Creams conquers first dark kitchen despite squeeze on space

Creams dark kitchen

Expansive dessert chain Creams says a mixture of clever design and careful equipment choices has allowed it to launch its first delivery kitchen without compromising on performance.

Designing and equipping a dark kitchen can be a vastly different concept to planning a standard back-of-house kitchen.

Nisar Hussain, operations director at AA Food Concepts – the franchisee of the site – enlisted the help of General Catering to create a set-up that could work exclusively for delivery.

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“In comparison to a typical Creams restaurant, space is at even more of a premium in our Doncaster kitchen and we ended up having to fit the same amount equipment in half the space, which was no easy task,” he explained. “As such, we needed to be really organised to work efficiently and to maximise our productivity.”

With space at a premium, and an even greater importance on workflow and processes, one of the key pieces of equipment at the dark kitchen site is a Metro SmartLever Productivity System from Jestic Foodservice Solutions.

SmartLever’s cantilevered design provides unobstructed access to shelves which can mean 30% to 50% more storage capacity versus traditional four post shelving.

In doing so, SmartLever allows operators such as Creams to configure workstations for maximum productivity.

Mr Hussain said: “The SmartLever system is a simple and effective storage and workstation solution consisting of a back grid, a work surface, shelves plus baskets, and a variety of storage and organisational accessories which can be put where you need to suit the height of each staff member and whatever the preparation task. The flexibility it brings is just amazing.”

Thanks to the SmartLever system, Creams has been able to better define the areas for each menu product type – it now has a section for beverages, one for waffles and the crepes, and another for the cookie dough.

“With the ability to store products and packaging at different heights to suit individual stations it has made it really easy for us to prepare orders even during the busiest periods. SmartLever is an absolutely fantastic way of maximising the space in our kitchen, as we can easily move the shelves and baskets to respond to the needs of our business when new menu items come on board.”

Having a single integrated system for workstations and storage was also a big plus for the chain.

“I’ve had other fast food businesses with different storage equipment from different suppliers and it was always like Lego in as much as we were trying to make different bits fit together. However, with the Metro SmartLever system we’ve got all the pieces from one place and it helps us to bring order to the chaos,” said Mr Hussain.

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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