasting space, consider linking all kitchen equipment.

Idea #4: Ergonomic Kitchen Layout

In an ergonomic kitchen layout, every section in the kitchen is carefully set up. The key considerations for choosing this design is effectiveness and comfort. An ergonomically designed kitchen is also user-friendly.

The basic principle is to have employees expend the least energy but complete tasks faster. For example, you might want to place an under-counter freezer next to the deep fryer. This way, the cook can retrieve food items and put them inside the fryer with minimal effort. Another option is to have tall preparation tables. This eliminates the need for chefs to bend over to cook. This significantly reduces the chance of physical exertion and injury.

Besides creative lighting and carefully selected appliances, an ergonomic kitchen layout provides an environment where employees enjoy working in a kitchen. The space optimization and strategic positioning make an ergonomically designed kitchen highly efficient. Besides, good lighting means the employees can see what they are doing, promoting precision and efficiency. However, an ergonomic layout has drawbacks: it is not cheap, neither is it energy efficient.

Idea #5: Open Kitchen Layout

In an open kitchen layout, customers can see what takes place behind the scenes. By simply bringing down a wall, any kitchen can be transformed into an open kitchen. To promote guests’ safety, keeping the hot cooking appliances and equipment as far away as possible from the customers is essential. The guests’ seating and service area could be separated by a glass partition to protect food from unexpected coughs or sneezes. The open kitchen layout maximizes a small space and can incorporate a chef’s table seating.

Idea #6: Galley Layout

In a galley layout, equipment and stations are arranged along the kitchen wall. In a tight space, the equipment is placed along two parallel walls. Should your kitchen be large enough to accommodate a ring design, the empty space at the centre allows multiple cooks to work in the kitchen at the same time, making it easy to rotate stations. In a limited space such as a food truck, this is the only practical option.

The ideal kitchen layout should provide enough spaces and strategic positioning of appliances to keep the staff from bumping into each other. A perfect kitchen is not necessarily an expansive one, but a creatively and strategically designed one that has functionality and efficiency in mind.

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