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Equipment for a commercial kitchen?

(36 Posts)
Katymac Sat 04-Aug-07 20:11:32

I need a list for the architect. So I know I need:

3 sinks - 2 for washing up and 1 for washing hands
Do I need a 4th for washing veggies?

A commercial (fast) dishwasher

A commercial oven or would I need 2?

A large larder fridge
A large larder freezer
A milk cooler (for those bags of milk)- this might be unnecessary?
God knows how I make that much toast
1 or 2 microwaves
Storage - I have no idea how much storage I need

This is to cook for:
9 aged 0-2
34 aged 2-5
12 aged 5-11
13 adults
All from scratch

Any thoughts or suggestions (have I got it all wrong)

Roskva Sun 05-Aug-07 11:25:53

I would suggest getting your local environmental health officer involved right from the beginning - that's what we did when we refitted our hotel kitchen. They will be able to advise you on what you need by law, and it is easier to have them happy from the beginning than to inspect you later and issue a remedial notice on you or worse still close your kitchen.

If you have space, definitely an extra sink for veg prep - that way you can have someone prepping and someone else washing up if you are really busy. What kind of food are you going to be cooking? That should help you decide how much oven space you need, and how many rings you need on your hob. Also - this may sound obvious - think about access: if your big new commercial oven won't go through the door, you have a problem, so 2 smaller ovens may be better than 1 big one - get the supplier to measure up and check the access, that way if it doesn't fit, it's their problem to sort it (that goes for all the appliances, in fact - we once had to take a door frame out to get a washing machine in ). You will need a good extraction/ventilation system (legal requirement), which may dictate where you have to site the oven + hob.

We have a separate fridge for raw meat - I think you are obliged to do this. We just put milk in the fridge with veg/other dairy products/cooked dishes.

Give a lot of though to layout, and how many people are going to be working at any given time, especially at busy times - get that right, and you've made everyone's lives easier and more pleasant. Also, get your electrician and plumber involved in the planning stage: a bit of input from them can save a lot of money in the long run, in terms of the most cost efficient siting of things (but bear in mind practicality as well). It might be a good idea to talk to your local fire officer too - it's not safe to assume that the fire officer and environmental health want the same things.

Also, check with your local planning department about siting your ventilation exhaust - we are in a conservation area here, and a couple of local restaurants have had a big fight with the planners about where there ventilation exhausts can and can't go. We had a huge problem with fire escapes, because what the fire brigade wanted, the planners wouldn't allow : our manager arranged a meeting with both of them at the same time and made them reach agreement between them as to what would keep them both happy .

IME commercial toasters are a waste of money: £200+ for an 8 slice machine. Yes they are quicker, but all the ones we tried broke when they were just out of warranty. 2 or 3 cheapo toasters from Argos do the job almost as well, and Argos are pretty good about replacing them if they break, and if they won't replace them, it doesn't cost a fortune (just don't tell them it's a commercial kitchen).

Another thing worth considering is a water boiler - a kettle doesn't go very far if you need lots of boiling water for cooking, drinks, etc. And if you have several kettles boiling at once, it puts a real strain on the electrics. If you are going to want to be getting lots of hot meals out together and have the space, a hot cupboard with a bain marie top is really useful for keeping large quantities of cooked veg and/or plated meals hot until you are ready to serve.

Sorry, that turned into an essay, but I hope that helps.

Roskva Sun 05-Aug-07 11:30:05

Oops, forgot to mention, if you are using gas, you must use a gas engineer who is qualified for commercial installations - corgi registration has different levels, and not all corgi engineers are qualified for commercial work. Again, involve him/her at the planning stage, if you can.

suzywong Sun 05-Aug-07 11:37:29

ooooh, commercial kitchen porn on MN at last....
no more advice after that essay, which I relished, but watching with interest

don't forget floor drains for when you wash down and also good lighting

Roskva Sun 05-Aug-07 11:52:09

oooh, I wish. Alas, no kitchen gods in our kitchen - more like grumpy old men...

NurseyJo Sun 05-Aug-07 11:56:46

Message withdrawn

Katymac Sun 05-Aug-07 13:08:14

Bugger - so many things to go wrong

OK

How impractical is an upstairs kitchen?

Can you still buy Dumb waiters? (are they horrifically expensive?)
This is our current menu - so it's quite a mix = it is lunch, pudding & tea

I know we wil have to dump some of the meals as they are fine for 9 children plus 4 adults but impractical on a larger scale

Spanish Omelette,Meringue Mess,Sausage & Mash
Baked Potato & Cheese,Profiteroles,Chicken Nuggets
Pasta with Ham & Cheese,Semolina & Jam,Mince & Mash
Tomato Soup,Ice cream Gingernuts & Bananas,Cottage Pie
Rice & Veggies,Fruit Salad, Fish Fingers

Sweet'n'Sour Noodles & Scampi, Chocolate Pudding, Cold Meat & Chips
Rice & Fried Vegetables, Apple & Custard, Poached Salmon
Tuna Sandwiches, Fruit Fool, Couscous
Scrambled Egg, Meringue Mess, Toad in the Hole
Pasta with Cheese & Tuna, Banana & Ice Cream, Fishcakes

Couscous, Peaches & Ice Cream, Cold Meat & Chips
Cheese & Potato Pie, Meringue Mess, Spaghetti Bolagnaise
Pizza Toast, Rice Pudding, Stir-Fry Chicken & Noodles
Beans on Toast, Apple Sponge, Pasta with Tuna, Sweetcorn & Peas
Rice & Fish, Banana & Custard, Scampi

Roskva Sun 05-Aug-07 13:31:47

If you're doing chips, scampi and things, you will need a deep fat fryer. And a decent grill, I didn't mention a grill.

A restaurant near here has its kitchen upstairs, so it can be done. I think they do have a dumb waiter, as their dining room is downstairs, but no idea what it cost. You may have do put in fireproofing in the floor, too. Next time I see the owner, I'll ask her (that may not be soon, so don't hold your breath...). I know the brewery hate delivering there because their bar is upstairs too, but that's presumably not an issue for you

The only things on your menu I would not want to be doing for large numbers are stir fry (difficult to cook in batches and keep warm without it going soggy) and pizza toast (presumably needs to be finished under the grill, and again, tricky to keep warm if cooked in batches)

Also anyone handling and/or serving food now has to do at least the basic food hygiene course (you may be able to get that free at a local college/other provider)

Katymac Sun 05-Aug-07 13:33:32

I've got my food hygiene

I'm assuming that my chef/cook will have that as a matter of course

So it will be just the Kitchen assistants

How many people to cook for all that?

Katymac Sun 05-Aug-07 13:34:27

Chips & scampi will both go in the oven (chips = wedges with olive oil & herbs)

Roskva Sun 05-Aug-07 13:41:49

nice healthy chips, I like it

We usually have on duty:

breakfast (up to 40 covers): 1 chef or very competent kitchen assistant

lunch (bar meals only) (on a mad day up to 120, more usually 40-50): 1 chef, 1 kitchen assistant, 1 washer upper

dinner (up to 40 restaurant, ie 3 courses, 40-50 bar): 1 chef, 2 kitchen assistants, 1 washer upper

I cooked breakfast for a full hotel one morning when the chef didn't show up, waitresses end up doing deserts (sp?) when we're really busy, and occasionally the receptionist has been known to lend a hand when it's really mad

prep gets done between breakfast and lunch, and everyone goes home for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

Katymac Sun 05-Aug-07 13:55:11

So KA 7:30-1:30 & second KA 12-6
Cook 9/10-5

Meals at 8, 12 & 5

Might have cleaner/KA to finish off at end of day

Will that work?

Roskva Sun 05-Aug-07 14:13:35

That sounds like it should work. The last person out of our kitchen of an evening (ie the washer upper) gets to sweep and thoroughly wash the floor and put all the filthy kitchen cloths in the washing mashine on a boil wash. All other cleaning is supposed to be done during the day, although it is usually necessary to keep reminding them of that fact (or tell them environmental health is coming, teeheee)

SueW Sun 05-Aug-07 14:14:32

You will also need different cleaning equip for food prep and non-food areas and again for toilet areas.

People handling food not allowed to have anything to do with toilets, except using them. obviously.

SueW Sun 05-Aug-07 14:16:28

When you employ your chef they should be able to tell you what works in terms of numbers wrt your menu

Katymac Sun 05-Aug-07 14:17:24

SO can the cleaner who does the loos (when we are closed) mop the kitchen floor before she does so?

Roskva Sun 05-Aug-07 14:42:13

Provided she uses a different mop, yes. Our housekeepers do the loos. The kitchen has its own set of cleaning tools, ie mop, bucket, brooms, cloths etc

Katymac Sun 05-Aug-07 14:47:30

They are on separate floors (at least I think they will be) - so keeping equipment separate shouldn't be a problem


How long before I open should I employ the cook/chef?

Do I want a cook or a chef?

How much independance or supervision will they want?

Roskva Sun 05-Aug-07 14:58:50

I'm not sure if there is a difference between a cook and chef, other than someone who deems themselves to be a cook is less likely to have qualifications, including food hygiene certificate. But they may have lower salary expectations.

It's up to you how long before you open you employ them: it will depend on how much input you want them to have in the design of the kitchen sourcing suppliers etc, but the longer you employ them before you open, the longer you have to pay them with presumably no money coming in.

As to supervision - well, that depends on the individuals... personally I think supervising the kitchen is a bit like managing a kindergarten with little boys throwing their toys out of their prams ... Having once endured a dinner service with 2 chefs who were not speaking to each other in the kitchen (I still have no idea why), I'd say you constantly need to have an eye on what is going on, and keep you eye on the costs of purchases etc, too. On the other hand, you might be lucky and find someone like our head housekeeper who doesn't need supervision...

One thing I forgot to mention - the new record keeping requirements for fridge and freezer temperatures. They are a pain, and it's best to get advice from environmental health.

Katymac Sun 05-Aug-07 15:04:28

I have a H&S/Food Hyigene/EH consultant who started me off on all my problems (see here)

Roskva Sun 05-Aug-07 15:36:14

If I were you, I wouldn't waste time and money with a consultant, speak to the people who actually enforce the legislation, ie the local council's environmental health people and planning department, and the fire officer. They do not charge you for their services, and if they are happy with your premises, then no-one else's opinion matters (apart from perhaps your insurers). And remember, if they are not happy with your premises, environmental health and the fire officer can shut you down. Also, get lots of quotes from lots of suppliers, and use them against each other if necessary.

Roskva Sun 05-Aug-07 16:02:16

Katy, if you have time, you could always contact the owners of a few pubs/restaurants/hotels local to you, explain what you're doing, and ask if you could see their kitchens. They may well be willing to show you, especially if any have recently refurbished. Ask who they bought their appliances from, which suppliers are best for aftercare, etc. You're very welcome to come and have a look at ours (we're in west Wales).

Katymac Sun 05-Aug-07 16:05:15

It's really kind of you - if you were a scrap closer I would - but I'm in Norfolk so couldn't actually be much further away & in the same county

This consultant trains the local EHO (well she does in house for the council and does their updates etc) - so I am going to listen to her for the moment

Roskva Sun 05-Aug-07 16:26:26

You're probably better going with what's happening in your county, as I suspect each department has it's own approach to things. This is probably teaching granny to suck eggs, but ask your consultant to explain her reason for liking/not liking things, and ask her to suggest practical solutions to things she doesn't like.

Katymac Sun 05-Aug-07 16:33:23

She did (with bells on)

That is why the kitchen might be upstairs with a fire escape

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