Kitchen design

Kitchen planning, designing or layout is a complex business, full of government and hygiene regulations that ensures the safety of staff and customers and the blessing of the environmental health officer, who can close premises if they feel there is a risk to customers and/or staff. Besides regulation – the other major factor that should influence your design is ergonomics – making the kitchen as pleasant and efficient a place to work in as possible. Your choice of kitchen equipment will naturally be based on a budget. But no matter how much or how little, the fundamental point that makes it worth talking to Court Catering Equipment is that we will improve your choices. THINGS TO AVOID? If you want to plan your own kitchen, here is some practical advice. ‘Without doubt, many kitchens are over-specified with equipment’ There really are some cases where less is more; don’t be tempted to cram every type of kit into the kitchen. An innovative equipment choice and/or a change in kitchen practices may deliver the same or better results than currently, but with less equipment! Unrealistic budgets Being ‘realistic’ doesn’t necessarily mean spending more. Optimise your capital to buy the best quality key items – prime cooking, dishwashing and refrigeration. ‘Allow flexibility for change’ Many caterers forget they are growing a business so try and leave room for possible additions or replacements in the kitchen later. Building in flexibility will save money down the road. A partial refurbishment, for example, could see your 950mm-wide range cleaned up, restored and reinstalled into a 1050mm gap for another useful two years after which it will need replacing. When the time comes for the new one, it simply slots in with no fuss. ‘You’ll be amazed how many leave it to the last minute’ Think ahead, talk to us and get some advice before you start planning. Isolating your staff Where possible involve the staff in your plans. They can come up with great ideas and experiences and people buy into change better when they have a contribution to make. Designing a kitchen around the chef Two years later they leave and the person that follows hates the layout, or the equipment. Good kitchen design is…good for all. Inaccurate drawings Information drawn from local authority sources regarding your premises can be inaccurate as the detail itself can be very old or changes to walls and doorways, for example, may not have been notified. It’s always best to take the physical dimensions yourself and we will always take our own measurements. DRAWING UP PLANS From first draft to the final layout, kitchen plans invariably evolve through several stages as the equipment choice, budget and layout is agreed. Key point is make sure every stage in the process of cooking and serving food is taken into account – from deliveries and what to do with the cardboard boxes and polystyrene, to dealing with kitchen waste. Take a careful look at the site, facilities and services to see how these impact the design; and/or require relocation or building works. Key elements are traffic flows and the siting of equipment. In and out flows are most important. Your staff should be able to move into and around and out of the kitchen without bumping into each other. Take into account the architectural merits of the kitchen, especially if you want the public to see it. Don’t be shy about contacting Court Catering Equipment for advice or guidance. We can quickly produce a feasibility study and a draft budget for you to work with. Ventilation: Regulations have tightened up, especially in relation to gas equipment and the best advice is take some advice. New ventilation systems, for example, require ‘evaluation’ before installation and we offer experienced and competent advice, which is independent of any ventilation contractor. Can you get daily food deliveries? Do you need to plan for such a large coldroom or number of fridges? A quick ‘green’ fix is to get your suppliers to pay for the storage and deliver what you want, when you need it. Many caterers can get daily drops and outside of the major cities, you may be surprised at how frequently your supplier will deliver. DESIGN CHECKLIST Here is a quick checklist of points. 1. Number of covers – what’s the maximum number you will need to serve at one time? 2. Food style – understanding the type of cuisine and how this will evolve over time underpins the choice of equipment 3. What are you expecting from your new kitchen? 4. What is the standard you seeking to achieve? 5. What equipment must you have? 6. And what equipment do you wish for? 7. What is the budget – ‘nobody ever tells us what they want to spend’. Ask us for a provisional budget or estimate so both parties understand the scale of the project. 8. Cut your cloth…How long do you want the kitchen to last and do you want a kitchen to suit? Kitchens can be designed to last 25 years using the highest quality equipment. But are you moving on in three years, or staying put and building the business over the next 10? 9. What are your future plans for developing the business? 10. What is the state of your extraction? OPTIONAL QUESTIONS 1. Which of my current equipment is worth keeping and will you refurbish it for me?

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