EDITOR’S VIEW: Sweat the asset, don’t stifle it

Andrew Seymour grayscale

Kitchen size remains a prominent topic of discussion in the foodservice sector, and when you speak to operators it’s not hard to understand why.

Real estate costs are sky-high and the best way to maximise revenue is to get as many people in through the door as possible.

There is perfect business logic to this but if front-of-house space is being obtained at the expense of the kitchen it can be a dangerous game.

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Experts note that cutting back production footprint too dramatically will ultimately harm the kitchen’s ability to do what it needs to do.

Before you know it, you’ve got a brigade that is on top of each other, an infrastructure that can’t keep up with the pace of service and a lot of very unimpressed customers.

There is nothing wrong with sweating the assets and, indeed, there are endless examples out there of highly effective compact kitchens that comfortably operate for 18 hours a day.

Innovations in equipment, be it through the flexibility of appliances or their increasingly diminutive stature, have eliminated some of the issues that operators initially faced when kitchens began shrinking.

Restaurant owners inevitably want a return on their property investment but by the same token they have to be realistic in their service expectations.

A kitchen needs to contain the right blend of equipment and the right flow because without those two fundamentals it simply won’t be able to cope with the demands placed upon it.

This may sound obvious, but designers insist it gets overlooked far too often.

I’ve heard it said that the most successful kitchens are the ones where the chefs don’t have to take any more than two steps to the left or two steps to the right.

The equipment is certainly available to drive such efficiencies, which after all is what every kitchen is seeking to do.

Just make sure you don’t mistake recklessness for efficiency when resizing your kitchen.

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