In today’s restaurant environment, the old adage “bigger is better” no longer holds true.
As savvy operators look at ways of increasing covers and getting more bums on seats, reducing the size of your kitchen footprint could add thousands to your bottom line.
Intelligent design and menu consideration paired with new innovative kitchen equipment is essential in ensuring your restaurant can serve more people for less without compromising on food quality and production capabilities.
Let’s breakdown the steps you’ll need to take when looking at reducing your kitchen footprint or building a small footprint kitchen from scratch.
Objectively analyse your current setup
Speak to your staff and be critical of your current kitchen, its production capabilities and time taken to prepare meals. Work with your team to evaluate what products are underutilised and what are causing grief. Something as simple as switching a salamander to a vertical contact toaster can significantly reduce wastage, as well as space. What about how your team move in and around the kitchen? Swapping a swinging cabinet door for an open base could make moving in and around the kitchen a whole bunch easier.
Look at the menu
This will play a big role in the equipment mix you end up with. Analyse your product sales and determine what is making you money and how this can be produced more efficiently. There are numerous pieces of equipment that can do more than one job – from pumping out eggs, pizzas, deserts, steaks and bakes in an conveyor oven, to cooking almost any menu item in a combi oven. Write down your non-negotiable menu items and this will drive the equipment decisions and help determine how small of a footprint your kitchen could be.
The five year rule
Reducing the size of your kitchen footprint is an amazing tactic for increasing front of house space and feeding more people from less, but you need to be constantly looking ahead to ensure your kitchen is just as useful and productive five years from now. Investing in equipment that can do what your current menu calls for plus allowing for increase in covers, menu experimentation or even a larger takeaway offering is the best way to invest wisely, and ensuring you invest only once! Taking FRIMA’s VarioCooking Center® as an example, this multifaceted piece of equipment will allow you to boil, sear, braise, deep fry as well as pressure cook and cook overnight, allowing for huge variations of menu items to be produced all from the one unit.
Get expert advice
Take your menu and speak to equipment specialists about new, innovative ways your menu could be prepared. You will be blown away by the amount of businesses that turn their 12 piece kitchen into a 3 piece kitchen with half the footprint simply by attending a cooking demonstration.
By combining new equipment solutions, ergonomic design and thoughtful menu consideration, you will be well on your way to applying a “less is more” mentality to your new, small footprint kitchen.