A hotel’s kitchen is regarded as its heart and soul. The efficiency and success of a kitchen are influenced by its design. Even minor kitchen design and layout flaws can negatively affect overall utility and functionality, staff efficiency, hygiene, safety, and a hotel’s return on investment. This results in higher costs and the waste of essential resources. When developing a commercial kitchen layout, factors such as space planning, personnel mobility, health and safety regulations, equipment placement, ergonomics, energy efficiency, LEED ideas, and flexibility are taken into account. A state-of-the-art kitchen can be designed after studying its range of operations.
However, during the design process, there are some inevitable errors and omissions that are bound to happen. Industry experts and leaders share their insights and learnings on the most common mistakes made while building a hotel or restaurant kitchen to make kitchen operations immaculate.
Space planning and utilization
Effective space planning and utilization are critical considerations when creating a layout for a business organization. Frequently, the promoters overlook the need to have appropriate storage, a prep room, and adequate equipment for the cooks. Recommending that kitchens have access to exterior service space for gas banks, exhaust machines, and water resources. In addition, the layout should make it easy for employees and vendors to go about.
Ease of movement
Planning a kitchen entails more than just design and layout; it also entails establishing the proper flow or the movement of goods and people inside an operation. Employees in an ergonomically built commercial kitchen can stand in one position and complete all tasks with minimal bending, reaching, walking, or turning. According to Singh, a hotel kitchen’s architecture should allow minimal movement, particularly when dispensing orders. Chefs must have ready access to all necessary supplies and equipment. When it comes to appliance placement in the kitchen.
Safety and health concerns
Gas leak detection systems, firefighting systems, and accessible evacuation pathways are sometimes overlooked. In this situation, a fictitious financial saving could lead to worse financial calamities if safety is neglected. The design layout should introduce sufficient fire safety measures such as self-cleaning exhaust hoods, Ansul integration with gas valves, and electrical breakers and gas detectors. Wherever water contact is likely, gas pipes should be made of SS304/316-grade stainless steel.
The materials utilized for work surfaces, storage shelves, and all other elements in a commercial kitchen should be smooth, continuous, food-safe, easily clean, and disinfectable. Glossy marble or even porcelain floor tiles may appear lovely, but they are accidents waiting to happen. They’re also challenging to clean and susceptible to heat damage. In hotels, improper materials have proven to be a major fire hazard.
Many architects make mistakes when creating a display kitchen or a live kitchen, which is popular these days. The show kitchen should only demonstrate the range, ingredients, and the chef’s cooking style; the rest should be kept from customers.
Small wash stations
The importance of wash stations in the food sanitation process cannot be overstated. Spilt water and moisture content cause a lot of breakages in such parts, making them unsanitary. On the other hand, many designers may place too much emphasis on the cooking and serving areas while overlooking the wash station.
Electrical wiring is hidden beneath the flooring in commercial kitchens, and electrical connections are hidden beneath the equipment. Cleaning and arranging electrical connections might lead to equipment damage, which is a major difficulty. The solution is to install artificial ceilings and conceal the wiring beneath them. All electrical fittings and fixtures must be of water-resistant industrial quality to extend the life of any equipment and promote safe working practices. Employees should have access to electrical, HVAC, and miscellaneous services to use them without disrupting operations.
Selection and placement of kitchen equipment
Appropriate commercial equipment assists in achieving the required degree of performance, efficiency, and ease for the desired output. Designers should choose multi-tasking equipment, such as combination ovens that can bake, steam, and roast, are stackable, and preferably self-cleaning. Their placement and selection are crucial in increasing the efficiency of a kitchen design. Architects should consider the number of dishes, glasses, silverware, and trays that the cooks will use to serve visitors when finalizing the design. We should also emphasize the importance of including detailed measurements of food preparation, display, refrigeration, and storage equipment.
Improper refrigeration space and cold storage
Inadequate refrigerator space is an impediment to a commercial kitchen’s smooth operation. When you have a shortage of refrigerated storage capacity, you have insufficient food storage space, resulting in food waste. If you have too much storage, you’ll have half-filled refrigerators, which will result in higher electricity bills and are dead assets.
Improper drainage and ventilation
When building a kitchen, it’s crucial to think about air ventilation and a good drainage system. If there isn’t enough ventilation, the indoor air quality — smells and air circulation — will suffer. Inadequate ventilation can be a safety threat for workers and allow smoke and foul odours to drift into the dining area. The appropriate estimation of exhaust capabilities and relatively fresh air system requirements is a considerable difficulty if not designed well. We save a lot of money on the power bill if the exhaust system is calculated accurately.
Improper garbage disposal
A lack of space for trash and recycling, located distant from the cooking and serving areas, can be a major design flaw. Garbage disposal facilities must be situated adjacent to cooking areas. The garbage disposal effectively aids in hygienic maintenance and eliminates any nasty odours. Segregation, proper storage, and proper disposal of rubbish will also significantly reduce the amount of unnecessary movement required to transport it.
Clearly, a lack of hotel kitchen maintenance can increase expenditures. Electrical distribution boards, AHUs, fresh air units, and exhaust units are not easily accessible, making maintenance and cleaning extremely difficult. We recommend that hotel kitchens employ commercial-grade plumbing and electrical fittings and fixtures to avoid frequent malfunctions. Industrial-grade flooring prevents any maintenance concerns caused by floor breakages. Given the volatility of the food and beverage industry, future-ready commercial kitchens must be able to adapt to design changes. Flexible kitchens must be designed with care.