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5 Commercial Restaurant Kitchen Layouts & How to Choose the Right One


Discover the best commercial kitchen layouts for efficiency & success. From assembly line to open kitchen designs, optimize your restaurant operations now.

The heart of any restaurant is its kitchen. It's where the magic happens, where raw ingredients are transformed into culinary delights. 

But a commercial kitchen is more than just a place for cooking. It's a complex system where efficiency, safety, and workflow are paramount.

The layout of a commercial kitchen can make or break a restaurant's success. It impacts everything from the speed of service to the quality of the food.

In this guide, we'll explore five main types of commercial kitchen layouts. We'll delve into their features, benefits, and best uses.

If you own a restaurant or work in a kitchen, this guide can help you maximize your kitchen space. This guide is designed to assist restaurant owners and kitchen workers in optimizing their kitchen space. By following the tips in this guide, you can make the most out of your kitchen space.

Choosing the right restaurant layout including your commercial kitchen is a critical decision. Let's help you make an informed choice.

Understanding Commercial Kitchen Layouts

A commercial kitchen layout is the arrangement of equipment, workstations, and storage areas. It's a blueprint that guides the flow of food from preparation to service.

The layout should facilitate a smooth workflow. It should allow staff to move easily from one task to another, reducing wasted time and effort.

Moreover, the layout should ensure safety. It should minimize risks like slips, falls, and burns, and help maintain hygiene standards.

The Importance of Efficient Design

An efficient kitchen design can significantly boost a restaurant's productivity. It can speed up service, reduce errors, and improve food quality.

Moreover, a well-designed kitchen can enhance staff morale. It can reduce stress, prevent overcrowding, and promote teamwork.

Key Components of Commercial Kitchens

A commercial kitchen comprises several key components. Each plays a crucial role in the overall operation.

  • Cooking Equipment: This includes ovens, grills, fryers, and stoves. The choice of cooking equipment depends on the restaurant's menu and service style.
  • Preparation Areas: These are spaces for food prep tasks like chopping, mixing, and marinating. They should be spacious and well-lit.
  • Storage Areas: These include refrigerators, freezers, and dry storage units. They should be strategically placed for easy access.
  • Cleaning Areas: These consist of dishwashing stations and waste disposal areas. They should be separate from food prep areas to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Service Areas: These are spaces for plating and serving food. They should be close to both the kitchen and the dining area for efficiency.

Understanding these components is the first step in designing an effective commercial kitchen layout.

The Five Main Types of Commercial Kitchen Design Layouts

There are five main types of commercial kitchen layouts. Each has its unique features and benefits.

The choice of layout depends on various factors. These include the restaurant's size, menu, service style, and customer volume.

1. Assembly Line Layout

The assembly line layout is ideal for restaurants that serve a high volume of similar dishes. It's commonly used in fast-food chains and cafeterias.

In this layout, the kitchen equipment and workstations are arranged in a straight line. This enables a sequential food preparation process. Speed and reserving the assembly line layout is best for restaurants.

The food moves along the line from one station to the next. Each station is dedicated to a specific task, such as food preparation areas, grilling, frying, or plating.

Key features of the assembly line layout include:

  • Efficient workflow: The linear arrangement minimizes movement, speeding up the food preparation process.
  • High output: This layout can handle a high volume of orders, making it ideal for busy restaurants.
  • Teamwork: It promotes collaboration, as each staff member is part of the assembly line.

2. Island Layout

The island layout features a central workstation or island. This island typically houses the main cooking equipment.

Around the island, there are peripheral workstations for food prep, cleaning, and storage. This layout allows for easy communication and supervision.

Key features of the island layout include:

  • Central focus: The island is the heart of the kitchen, making it easy for the chef to oversee all operations.
  • Flexibility: The peripheral workstations can be rearranged as needed, offering flexibility.
  • Accessibility: All areas of the kitchen are easily accessible from the island.

3. Zone-Style Layout

The zone-style layout divides the kitchen into different zones. Each zone or counter space is dedicated to a specific task, such as cooking, prepping, or cleaning.

This layout promotes organization and efficiency. It's ideal for large kitchens with diverse menus.

Key features of the zone-style layout include:

  • Task segregation: Each zone focuses on a specific task, reducing cross-contamination risks.
  • Workflow: The zones are arranged logically, facilitating a smooth workflow.
  • Space utilization: This layout makes the best use of available space, accommodating a wide range of activities.

4. Galley Layout

The galley layout is a compact, efficient design. It's ideal for small kitchens with limited space.

In this layout, the kitchen equipment and workstations are arranged on two parallel walls. It's a kitchen layout with empty space in the center. This creates a central aisle for staff movement.

Key features of the galley layout include:

  • Space-saving: This layout maximizes the use of vertical space, making it ideal for small kitchens.
  • Efficiency: The close proximity of workstations reduces movement, speeding up the food preparation process.
  • Simplicity: The galley layout is simple and easy to navigate, reducing the risk of accidents.

5. Open Kitchen Layout

The open kitchen layout is becoming increasingly popular. It allows customers to see the kitchen in action, enhancing their dining experience.

In this layout, the kitchen is not separated from the dining area. This requires careful planning to maintain hygiene and control noise.

Key features of the open kitchen layout include:

  • Customer engagement: Customers enjoy watching their food being prepared, which can boost satisfaction and trust.
  • Transparency: The open layout showcases the restaurant's hygiene standards and food quality.
  • Space-saving: By combining the kitchen and dining area, this layout saves space.

Choosing the Right Layout for Your Restaurant

Selecting the right kitchen layout is crucial for your restaurant's success. It impacts efficiency, safety, and customer satisfaction.

Consider your restaurant's size, menu, service style, and customer volume. Also, factor in your staff's workflow and the available kitchen space.

Considerations for Small Commercial Spaces

For small commercial spaces, a compact and efficient layout is key. Consider space for pantry for restaurants with small commercial spaces or counter space, cutting tools and storage. The galley layout is a popular choice due to its space-saving design.

However, an open kitchen layout can also work well. It combines the kitchen and dining area, saving space and enhancing customer engagement.

Balancing Speed and Quality

The layout should facilitate a balance between speed and quality. An assembly line layout is ideal for fast service, while a zone-style layout allows for diverse menus.

Remember, a well-designed kitchen can help maintain food quality while speeding up service. It's all about optimizing the workflow.

Integrating Dining Room and Kitchen Design

The kitchen layout should integrate seamlessly with the dining room design. This is especially important for open kitchen layouts.

Consider factors like noise control, visual appeal, and customer visibility. A well-integrated design can enhance the dining experience and boost customer satisfaction.

Optimizing Your Kitchen for Performance

A well-optimized kitchen boosts performance and productivity. It ensures smooth operations, reduces staff fatigue, and enhances food quality.

Consider factors like equipment placement, workflow, safety, sanitation, and future needs. A well-thought-out design can make a significant difference.

Equipment and Workflow

The placement of equipment greatly impacts workflow. Plan your kitchen layout for maximum efficiency and make sure all equipment are on the perimeter of your back of house (BOH) staff. Strategically position cooking tools, dishwashing machines sinks and drying racks, and  refrigerator so that your BOH can easily access them.

Also, consider the flow from food prep to cooking to service. A well-designed flow can speed up service and reduce errors.

Safety and Sanitation

Safety and sanitation are paramount in kitchen design. Ensure easy access to fire extinguishers and first-aid kits.

Also, design the layout to prevent cross-contamination. Separate raw and cooked food prep areas and provide ample handwashing stations.

Flexibility and Future-Proofing

A flexible kitchen layout can adapt to changing needs. Consider modular equipment and mobile islands for easy reconfiguration.

Also, plan for future growth. Leave room for additional equipment or increased storage as your restaurant expands.

Integrating Technology: The Role of Kitchen Display Systems (KDS)

In today's modern kitchens, technology plays a vital role in enhancing efficiency and streamlining operations. One such innovation is the Kitchen Display System (KDS).

A Kitchen Display Screen is a digital solution that replaces traditional paper tickets with a digital display. Orders from the EPOS till system or online ordering system are sent directly to the KDS, where kitchen staff can view, manage, and update the status of each order in real-time.

The benefits of implementing a Kitchen Display System include:

  • Streamlined Communication: KDS eliminates the need for paper tickets, reducing the risk of errors and improving communication between the front and back of house.
  • Efficiency: Orders are displayed in a clear, organized manner, allowing kitchen staff to prioritize tasks and minimize wait times.
  • Order Accuracy: With digital displays, there is less chance of misreading handwritten orders, leading to higher order accuracy and customer satisfaction.
  • Real-Time Updates: Kitchen staff can see updates and modifications to orders instantly, ensuring a smooth flow of operations.

By incorporating a kitchen management system into your commercial kitchen layout, you can enhance workflow, improve order accuracy, and elevate the overall efficiency of your restaurant. Read our latest blog to find out more about how to budget for a kitchen display system.

Conclusion: The Impact of Layout on Success

In conclusion, the layout of your commercial kitchen significantly impacts your restaurant's success. It affects efficiency, safety, customer satisfaction, and ultimately, your bottom line. Therefore, investing time and resources in designing an optimal kitchen layout is a strategic move that pays off in the long run.

For almost 20 years, 3S POS has offered one of the most flexible EPOS systems to international brands such as Caffe Concerto, Maroush, Comptoir Libanais, Pepe’s Piri Piri, GDK and thousands more delighted customers.

If you are looking for an Restaurant POS System that will not just help you accept payments but includes inventory management, loyalty programs, and much more, speak to our sales for a free demo.

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