Casual Dining – Kitchen and Restaurant Design

How can operators create a practical kitchen and restaurant design that also shows off personality?

Ultimately the kit being used in the kitchen is very utilitarian and it’s hard to give it a personality unless using colour finishes to soften the HARD stainless steel. However, this presents a whole different set of issues regarding wear and tear and how to get at equipment to clean it properly. The personality of the kitchen will ultimately come from the people working in it.

What will be the key kitchen and restaurant design trends for next year?

More efficient spaces with fewer staff. The more the chef engages with the manufacturer of the product the more he/she will benefit. Undertaking the installation of new prime cooking equipment, either as part of a new build or redesign, is also the perfect time to review how the kitchen actually operates and with it an opportunity for the chef to change working practices in order to make personnel more efficient, maximise the available space and produce a more comfortable working environment. Undertake a time and motion study and watch the brigade working around the suite/cook line. Are they spending more time going backwards and forwards to ancillary items than actually cooking? And, if so, can these ancillary items be better located next to or even into the suite/cook line.

In consultation with the manufacturer/supplier the chef should look at the way each aspect of the cook suite/cook line is working. Are they making best use of all the appliances? Could they, for example, benefit from replacing two or more pieces of equipment with one that is multi-functional? And what about considering pieces of equipment that can perform different jobs at different times during the day? Remember, no matter what equipment you have, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always had!

How can operators keep costs down but quality and appearance high when designing a restaurant?
From a kitchen aspect this is a struggle because ultimately anything can ‘look’ good but if quality has been scarified for the sake of cost this ‘look’ will tire very quickly and expose the true quality of the materials utilised.

What is the most important aspect of restaurant design that operators should remember when creating ideas for their venue?

Make the space a comfortable, warm and appealing, not only for the diner but also the staff and team operating the facility. It’s no good having the most en-vogue environment if the team find it a burden to work in. One aspect often forgotten is the ease of cleaning so remember: if it’s easy to clean people will clean it, if it’s a pain and takes forever to do then it won’t get done – this applies 100% to the kitchen space.