Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JAN 2018

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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46 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • JANUARY 2018 notes that it's possible to incorporate cooler space in the front of the house. "If you have a display cooler to store fruits and vegetables, guests can see they are getting fresh products." Prep. In addition to going high in a small kitchen, Kuczera recommends going deep — at least with prep tables. "We can make a prep table more ef- ficient by going deeper rather than add- ing another one." Going to a 36-inch- deep table from 24 or 30 inches will add efficiency. She also suggests looking for two-sided aisles, allowing prep to happen on both sides. Egnor agrees, saying work tables have become double, triple, even quadruple in functionality. Cooking. One of the first limita- tions operators may have to deal with in a smaller space is lack of access to gas. Chefs love gas, but they may have to shift to using electricity. Fortunately, there has been great progress with cooking appliances such as induction ranges. The only downside is these units may require specific stainless-steel or copper cooking utensils, which can cost more than aluminum. Items that can perform multiple tasks remain in vogue in smaller spaces. Take, for example, a combi oven. A good combi oven can replace a multitude of processes, saving space and eliminating the need for additional equipment. And thanks to the flexibility of these types of equipment, commercial kitchen designs can become even more creative. For example, a pair of 36-inch ranges with 6 burners might become a 48-inch range with 8 burners, Egnor points out. A full-size combi could become a half- size combi. "It all revolves around the menu and the menu assembly," he says. Ventilation. Ventilation in a small space can be a hidden cost that opera- tors need to consider, Salvatore says. Many smaller operations in larger buildings may not have the vent shafts necessary for the usual Class 1 hood. Some of the newer cooking equipment can use a Class 2 hood, which vents out the side of the building. Class 2 hoods cost less and take up less space. Warewashing. The design for warewashing depends on the concept. In the case of a takeout concept, or if the operation uses compostable items instead of china and flatware, a dishwasher may not be required. Often, staff can wash and sanitize pots and pans by hand. Space-saving under-the-counter op- tions work in many kitchens. Again, this equipment depends on what comes back to the kitchen from the dining area. A lot of dishes and flatware may require an upright machine. As in a larger kitchen, there needs to be a landing space for the server to drop off dishes and the usual progression that produces clean dishes and glasses at the other end. Storage. Space for storage often lands last on the list but remains critical. Reduc- tion in storage space will require more frequent deliveries from distributors. One solution is to go vertical. Look for high ceilings, says Kuczera. "If you can go ten feet high with storage, you can shrink the footprint." Kuczera just finished a project where the storage ended up being outside of the kitchen. Looking for additional space to use within the property, her team found dead space under the parking ramp. "We took a look and said, 'We can get headroom in here. One side is going to be short, but one side is good.' " DESIGN REQUIRES CREATIVITY "It's kind of an endurance test," Kuczera says. "Just when you think you've got a pretty good plan, you go back to your issues-pending list." She presents the client with a complete checklist up front and re- fers to it during the design process. As she says, the geometry often has to change. Egnor recommends designing the kitchen from the service pickup to the back. In a larger kitchen, he says, it would be the opposite. But in a smaller space, the critical part is in the front. "It's where the action happens," he says. "When you do that, you find out your limitations. Dry and refrigerated storage are going to be a limiting factor. You need them, but they are non-oper- ationally functional square footage." Richards suggests stacking equip- ment when possible. For example, he says, stack an oven on top of a proofer, a combi on top of a convection oven, or place countertop cooking equipment on a refrigerated base, and design to avoid cross-contamination. Corey-Ferrini advocates plug-and- play kitchen design. "The ability to roll equipment items in and out to maximize operational flow is the best design," she advises. If the menu changes, the opera- tion should be able to adapt quickly. "We design all the what-ifs," she says. "It's projecting out two or three years. Where do all the outlets go for easy connects and disconnects? Do we need a hood? Where would we put a hood?" The questions can seem endless and the process can prove painful, especially when limitations require compromises. But in the end, the rewards are great, with the ultimate potential of lower costs and greater profits. MINIMUM MAXIMIZING THE Egnor recommends designing the kitchen from the service pickup to the back. In a larger kitchen, he says, it would be the opposite. But in a smaller space, the critical part is in the front.

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