Posted by Patrick Maness
How does your kitchen stack up? Solutions for any tiny kitchen
In the back of the house we all have visions of what our kitchen area should be. We see the long, glorious line with five, six or even seven cooks working diligently to satisfy orders. Everyone has their own work station and the space they need to create a quality product, and it all goes like clockwork.
And then we see the space we actually have. In reality there is no long, glorious line and their certainly isn’t room for seven cooks. In fact, with all the equipment you’ve been adding lately, it’s a wonder you can even get a team of four back there.
The good news, however, is that you're not alone in feeling the back of your house is cramped. Foodservice businesses everywhere are dedicating more space to the front of the house and less space to the kitchen. Even the most experienced chefs realize the front of the house is where the revenue comes from, and if the same output and quality can be delivered from a smaller kitchen then the business as a whole will benefit from the addition of even two or three more tables.
So what can you do to make sure you are getting the most out of your smaller kitchen? Here are few suggestions.
Invest in multifaceted kitchen equipment whenever possible
These days, the most valuable piece of kitchen equipment is the piece that can be tasked with several duties. This is especially true in small kitchens. Combi ovens, for example, are a sound choice. Whether you need it to steam, cook or simply hold product, the combi oven does it all while taking up less space than a conventional oven. The braising pan is another fast riser in this category. Kitchen teams use braising pans to simmer, fry, grill, braise or sauté, eliminating the need for individual pieces of equipment for these tasks.
Build higher, not longer
To meet space constraints in today’s kitchens, restaurateurs are building up when they can’t build out. Stacking equipment and storage options keeps counter space free for work. Start the stack by positioning the most-used items where they are easiest to access and then build up from there. It’s best not to stack more than two items high in order to prevent tipping, and always be mindful to avoid energy-inefficient stacking options, such as placing microwaves on coolers. You can further capitalize on this trend by searching for new equipment options that feature a taller, narrower profile. The modern market is growing flush with them because of space constraints.
Rethink your menu
Is your kitchen too small or is your menu too big? Many restaurateurs are finding that when space is tight, they can free up extra room by adjusting their menu. Look for select products or equipment that is used only for the creation of one or two menu items. Unless these items are overwhelmingly popular, perhaps they can be cut. Doing so would free up that space in your kitchen and maybe even save you some money on your next product order.
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