A kitchen's workflow is its lifeblood. A good layout maximizes efficiency while minimizing the potential for accidents, traffic jams, and unnecessary walking. When it's done right, a commercial kitchen's layout is intuitive, allowing employees to get into a flow that works like a well-oiled machine. There's only one problem — how do you actually get that kind of layout?
Most commercial kitchen owners aren't also architects or engineers on the side, and that's fine. They've already obtained a venue, whether it's a swanky restaurant, a cozy café, a fancy cruise ship, or even a relaxing senior living facility. They've developed an aesthetic for their space to create the perfect backdrop for their cuisine. They've worked on a menu that showcases their chefs' talents. They know exactly what kind of mood, atmosphere, and culinary experience they want to bring to their patrons. At that point, it's a good idea to delegate the technical aspects to a professional who knows the most effective ways to bring that vision to life.
WHO SHOULD YOU HIRE TO HELP DESIGN YOUR FOODSERVICE SPACE?
You can hire a professional experienced with foodservice space design to do this. They'll meet with you, take a look at your space and your notes, work on an appropriate design, present it to you, receive more notes and changes, re-work their design, present it to you, and receive more notes and changes, potentially ad nauseam. All the while, you're paying for the professional's time, having meeting after meeting, and your commercial kitchen isn't actually being built. It can end up being a long, nerve-wracking process. It's also usually much more complicated than it needs to be. In the end, you might end up settling for a less-than-optimal floorplan purely out of the need to save time.
Fortunately, the design process doesn't have to go this way. Modern technology allows professional designers to create digital layouts, which can be shared, discussed, and edited, all in real-time. That's where services like ChefVue come in. Commercial kitchen owners are able to discuss their needs, menu, and space with a design professional, and then see their initial layout. The kitchen owner can then offer any needed suggestions or tweaks, and the design professional will work on them in real-time, on a shared screen. This technology can dramatically cut down on the amount of time and energy wasted going back and forth re-working designs. In many cases, the whole process can be completed in as little as two weeks.
USING REAL CHEFS DURING YOUR RESTAURANT, BAR, OR CAFETERIA DESIGN PROJECT
Architects and engineers are very well-versed in theoretical aspects of foodservice space design but probably have never worked in a commercial kitchen before. Designs that work on paper may not actually be that great in practice — kitchens can be a very high-pressure atmosphere, with a lot of things happening at once. There's also usually a lot of variability between slow and busy days, which has a huge impact on workflow. Services like ChefVue enlist real chefs alongside their design experts, so they can offer their real-world expertise. Having someone who's worked in a commercial kitchen can be invaluable when it comes to ironing out potential problems.
Not all commercial kitchens have the same requirements, which is why this real-time design process is so helpful. This service also has different design packages, so owners can choose exactly what they need. Small kitchens likely don't demand all of the bells and whistles, so a basic design package can be a great way to save money. Larger kitchens can add items to their package in order to get all of the documents, models, equipment specs, and anything else they need. Even if a commercial kitchen owner discovers that they could use more add-ons in the middle of their design project, ChefVue can incorporate them easily.
ChefVue lets you collaborate with real chefs and design experts as they create your kitchen or restaurant space in real-time.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT AFTER YOUR FOODSERVICE SPACE DESIGN IS DONE?
Once the layout is finalized, it's time to select the best equipment to bring it to life. Kitchen owners can use equipment they already have, or work with ChefVue's parent company, LaBel, to obtain anything else they need. All they need to do is take down their equipment's manufacturer and model numbers, dimensions, and any specific considerations for utility hookups, and discuss them during the planning stage. Once the design is done, the finalized concept, floorplan, and any CAD models can be submitted to a construction professional to turn them into blueprints. A licensed professional can help the kitchen owner submit what they need for permitting or inspection purposes.
In a commercial kitchen, workflow is everything. Specific menus involve specific steps — there's a totally different flow to brewing coffee and warming baked goods compared to preparing entrees. Things need to be done in a certain order, which means that employees need access to the equipment they need in that order. The better a commercial kitchen's floorplan is, the easier it is to establish a safe, efficient, workable traffic flow. Architects and engineers are key parts of the construction process, but it helps to have a kitchen professional involved to offer insight into the foodservice space design itself. Services like ChefVue allow kitchen owners to consult with design professionals and former commercial chefs in real-time, creating functional designs that are optimized for their venues and menus.