Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

FEB 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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42 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • FEBRUARY 2018 wants to add seats, will the kitchen square footage shrink? The opposite held true for Billings when a new display kitchen meant sacrificing seating. The project was a whole-house renovation for Pinch Chinese in New York City's Soho neighborhood. Pinch offers upscale Chinese comfort food and features a display kitchen where staff make dump- lings to order. The former operation was also a Chinese restaurant but not as high end. Post-renovation, when customers walk into the seating area, they im- mediately see the dumpling kitchen through a large glass window. Behind that resides the renovated main kitchen. A smaller window between the dump- ling kitchen and the main kitchen allows diners a glimpse of that area. The desired outcome of the display kitchen was the driver behind decisions concerning the front and back of the house. THE DREADED INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTIGATION Having the proper infrastructure to support any new kitchen is critical. This means all utilities, the exhaust system and the building structure itself. "Maybe we're going to expand the kitchen and add more cooking equip- ment. Maybe the gas load will be twice what it was," Egnor says. "You can't just put in a new piece of equipment with- out seeing if the new design will require a change in the physical services." The infrastructure may need to change to support new equipment. Egnor says, "You might end up renovat- ing a space that was renovated 20 years ago, but the infrastructure is 50 years old. It's not a lot of money to change a dishwasher, but you have to change all the feeds — the sanitary underground, the electrical services, maybe the pipes. Once you touch it, you just go further and further. It's like rubbing a rust spot. You keep rubbing and it goes deeper and deeper, and before you know it, you've taken four inches away. If you don't do due diligence up front, a reno- vation project can grow in scope." Egnor recommends tapping into the expertise of those who regularly maintain and repair equipment and utilities. "You need to spend time with the engineering department, the electrician, systems mechanic, all those people who have been taking care of the equipment or the infrastructure for the past ten to fifteen years. It's not right to put in a new dishmachine if you don't fix what's under the floor." Sacrifices may be necessary if the utili- ties won't support changes in design. RENOVATING THE MENU "The menu can have an impact on your renovation," says Billings. "If you are offering a high-end Indian cuisine and the space you are going into was a burger joint, that will play a role on how the space will work." Imagine you have 100 things on the menu, Shockey says. You need to look at every item and track the process from storage through prep through cooking. What type of equipment do you need? Will the hood space suffice? PRODUCTION FLOW Here, the desired result comes into play again, Egnor says. Will the layout be the same with new equipment? Can workflow improve to the point that fewer employees can deliver the same volume? Can the flow and function of the space change again easily at some point? Undertake an in-depth study to determine the precise flow necessary to produce every item on the menu. Include everything, starting with prod- uct delivery, prep time, serving dishes and even cleaning the tableware. That will lay the groundwork for an efficient workflow of the space and the concept. Above: Chefs make dumplings to order in the dumpling kitchen at Pinch Chinese. A small pass-through window connects the dumpling kitchen with the main kitchen. Left: The renovated Pinch Chinese restaurant includes a viewing portal where guests can peek into the dumpling kitchen from one end of the restaurant. Photos courtesy of Next Step Design

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