Transparency and information are two aspects that rule the decision of customer’s in the 21st century. The same aspect also applies to restaurants today. Today chefs, entrepreneurs, and food businesses have developed a sudden affinity towards the concept of ‘open kitchen design‘ in the commercial space, where food is prepared in plain sight, thanks to the trend of TV shows and cooking masterclasses where customers have developed a sudden interest in visually seeing food being cooked and presented.
An open kitchen provides customers access to information about a restaurant’s or eatery’s hygiene, professionalism, and culinary excellence. Open Kitchens are admired by both quick-service restaurants, as well as food specialty restaurants making it a commercial kitchen design champion in the food and beverage industry.
A great example of an open kitchen concept when it comes to commercial kitchen design in India was when Subway entered the Indian market in the late 2000s. This sandwich brand works on the concept of assembling and preparing sandwiches in front of their customers. When the Indian market was overly saturated with restaurants that were preparing food behind closed doors, Subway was like a breath of fresh air for the Indian customers. This concept of an ‘open kitchen’ where the customers could smell the freshly baked bread and their sandwich being assembled, really helped customers become the brand’s loyalists.
Now, when it comes to maintaining food safety and cooking hygiene, especially after COVID-19, Open Kitchens are more popular than ever before. They are not just great to look at but are revolutionary when it comes to:
1) Developing a trustworthy relationship between a customer and a restaurant.
2) Helping chefs develop confidence in the food they prepare and serve.
3) Total transparency when it comes to hygiene being maintained by the employees in the kitchen.
4) Builds up customer enthusiasm and leads to a high level of customer satisfaction.
According to a study conducted by two Assistant Professors from HBS and UCL, it was noted that:
- When chefs/cooks can see their customers and not the other way around, the satisfaction level was 10%.
- When both the cooks and the customer could see each other, the satisfaction level shot up to 17.5% and the service was 13.2% faster
The bottom line here is when cooks and employees of a restaurant can see their customers directly they feel more satisfied with their job, exert more effort, and feel more appreciated. Not just the perception around the quality of food improved, even the actual food got objectively better.
What exactly is an Open Kitchen?
The concept of an open kitchen revolves around the ‘visual experience and preparation’ of the food in the moment, where customers can see what ingredients are going into their food while it is being prepared. The whole idea is to ‘sell food visually’. When it comes to commercial kitchen design, open kitchens are designed to display the activity that is going around in the kitchen during food preparation and is visible to the customers.
Since an open kitchen is on display to the customer, it is important to apply these commercial kitchen design techniques:
- By design, it must be a fully functional kitchen space, where ‘form follows function’ and not being overburdened by unnecessary decor.
- Specialized restaurants should only show what specialty they are cooking in the open kitchen area.
- Break up the kitchen space into the island-style of commercial kitchen design.
- Place refrigerators near the cooking range to minimize walking distance.
- Hide the trash bins from the direct view.
- Using under-counter cabinets and discreetly placed shelves.
- Using a bracketless shelf
- If the back wall of the kitchen is in direct view, it should be aesthetically appealing. Some restaurants use it to feature their logo.
- Lighting should be comfortable for the chefs to perform their cooking tasks. It’s always preferable to have warm lighting, not cool (fluorescent) ones.
- Chef counters should be counted as a design element. Instead of steel or metal surfaces that give the appeal of a commissary, using stone or granite would give that elegant appeal.
- Servers can visually see and track where their meal is headed, the quality of service should also shoot up in an open kitchen design set-up.
- Designing a good ventilation system so that smoke and odors do not disrupt the dining experience.
- It’s a treat for all the senses for customers. As customers, can see, hear and smell their food being prepared at the same time. The sounds, the smells, and the sights of cooking can help work up an appetite. But going overboard with the sounds can also lead to adding to the noise.
The open kitchen by commercial kitchen design standards is like a stage set where chefs and kitchen staff put on a ‘culinary show’ for their customers by engaging and enthralling them with the live experience.
Ready to install an open kitchen in your restaurant? Why not let the experts do it for you.
Hire Kilowa, a brilliant name when it comes to consulting in commercial kitchen design in the industry. They do not just consult, they create. Kilowa guarantees to deliver any commercial kitchen design project in 14 days.
When it comes to designing an open kitchen for a commercial set up, Kilowa specializes in:
- Providing suggestions on the viability of the project
- A proper plan of action
- A floor plan layout
- Mechanical, masonry, and electrical support
- 3D rendering by the in-house designers
- Sections and elevations of equipment
Kilowa’s team consists of experienced, knowledgeable, and creative consultants who have consulted and guided some of the biggest names in the food and beverage industry such as Pizza Express, Ministry of Crab, Galito’s, etc, on commercial kitchen design projects. The team of consultants delivers commercial kitchens that are ergonomic, stunning to look at, highly-functional and a great atmosphere for client team’s to work in.
Connect with a commercial kitchen design at Kilowa today.