You have finally opened up your own restaurant and that’s amazing. All that hard work is finally paying off. But when you take a second look at that kitchen and your vision for the restaurant, you realize that you may not have enough space to work with.
Whether you have an artisanal bakery or a small café, tiny kitchen spaces are almost inevitable when starting off in the business. While it may seem daunting to make things with such limited resources, it is actually not that difficult. You just have to know how to save on space and maximize on what you have.
To help you out, here are a few tips that will definitely come in handy.
8 space-saving tips and hacks for small, commercial kitchens
1. Take the assembly line approach
This is by far the most efficient use of space in a small commercial kitchen. It basically has all the work stations arranged in order of priority with plating and pick up at the very front end of the kitchen space.
This is a great use of a small space, as it minimizes issues like having different kitchen staff bumping into each other when they go around the kitchen getting their individual tasks taken care of. It also makes running the kitchen and tracking the progress of orders a lot easier with the step by step arrangement.
2. Choose your equipment wisely
By far the biggest waste of space when it comes to working with small kitchens is oversized equipment. Yes, you need a good coffee maker for your boutique café. Yes, you need a big commercial refrigerator and freezer unit for all your perishables at the restaurant. However, you do not have to get the biggest units on the market.
When shopping for kitchen equipment for a commercial kitchen, the size of the models you are considering is a very important thing to factor in. If you know you are working with limited space resources, make sure to find more compact models that take up as little floor or counter space as possible while still offering quality services. Commercial chef bases and refrigerated prep tables are space saving appliances that also promote efficiency and give you added refrigeration space.
3. Storage containers are your friend
Another very important tip when it comes to working with small commercial kitchen spaces is organization. Sometimes, a space may be a lot larger than it looks but this is not apparent due to all the unnecessary clutter lying about in the kitchen.
Storage containers allow you to put away everything from cookware to ingredients in a way that is not only economical on space but also convenient in terms of access and retrieval. It is also a great way to supplement available storage in the form of shelves that may already be set up in the kitchen.
However, it is important to note that there is such a thing as too many storage containers. Don’t cross that line or you will end up with less working space than you started with in the first place.
4. Take advantage of vertical space
Whenever we think of small spaces, our focus is mainly on floor space and counter space. However, you have an entire room to work with and you should definitely make full use of it. This includes working with vertical space, which is often neglected.
If your lease agreement allows for changes like shelf installation, you should consider investing in some. This will help you put away additional tools and ingredients, thus clearing up working space on the main surfaces.
If this is not an option, you could also look into other options, including stackable containers or portable shelf units.
5. Invest in an island
If your commercial kitchen does not already have an island, it is something that you should consider investing in so as to maximize on the limited space available. These units may take away from the floor space but they could double your working space that is very important in a commercial kitchen.
The best part is that you do not have to get a permanent island set up. You could just get a portable unit designed to fit your kitchen, whether it is for prepping ingredients or for other tasks.
6. Group supplies based on use
Another very important tip when it comes to working with limited kitchen space is grouping tools together based on their purpose. This may seem like a pretty obvious rule when running an efficient kitchen but it is something that is often neglected with time as the kitchen gets busier and more cluttered.
You have to establish a strict system where everything from kitchenware to crockery and serving utensils has a specific place in the kitchen. A great way to ensure sustainability with this plan is to have storage easily accessible to the specific workstations where the equipment is utilized.
7. Get rid of anything you don’t use often
If you are working with limited space in a commercial kitchen, you cannot afford to be a hoarder. Get rid of anything that you do not use anymore or that you do not use often. In those cases, you could also outsource storage, whether it is taking some of the equipment home or renting a storage unit for the tools.
With this approach, you can have items saved for special occasions like parties or outside catering stored elsewhere thus freeing up room in your kitchen.
8. Customize your menu to fit the kitchen’s capacity
Finally, you could just change your menu to fit the kitchen size. If you know you have a tiny working space, the last thing you should be doing is creating a whole novel of a menu. Instead, focus on a few specialty items that can be efficiently made in the kitchen.
If you still want to offer variety, consider having a constantly-changing specialty menu so that regulars have something new to look forward to every time.
Maximize Your Space!
With all these tips correctly applied, there is no such thing as a kitchen that is too small to work with. You just have to be smart with your prioritization and creative with your use of the space. In a nutshell, the trick is to avoid clutter as much as possible and only work with what you need.
So go forth and apply these tips as you make culinary magic from your little slice of heaven.
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