The kitchen’s small and has limited space, but it’s a necessary fight and you need to deal with it. You cannot expand, and moving your restaurant is difficult. With things being that way, how can you manage and prevent impacts to work effectiveness and service quality and still output foods normally? We have some great strategies to recommend you on how to manage small kitchens.
In theory, the kitchen space of restaurants should be about 25-30% of your total space. In reality, however, the kitchen should not take up more than 20% of your space. The reason for this is that every square meter costs money, especially if you rent space inside shopping centers. For example, let’s say rent costs 2,000 baht per square meter. If you rent a total of 100 square meters and allocate 30% or 30 square meters as kitchen space, you will be paying 60,000 baht every month for kitchen space. And once you cut out other working spaces, you will have less than 70% of your space left for generating income or for customers to sit in. That means that your sales opportunity will be reduced, and your break-even point will be extended. It would be better of you manage space in a way that maximizes the income-generating or customer service part the most while leaving only 20% for kitchen space. As your kitchen space becomes limited, management becomes a major issue.
Use a cost-saving kitchen layout.
When your kitchen space is limited, what you need to stop thinking about is the idea of having a central table or island inside the kitchen. Even though the island makes it convenient and speeds up your work, it has to be removed because you have limited space. Now you should arrange your kitchen into two sections, one front and one back. This is a popular style for restaurants that have limited space. One side is for preparation, while the other side is for placing the refrigerator, freezer and other equipment in a way that is convenient to grab, pick, arrange and prepare.
Manage stock just right.
The next thing you need to manage is stock. When you have limited kitchen space, the sizes of your refrigerators and freezers will also be smaller. So, it’s important to calculate your quantities just right. Otherwise, if you order too much, you might not have enough space to keep what you order. We recommend you order just enough ingredients for one or two days of use. After you receive your ingredients, cut and dress them for use and store them in bags or boxes that can be stacked on top of each other. Place them inside the refrigerator, separated into lots and usage for usage convenience. This is a highly effective storage space management. However, most people prefer to toss whatever they order inside the refrigerator, leading their ingredients to pile on top of each other to fill up the space and decrease refrigeration effectiveness, right?
Flow has to work.
The next issue is work flow. An effective kitchen work principle is to walk as little possible for each plate of food. When the kitchen space is limited and many people work in the same kitchen, if a lot of this and that has to be grabbed in preparing each plate of food, the entire system’s work flow can be impacted, and food will be outputted slowly. Therefore, walking should be minimized when preparing each plate of food so as to reduce work time.
Clearly separate kitchen areas between seasoning, preparation, food output and washed dishes sections. Do not have these areas overlap. In particular, do not have the washed dishes section be located close to dirty things. Prevent dirty things from coming into contact with plates and foods, and, if possible, you should make it so that the food output and dish drop-off sections to be separate from the kitchen in order to avoid traffic congestion in the kitchen. This is because if every section is all bunched up inside the kitchen, with all the cooks and chefs working there, waiters walking in to receive food, dish collectors dropping off dishes, all inside that tiny kitchen, congestion will definitely occur.
Make use of every square inch.
With limited space, it’s all the more important for you to make use of every square inch for work. If drilling walls is allowed, drill and install shelves for placing equipment for use. Otherwise, procure a two- or three-tiered table with wheels for placing seasonings, ingredients, washed dishes, plates, bowls or prepared foods or for grabbing filled plates for serving, etc. Importantly, when you have limited kitchen space, you need to be creative in managing your space. Try thinking outside the box, and try relying on the principle of working effectively and quickly. Effectiveness is key, but for the most part, people complaint that they can’t do this or do that with limited space without actually having tried. There are many famous restaurants in shopping centers that have fairly small kitchens that could serve hundreds of customers or even thousands each day. That’s because they don’t see their limitations as a problem, and instead create the right work formats for themselves.