How to Design a Commercial Kitchen

How to Design a Commercial Kitchen

It's hard to realize how important commercial kitchen design is until you spend 15 minutes trying to find your vegetable peeler, break four dishes while reaching a ramekin, trip over your broom while icing a cake, and have fourteen servers all bumping into each other during the dinner rush.

Smart kitchen design is essential to efficiency, safety, and revenue. The first rule of kitchen design is to assess your space. Your kitchen should have approximately five square feet of space for every seat in the restaurant. So, if your dining room seats 60, your kitchen should be at least 300 square feet. If your kitchen is smaller, consider reconfiguring your space to make more workroom and less customer space. There is no profit in seating 100 guests if you can't serve them effectively.

Commercial Kitchen Design Basics

The fewer steps required to complete a task, the better. A well-designed kitchen is one where employees can stay in one spot and do the majority of their work with minimal bending, reaching, walking, or turning. This reduces injuries and increases effectiveness in kitchen prep. There are two main kitchen styles that provide maximum efficiency: assembly lines and zones.

If you have an island in the middle of your kitchen, the most efficient way to use it is to place the cooking equipment in the middle and use the surrounding counter space for the other zones.

Choosing What Works Best

When you're starting from scratch, or attempting a complete re-model, creating an effective design may seem like a daunting task. Use this simple checklist to create a design that will work perfectly for your staff and your customers.

Step 1: Start with a list of all foods you plan to prepare. Be sure to think about future plans and menu options you may want to add. Use this food list to create a list of all restaurant equipment necessary, including the size and amount. You must know what kind of equipment you will need to avoid costly changes in equipment or construction later on.

Step 2 : Take exact measurements of the size of your current space, making note of windows, doorways, electrical outlets, plumbing lines, floor drains, and code requirements.

Step 3 : Map out your zones. Take time to mentally walk through the prep of each menu item to decide which area of the kitchen provides maximum efficiency for that item. This will determine where your zones are.

Professional Help

A restaurant designer in your area may be available to review your plans or create an entire blueprint for you. A commercial kitchen design firm or an interior designer with restaurant design experience can help you to design your kitchen in a way that is efficient, safe, and profitable.


  1. comment authorVivian Black May 8, 2018

    I used to think that in my commercial kitchen, a food drain wouldn't be necessary for the design or execution. It really helped when you said floor drains and exact kitchen measurements would be required in our efforts to meet the building's code requirements. You did a great job of explaining the necessity of proper flooring in creating a safe and usable kitchen.

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