How to… plan a new kitchen

28 April 2011
How to… plan a new kitchen

What is the right way to refit or upgrade your kitchen?

Whatever way you look at it, installing a new kitchen is a big undertaking. Capital outlay, a major time investment and disruption to your business are all likely to be involved.

Successful projects don't just happen by accident - they depend on an orderly planning process and the benefit of expert advice to ensure you get the detail right and end up with the kitchen you want.

So how do you know when the time is right to think about refitting or upgrading your kitchen? It could be that your business sales have changed. If sales have already or are forecast to increase, a new kitchen layout or extension can make all the difference in creating improved workflows, generating better finished product and increasing customer satisfaction.

Your existing kitchen may be energy inefficient. An efficient kitchen could make a real difference, not just to your utility bills and your bottom line, but also to the sustainability of your operation. Then, there are new cooking and production processes that you might want to incorporate into your catering operation to help you offer innovative menu items.

Finally, there's lifespan and environment. As with any building fabric and equipment, there is generally a point in time when it becomes less economical to replace and repair individual items, and a complete kitchen refurbishment is going to be more beneficial in terms of retaining or attracting good staff and obtaining a higher quality food service operation.

Most catering equipment has a lifespan of eight to 10 years although this can be higher if regularly maintained.

what to consider when approaching a refurbishment

To end up with a well-executed kitchen design that delivers technically, practically and aesthetically, it's important to follow a series of steps.

â- How will the various spaces need to be allocated or divided between various functional needs?

â- Where is the entrance and where is the goods entrance/receiving area?

Once those questions are answered, the design process can focus on such issues as what kind and how much equipment will the menu require? How much of the menu is prepared from raw ingredients and how much is bought-in part prepared or finished? That helps determine the volume of storage capacity that is needed.

A kitchen needs an ergonomic layout that works well and ensures that it functions efficiently. All the main activities need to be arranged in a logical sequence to facilitate work flows and comply with hygiene and health and safety legislation.

Environmental considerations to reduce energy costs and carbon footprint are also key factors to consider.

top five kitchen designing tips

1 Produce a detailed brief with a mission statement or aspirations. Make sure your team are aware of the scope of works and have input, but make sure that there is one person making final decisions.

2 Test the design and view other operations if possible to see what works and what doesn't. Don't be blinkered, but make sure the design stays within the legal and financial limitations.

3 Use a refurbishment as the opportunity to ‘green' your kitchen - it will help save money on energy and maintenance costs in the short-term and help your operation be more sustainable in the longer term.

4 Agree timescales at the outset but remain flexible - sometimes there are hitches along the way and it's how you deal with them that counts.

5 In today's economic climate look into the financial history of any company you are dealing with. A strong credit rating is key to making sure you don't get left high and dry in the middle of a project.

Kevin Tyson, project manager, Space Catering Equipmen

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