Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

MAY 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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78 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • MAY 2017 sessions comes the planning stage. With the architect, kitchen designers like Kuczera identify existing windows and doors that will affect the flow. They also take into consideration what people will see when they come in from the street. For example, if the restau- rant will have an exhibition kitchen, designers become very conscious of customer sight lines. SPACE-SAVING TECHNOLOGY Luckily for space concerns, a variety of technological improvements in equip- ment allow for greater efficiency. Take, for example, combi ovens. Kuczera says she genuflects in front of the new combi ovens that have improved design and function. "It gives you the ultimate flexibility over the duration of your restaurant," she says. "I don't know how a concept can live without one." Richards agrees and adds, "Al- though not a new concept, combi ovens are a great way to reduce cook- ing equipment, conserve space and increase efficiency. A dialogue with a client about simple menu adjustments may enable several pieces of cooking equipment to be replaced by a combi oven. The new technology in some of the automated and self-cooking controls on these ovens enables ease of use, reducing the requirement for skilled labor. They also provide consis- tency of product." Kuczera also recommends high- speed ovens and conveyor ovens. Con- veyor ovens can ensure that a product cooks exactly the way the chef wants it. "The operator doesn't want his signa- ture dish ruined because someone left it in the saute pan a little too long," she says. Conveyors address this issue. Corey-Ferrini advocates new plug- and-play equipment, especially if the menu changes over time as it might in a school or healthcare facility. "We're making mechanical more plug and play," she says. "Imagine a table with a piece of equipment on it, on casters, and you can just connect them into electrical and plumbing — ready to go. It makes the physical space changeable." Blast chillers represent another must, according to Kuczera. "They are a product quality extender and a prod- uct shelf-life extender," she explains. "You can take market fruit that comes in, put a flash chill on it and stick it in the cooler. It's going to last longer. You can cool a croissant made in a combi oven on a rack in a blast chiller. It's going to be flakier." LAYOUT AND FLOW "First I look at the overall plan," Richards says. "I identify where deliver- ies will arrive and work the flow for- ward to the service areas." He describes the flow pattern: receiving, storage, prep, production, service, dishwashing. Experience helps in the layout phase, and Richards has 25 years of it. "I have a good idea of how much space should be designated to each of the kitchen areas, based on the menu and the operation," he says. He begins to roughly block the equipment in and adjusts until achieving the best layout and flow. This phase takes 30 percent to 40 percent of the project time, according to his estimate. As soon as they create an equipment list based on the menu, Kuczera and her team go directly to layout. They look at the workflow associated with each menu item, including the number of staff each station requires. "We never do a block-out diagram. We go right to the pieces and start popping them in," she says. They normally present two or three alternative plans. Corey-Ferrini takes a similar ap- proach. "A lot has to do with the opera- tional flow and the chef. How will they be receiving the food? From where is it received? Where does it need to go? Where do you store it? Does it need refrigeration? Does it need to be invis- ible to the customer?" If the concept has an exhibition kitchen, customers will see the prep line and the cooking areas. "You have to make it pretty, so to speak, from a customer standpoint," Corey-Ferrini adds. "If the kitchen is closed off from view, the design focuses on the opera- tional flow only, sometimes making it more efficient. With an exhibition kitchen, the design has to focus on operational flow plus the customer experience." At this stage, Kuczera often recom- mends building stations and equipment out of cardboard and putting them in the space so clients can experience the spatial aspects, circulation and ef- ficiency. "We chalk it out on the floor and build some pieces out of cardboard. They get a feeling for scale and how it relates to the space," she says. "We have rules as to aisle width and workstation space that we have developed over the past 35 years. One example would be that back-to-back work areas should be between 54 inches and 72 inches apart." — John Egnor, JME Hospitality, on optimal work area space KITCHEN DESIGN IS AN ART AND A SCIENCE

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