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Planning an open kitchen restaurant

The open kitchen design is a feature of smart restaurant design more than before. Owners are utilising the attractiveness of combining the kitchen and eating rooms, building on the years of success for chef’s tables in gastronomic institutions and the more recent push for transparency at a variety of restaurants from quick service to haute cuisine. Additionally, the kitchen’s activity and sensory appeal add to the excitement and allure of dining out.

That is, as long as the clients don’t receive an excessive amount of a good thing.

In fact, a large number of open kitchens are breaking several fundamental guidelines for dining comfort and enjoyment. Some new locations suffer from unwanted noise, odours, and sights. Others have violated building laws and health regulations or underdesigned the open kitchens, which has required remedial equipment retrofits or protective separations, sometimes compromising their initial goal.

Starting with the objective, carefully carrying out the plan, and having a thorough understanding of kitchen and dining area operations are the keys to successfully planning and furnishing a crowd-pleasing open kitchen.

Aligning the open-kitchen goal with the menu, the interactive experience, and the sensory expectations of the consumer group is the first step. Make sure it’s the proper layout secondly, as designing or upgrading for an open kitchen is a significant choice. Ask these crucial inquiries: What particular activity will be displayed where? Should customers be allowed to view the entire kitchen, including dishwashing and preparation, or just the saut√© and salad stations? Is it possible to provide sufficient ventilation while minimising noise? Will the calm ambiance of the dining area be compromised by the strong lights required in the kitchen? 

Third, seek advice from authorities on building, fire, and health codes. In order to prevent contamination, the layout should have a certain distance between the areas where food is prepared and where customers are located. To protect cooking facilities from airborne pollutants, the positions and heights of transparent sneeze guards and walls are chosen. 

Many appliances can be found in both open and closed positions, and some of them may obstruct the views of diners and customers. A massive stainless-steel wood-fired brick oven, a matching stainless-steel vent hood, warming lamps, and hanging pots are some examples of equipment that is attractive and creates a focal point of the design. 

Both seating configurations and cooking stations are impacted by lines of sight. To enhance views and drama, try using countertops that are straight, inclined, or curved. The location of existing gas and plumbing connections frequently imposes restrictions on flexibility or the economic viability of specific configurations.

Lighting. One of the main areas where open kitchens fall short is in balancing the harsh work lights of the kitchen with the ambient lighting that makes eating spaces feel cosy and restful. Great restaurants contrast a combination of dimmable ambient bulbs with decorative fixtures at or above tables while combining chef job fixtures with theatrical lighting to make the kitchens stand out.

Generally speaking, restaurant owners are moving away from harsh and disturbing customers’ fluorescent and incandescent kitchen lights. Instead, the open kitchen can be precisely adjusted with LED lighting for optimal performance and a cosier atmosphere. Many people also employ architectural features like screens and soffits to block light from entering the dining room.

Sound. What should the sound of the open experience be? Is the restaurant setting naturally loud? While some chefs enjoy pushing their teams to create meals with a subtlety and stillness reminiscent of Zen, others, well, not so much.

Architects can design the open kitchen layout and presentation to minimise the noise in either scenario. Perforated metal ceiling tiles, acoustic separations, and floor treatments are necessary but rarely sufficient to reduce all of the noise generated during a heavy rush. The workforce should be trained, and noisier stations like dishwashing should be located behind the scenes. In some instances, prep work and cleanup can be isolated from the chef’s workspace or open cook lines.

Ventilation. Witnesses take in a variety of scents, both pleasant and unpleasant, wherever food is made. Other than menu choices, the two main tactics for regulating smoke, steam, and stronger odours are layout and mechanical system design, such as exhaust fans. The mechanical systems must be capable of removing undesirable odours and excess heat that can bother customers.

KILOWA was conceptualized by the think tank at HPG Consulting, a global Kitchen Design Consultant, Kitchen and Facility Design planner, bar design, and Strategy and Management consultant. KILOWA borrows from the rich experience and expertise of HPG Consulting, making it affordable and quicker for smaller projects.

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