5 Ways To Optimize A Commercial Kitchen
No matter the space you have for your commercial kitchen, the chefs will always feel like it’s too crowded or too small. Especially during the peak of operations or serving hours, there just seems to be so much that has to be done that the commercial kitchen will feel tight, messy, and difficult to navigate.
Top kitchen managers and chefs unanimously agree on one thing, however: the secret is in the manner of organizing and arranging your kitchen, while having the best tools, appliances and equipment all positioned in the right place.
With that, if you’ve long struggled with the operations of your commercial kitchen, you can now start improving such. These tips can help you optimize your commercial kitchen to achieve the end goal of improving the efficiency and productivity of your kitchen operations:
- Employ Effective Storage Solutions
The bigger your commercial kitchen’s operations are, the more equipment, tools & supplies, and food inventory and ingredients you’ll have to store. This creates the need to have effective storage solutions to ensure freshness and avoiding spoilage of food, all while maintaining a smooth flow of tools and ingredients from one work station to another. For instance, if you have a smaller space, an under bench fridge has many commercial usages of which you can take advantage. It’s usually used for chilled or frozen ingredients, along with dishes ready or serving.
- Follow Regular Maintenance Schedule
Even when you think you don’t need it yet, it’s always best to follow the regular maintenance schedule of your kitchen equipment. When your equipment isn’t running as desired, then it can affect your kitchen operations, especially during the busy hours. You may notice that your kitchen can no longer cook as fast as it may have used to and customer complaints due to delays in orders are becoming more frequent.
Following and observing the regular maintenance schedule of your equipment keeps them in good working condition. Should there be a problem brewing with one of those pieces of equipment, such problems can be solved in a timely manner before they escalate into bigger concerns. The last thing you’d want is for your operations to be stalled as kitchen equipment is destroyed, hence, requiring costly repairs or replacements.
- Establish Well-Defined Zones In Your Kitchen
Establishing well-defined zones in your kitchen can spell the difference between having staff that’s running into each other and being all over the place and kitchen staff that’s organized while operating on a system.
Like in a manufacturing production line, it’s important to establish well-defined zones in your kitchen. Have designated areas for specific kitchen functions, like slicing, meal prepping, cooking, garnishing and plating, serving, and washing, among others.
With those zones, you’ll also know where to place the corresponding kitchen tools and equipment. This prevents confusion and chaos; for one, the staff no longer need to rattle and go to the other end of the kitchen just to get what they need.
- Invest In Employee Training
Even if your team has strong credentials to back them up, this doesn’t mean that they can’t use a bit more training. Having and using the best kitchen tools and equipment will only prove to be futile if your team doesn’t even know how to use them effectively. After all, kitchen equipment can’t run by themselves.
Investing in employee training may be quite expensive, but you can think of it as one that promises a strong return on investment. Beyond improving the skills of your kitchen staff, providing free training to them also shows you care about their career improvement. This may increase their feeling of happiness and contentment in your workplace, which, in turn, may help them to become more productive key players in your kitchen team.
- Have An Eye For Hygienic Practices
A big part of optimizing kitchen operations also includes having hygienic practices. It’s not enough to operate fast and meet serving deadlines when it’s at the expense of good hygiene.
As you reboot your kitchen, observe the hygiene practices, too. Look out for problem areas that you could work on.
For example, are your bins consistently overflowing? Then, perhaps, the kitchen staff responsible for trash disposal need to check it more frequently. Are the cleaning rags actually clean? Or, are they hanging around the whole day, dirtier than they should be, and becoming a good ground for contamination? A solution would be to have a cleaning rag for every work zone, and a designated schedule within the day for when those cleaning rags should be replaced.
Without a doubt, an optimized kitchen can ultimately spell the difference between a kitchen that’s efficient and productive and one that just works. You don’t have to settle for the latter when you know how to keep the operations of your kitchen optimized. There’s a lot to learn, and, perhaps, a big change to make. But, once you start manning an optimized commercial kitchen, you’ll notice what a big difference it can make.
Two kitchens will never be alike, so the best place to start is to look at your kitchen, observe what’s wrong, and see which areas you can apply some, if not all, of the strategies above.