Kitchen Design 101 – Getting Started

Section 1 – The Beginning

Once you have made the decision to build a new facility with a commercial kitchen, or remodel/expand the existing kitchen facility in your building, you will need to take one of the following steps to begin:

1. You go directly to the Architect to develop the location and preliminary design for the facility.

2. You request that several Architectural firms provide information on their firms and requests information on the Subtrades (i.e., Electrical/Plumbing/ Mechanical Engineers, Foodservice Consultant (Kitchen Designer),etc.) to evaluate and select a firm to assist you with the project.

3. You hire an Architect or Project Control firm to develop the location and the preliminary design of the facility and prepare a Request for Proposal (RFP) for other Architectural firms to provide the Architectural services for the design of your new facility.

Request for Proposal

The Architect developing the RFP may or may not be requested to provide a proposal for this work. The RFP should provide basic information on the project by the owner or architect as to type and size of building, etc. and generally requires information on all of the team members; the architect needs to provide information on:

• Personnel to be assigned to the project and their resumes

• Finances to ensure that the company is financially capable of handling the project

• Firm history

• Similar projects, with examples and pictures

• Methods of operations, explain how they do business

• Resumes and information on Consultants, i.e., Engineers, Landscaping, IT, Foodservice, etc.

Foodservice Consultant

The Foodservice Consultant (Kitchen Designer) should also be brought in as early as possible in the planning process to ensure there is adequate space provided to meet your vision of the foodservice area. This does not always happen, and by the time the Foodservice Consultant (Kitchen Designer) is brought,in most of the floor spaces have been designed or allocated for other purposes.

Section 2 – Kitchen Design 101 – Concept

Architect plus a Kitchen Designer (Foodservice Consultant)

You may have already done a preliminary programming exercise with either an architect or programming firm to develop a location and a preliminary concept for the building. You may have done some of the concept for the facility and foodservice areas (kitchen and servery) but this is just the beginning.

Once you have selected the architectural firm to work with you on the project, they will have further meetings with you to develop and finalize the program for the building that will include the kitchen design. During these meetings, they will assist you with the continuing development of the required areas within the building and the overall footprint of the building.

The Foodservice Consultant (Kitchen Designer) is normally not included in the design and programming of the facility at this point. We feel that this is an error in the design process!

Why a Foodservice Consultant?

We believe that the Foodservice Consultant (Kitchen Designer) should be part of this early design process. We will work with you and the Architect to identify the number of potential customers and operational functions, which will significantly impact the design process.

We will work with you and/or the chef/operator to develop the type of service and food products that will be provided.

We will do preliminary block plans and a sketch of the necessary functional area(s) to allow for the proper amount of square footage. This will allow the square footage required for the kitchen design to be programmed into the project as part of early planning, not as an afterthought.

The information gathered during this stage will be further developed and expanded during the Design Development phase.

Section 3 – Kitchen Design 101 – Program

Foodservice Consultant

Five Oaks Kitchen Design’s approach to a project is to address all planning issues during the pre-design or Concept Development portion of the project.

Five Oaks Kitchen Design will provide the Owner and Architect a “Foodservice Program Questionnaire Form” designed for your facility. (See Appendix)

The program questionnaire will include statements of planning facts, goals, special owner/operator requests, operational characteristics and assumptions, area allocations, and cost estimates.

Unless these items are discussed early and resolved, unspoken assumptions could result in problems as the project develops.

Questionnaire

The Foodservice Program Questionnaire approach gives the Owner, Architect, and the design team the opportunity to understand, in detail, how the foodservice facility will operate and is the basis for the design assumptions. This program is reaction-oriented and we ask all of the team members to review the program, to confirm, refine or expand on any part of the program.

For a design to be effective in the early planning stages, it is important to explicitly state what the directives and proprieties are, so a well coordinated and approved program can be the basis for developing the most successful design.

Foodservice/Planning Considerations

• Corporate Goals & Policies (Operational Objectives/directives)

  • Has the owner pre-established foodservice guidelines, operational profile, or specific financial targets.

• Demand Requirements (Who/How Many we feed)

  • We need to analyze populations by employee categories, location within the facility, and likely participation.

• Serving/Dining Format (How are we serving the employees)

  • Do we need multiple, complementary-format foodservice entities? What are the serving requirements, training/conference center, private dining, executive dining, employee cafeterias, patient feeding, school/institutional feeding, etc?

• Operational Characteristics (How are we going to prepare the food)

  • Should there be an in-house bakery, meat/vegetable preparation area, etc.?
  • Do we need an ingredient control room?
  • Staging areas for remote feeding areas or transport equipment, etc.?
  • How do we encourage self-bussing?

• Functional Relationships (Proximity and adjacency relationships, process flow workstation organization)

  • How can process flow be shortened and streamlined for food preparation, service, warewash, and trash.
  • How can cross-flows or flow restrictions be eliminated or minimized?
  • Have we met all the program objectives?

• Equipment Costs (Capital initial cost)

  • What is the initial foodservice equipment budget and what is the basis for the estimate?
  • How can it be reduced and if necessary, still maintain the design of the project?
  • Long term quality equipment vs less expensive short life equipment.

• Operational Efficiency (Equipment life cycle & labor/staffing costs)

  • In most applications, a 10+ year life cycle is an appropriate factor. Can the facility be designed to use fewer workers, can one person work two stations easily?

• Project Schedule (Planning and Construction management)

  • An early assessment of the project milestones needs to be done to see if there are any constraints on the foodservice planning, bidding, or construction schedules.

• Growth Considerations ( Future Employee Growth)

  • Do we need to develop “soft” spaces for future growth in certain foodservice component areas?
  • Should we size the cold storage assemblies for future growth?

Section 4 – Kitchen Design -101 Schematic Design

Bubble Diagrams

During the schematic design phase, the Foodservice Consultant (Kitchen Designer) will work with you, and the chef or operator, as well as the architectural team, to develop a floor plan layout using bubble diagrams, of the major functional areas and work stations:

• Receiving

• Storage (Dry, Refrigerator, Freezer, Non-Food, Disposable Paper Goods Storage)

• Preparation Area, dry, vegetable and meat

• Production Area (s) (hot & cold), a la carte cooking/grille

• Waiter pick-up/beverage area (s)

• Serving counters/serving lines

• Warewashing / Potwashing / Pulping

• Other/Specialty Areas

  • Office (s)
  • Toilets/Lockers
  • Bakery
  • Service Bar
  • Service Pantries
  • Executive Kitchens
  • Banquet Kitchen, Dish-up, Staging
  • Tray assembly area
  • Cart Wash

• Seating Areas

By reorganizing the bubble diagram, as necessary, and relocating the relationships of the work areas and flow from one work area to another (with minimal counter flow of product or crossing traffic), we can create a bubble diagram that works.

Block Plans

Once the bubble diagram is completed, we will create a block plan which shows the required square footage for each functional space. This will also further define the space requirements; we will reorganize blocks, as necessary, to incorporate the ideas and fit within the overall plan.

Keep in mind that gross square feet (the sum of all areas on all floors of a building included within the outside faces of its exterior walls, including all vertical penetration areas, for circulation and shaft areas that connect one floor to another.) is larger than net square feet (Net square feet is computed by physically measuring or scaling measurements from the inside faces of surfaces that form the boundaries of the designated areas. Areas defined as building service, circulation, mechanical, and structural should not be included).

Once we have an approved block plan we will create a schematic plan (a drawing intended to explain how something works; a drawing showing the relation between the parts) for your review and approval. We will provide a budget estimate for review based on the estimated cost per square foot.

After the schematic plan is approved, we will move on to laying out the basic equipment as part of the Kitchen Design Development.

To be continued.