Unless you’re building a restaurant from the ground up, you’ll have to make the most efficient use of the available space. Items like walk-in coolers and freezers can’t be moved without major expense and disruption, so if they’re in a less than optimal position, you’ll have to design your layout around them.

Placement

One way to work around an inconveniently located walk-in is to install backup refrigeration and storage on the line. Older restaurants may not have this convenience, but most modern kitchens have them already in place. This allows your kitchen staff to keep frequently used ingredients at their finger tips, and provides extra storage for busier times, like holidays and weekends.

Each shift should have a par list for stocking the line unit before their shift begins to facilitate an easy transition from breakfast to lunch to dinner hour; depending on the size of your line, you may want to install one at each end. There should also be a par list for the prep kitchen. This cuts down on food waste and ensures that your staff has enough enu items ready to cook when they need them; setting the par can be hit and miss if you’re a new restaurant, but soon you’ll learn what items are selling and when they are in demand.

Prep areas should be separated from the line and from the dish room. The prep area should be close to a water source, sink, and refrigerated storage for efficiency. A stainless steel prep table is a better choice than the old wood-topped butcher blocks because they’re resistant to scratches and knicks that can harbor bacteria. Cutting boards and other prep tools should be stored close to the prep area.

Using plastic cutting board will help preserve the cutting utensils and make the work more precise and efficient; try purchasing a different colored board for each food item to lessen the risk of cross-contamination, for example, green for vegetables and fruit, red for meats.

Tools

Your restaurant supply company may be able to offer suggestions about any specialty items that are suitable for your menu. When choosing kitchen accessories, try to choose durable items that can be used for multiple purposes. Pots should be lightweight, especially the industrial size pots for soups and sauces. For all other cooking utensils, let the use determine the size, and always purchase tight-fitting lids. Both of these habits will cut down on cooking time and energy usage.

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