The ability to create and build a perfect commercial kitchen will always come down to what application it is needed for. A busy city centre hotel kitchen, for instance, will require a different choice of equipment, lay-out and flow of service to an independent café. In the third part of this special report, FEJ examines the factors that hotel operators need to be aware of to maximise their back-of-house investment.
Hotel kitchens arguably take more punishment than their equivalents in most other sectors. The 24-hour nature of such establishments means they are usually in operation through breakfast, lunch and dinner, and have to deal with everything from room service to banquets for hundreds of guests.
While larger hotels will often have more than one kitchen and production area to accommodate this, the fact remains that no hotel can risk cutting corners when it comes to equipping their F&B operations.
Cambridge-based Intracat recently delivered no fewer than four kitchens, including two support kitchens, for the Hilton Bournemouth hotel. In the main restaurant, Hilton wanted to create a destination dining experience that would appeal to both hotel and non-hotel guests.
Operating as a standard hotel banquet during breakfast hours, it would then transform into a theatrical, open display kitchen for lunch and dinner service, allowing diners to see the chefs in action.
The focal point of the kitchen, a large, rustic pizza oven, took up a significant portion of the available working space, and this had to be taken into consideration during the planning and design phase.
Intracat, working alongside consultants Humble Arnold, provided no fewer than 24 Ambach prime cooking products for the installation, underscoring the hotel’s desire for high performance kit and long-term return on investment.
Hotels, like all establishments, face space challenges and one of the reasons that the brand’s Chef 850 products were selected was that they could be deployed within a slightly smaller footprint than Ambach’s top System 900 line.
Intracat project manager, Lee Williams, says space optimisation was absolutely vital for the Hilton. “We had to be quite careful to ensure the chefs weren’t working up against each other and that where we could we were maximising the space we did have. The products we chose from the Chef 850 line proved effective at providing the robust, industrial capacity equipment we needed whilst working within the limited space.”
One of the Hilton’s new kitchens is particularly noteworthy for being an open, theatre-style kitchen — mirroring a trend that is becoming increasingly evident within the hotel sector.
“The most pleasing aspect of the whole project is the way the open kitchen looks, with its bright, shiny stainless steel and all the chefs working in front of the customers. Once we were finished, it really did look very good,” comments Williams.
1. Hotel kitchens tend to be large by nature, so the deployment of energy efficient equipment, such as demand-based ventilation and the latest green fridges, can equate to major profit gains for a hotel.
2. Refrigeration and coldrooms are integral to hotel kitchen design. Operators should consider the room they need for perishables, fresh ingredients and partly-prepared food before anything else.
3. In a busy 24-hour kitchen, achieving the right flow is absolutely essential. The positioning of worktops, sinks and storage points will influence chef movement during service, so minimising steps is key.
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