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How to: Food service kitchen planning to generate you time, energy and money

 |  Victor Manufacturing Ltd

The design and layout of your food service space is key when it comes to your commercial success and your customer’s satisfaction.

Over 70+ years of industry experience means that we have accumulated a wealth of knowledge to share on the optimisation and effectiveness of commercial kitchens so we thought we would give you this helpful information to save you the pains of a poorly designed food service operation.

Below is a break down of the different stages of the food service cycle. 

By mindfully mapping each stage of the cycle and your food service area with careful considerations for each area and process you will vastly improve the overall success of your kitchen. You will benefit in terms of time, energy and money because you will simulate the cycle and plan ahead for mistakes and blockages in the flow of your future operations.

The Exercise…

Take a piece of paper and sketch your floor plan out and pencil in the work space, equipment and staff space for each of the following stages of your food service cycle.

Go through the process each person will perform and pencil in the flow of each process. Once you have figured out the best way you feel the operation will run then look at:

  • Equipment Processes
  • Customer Processes
  • Staff Processes
  • Supplier Processes

Consider each bullet point for each stage in the cycle and imagine how you can improve each areas process. 

For instance,

If in the cooking cycle you want your cooks to be able to focus on the cooking as a pose to transporting prepped foods and ingredients then redesign where your foods are prepared and stored. If you want to increase the number of plates you can hold before serving to reduce trips and customer waiting times perhaps you might reconsider your holding equipment buying decisions. 

1. Delivery Cycle — What’s the first thing to happen? your foods and ingredients are delivered. Can you take delivery and get them to storage immediately or are there obstacles and a lot of space to travel between?

2. Storage Cycle — We can’t have a delivery that is being carried through your main kitchen causing unnecessary obstructions and blockages. Note how the storage may need to be in close proximity to the preparation and cooking areas but still out of the way. Then we flow into the food preparation cycle, generally, this area must be close to the storage areas like the fridge and freezer spaces.

3. Preparation Cycle — The food preparation will usually move onto the cooking cycle, or could even return to the food storage area. Ensure this area is easily accessible at both ends.

4. Cooking Cycle — The cooking cycle can be streamlined and made to be more efficient and effective by keeping prepared foods and ingredients close at hand and by having your cooking equipment close together with room to manoeuvre for the cook/s. Bear in mind that once your food is dished up it will want to flow to the food holding area or dishing up space immediately. This transition should be seamless to reduce stand still times on dishes and allow the cooking to continue.

5. Holding Cycle— Food holding is an art in itself and wisely planning for the spatial position, equipment efficiency, storage capacity and automated timing will benefit your operation substantially.

“Victor has perfected the art and science of Holding food, Specifically of the back of house food holding we have developed the industry leading range of Hotcupboards and Banqueting carts.

Our Hot Cupboards deliver

  • Automated Timing
  • Temperature control
  • Energy efficient insulated design
  • Many sizing options

Click to See our Hot Cupboard range

“ The hot hold banquet cart holds hot food in perfect condition, whilst the complementary refrigerated units hold pre-chilled food. Banquetline enables the caterer to prepare food and plate meals in advance of designated food service. This allows for a more streamlined operation enabling more efficient usage”

Our Banqueting Carts deliver

  • Automated Timing
  • Temperature control
  • Hot and Cold foods held in bulk
  • Many sizing options

Click to See our Banquet Cart range

6. Serving Cycle— We then move to the plating and presentation of cooked foods. How can you create the best plates in a timely fashion? Do you cater for self-service? Are your waiters empowered to do their job with the help of necessary equipment and work spaces? Will your diners see this area? Again, consider your equipment, staff, customer processes and try to draw the best solution for all.

We offer many helpful solutions to enhance your kitchens dishing and serving cycle.

Click to See our Plate Dispenser range

Click to See our Food Service Counter range

Click to See our Food Display range

7. Wash Up Cycle — Last of all your plates and cutlery must be returned to the waste and wash-up areas as your diners have finished. Use your map to plot the best area for this again, minimising blocks and the time it takes to complete this process and how it will affect the other cycles in the operation. Once you have thought through your kitchen design and come to a healthy conclusion of your particular needs you will have successfully anticipated the entire operation and avoided many errors that are usually made in the food service business.

When designing your kitchen make sure you oversee these important elements and you’ll save yourself from all the frustrations that come with a poorly designed operation whilst benefiting from all of the advantages of a well-designed operation.


We hope to have helped and we wish you luck with your food service kitchen design.


All the best,


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