The kitchen is a sacred place for restaurants. It’s where the chef seemingly puts random ingredients together to conjure a delightful meal for guests. But with today’s high sanitation expectations, more foodservice outlets are opting for open kitchens. They convey a greater sense of confidence to diners and is also a great way to showcase the skills of the kitchen team. If you’re thinking of upgrading your restaurant to include an open kitchen, here are some things to keep in mind.
The first step is to decide how much of the kitchen you want to show to customers. The sound and aroma of a sizzling steak on a grill give diners an attractive multi-sensory experience. But work such as prepping meat or cleaning fish are best done behind the scenes. Customers want to experience the exciting portions of cooking and not unappealing cleaning tasks. Remember that an open kitchen still requires unexposed space for sinks, preparation counters, refrigerators and other back end equipment.
If you’ve ever worked in a professional kitchen, you’ll know that it’s a high energy environment with a high noise level. Excessive noise from clanging pans and loud, verbal communication among staff members can be annoying for diners. Remind kitchen staff that while maintaining efficiency is important, they have an audience when working in an open kitchen. Glass barriers between the dining area and open kitchen not only help to contain the noise, they act as safety barriers as well.
Needless to say, open kitchens need to have strict cleanliness guidelines. Customers will feel more confident when they see that their food is being cooked in a well kept kitchen. Increased maintenance checks for equipment and installations will keep things running smoothly. Installing efficient drains and ventilation systems will prevent unappetizing smoke and odors from traveling to the dining area. The chef and other kitchen staff should always be presented in clean and well kept uniforms. Plan for additional sets of jackets, aprons, and gloves with extra trips to the laundry room.
The kitchen is the natural environment for chefs and an open kitchen is a wonderful way for them to be creative and to showcase their passion for cooking. It’s also rewarding for them to see who they are cooking for. Designing a functional open kitchen with good flow is essential for a pleasant and smooth presentation to diners. To see whether an open kitchen is right for your restaurant, contact Restaurant Design Concepts.