A kitchen that is run efficiently can ensure that staff, equipment and ingredients are used to the best effect to create the greatest results for both the business and its customers.
This will dictate the type of efficiencies needed; for example, an extensive dinner menu may require an extensive brigade of chefs working throughout the day on preparation and enough refrigerators and storage facilities to hold partly-prepared food.
A smaller menu, meanwhile, may not require so much preparation but systems must still be in place to ensure that all chefs can work in a systematic manner.
Escoffier’s partie system
This refers to the way in which different areas of a kitchen are designated for specific tasks, such as cooking vegetables, meat or fish. This system is popular in large hotels, while smaller establishments may create their own systems.
Effective work flow
A good work flow will prevent impediments in the process of delivering food to waiting customers; for example, items arriving in the kitchen need to be stored quickly and washing up cannot be allowed to clutter workspaces.
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Health and hygiene considerations must also be taken into account; for example, meat and fish preparation areas must be kept separate from areas dedicated to salads and vegetables. Larger kitchens may also need a separate area for pastry, complete with a baking oven.
The aim is for chefs to prepare and cook food in the least time possible but to the highest standards. This can be achieved by such simple means, such as making sure that all equipment is working properly and is appropriate for the job.
Systematic working is also essential, as is ensuring that the health and wellbeing of kitchen staff is maintained; for example, workers should be advised of good standing and lifting practices. More information about commercial kitchen safety can be found on the Health and Safety Executive website.
The kitchen also needs to be laid out to optimum effect, meaning that worktops, stores, refrigerators and sinks are within easy reach, minimising excessive movements of staff.