Let’s take a look at some common food prep flow plans you’ll discover inside the kitchen. The most basic and desirable flow plan is the straight line flow plan, also known as assembly line flow. Materials are constantly moving from one procedure to another in a straight line. This type of styling minimizes recoil; saves prep time and confusion about what leaves the kitchen area and what comes back.
The straight line layout works great for small facilities because it can be placed against a wall and accommodated for cooks’ tasks. When there is not enough space to organize food preparation in a straight line, a much appreciated and efficient option is parallel flow. There are four variations of the parallel style:
1. Back to back. The equipment is arranged within a long central counter or island in two straight lines running parallel to each other. Sometimes a four or five foot room divider or low wall is placed between the two lines. It is primarily a safety precaution, minimizing noise and clutter and preventing liquids spilled on one side from spreading to the other. However, putting up a wall here also makes cleaning and sanitation very difficult. The back-to-back arrangement centralizes plumbing and utilities;
You may not need to install as many drains, sinks, or outlets, since both sides of the counter can share the same ones. A back-to-back arrangement in which the walk-through window is parallel to (and behind one of) the production locations is sometimes recognized as a California-style kitchen. When the pass-through window is located perpendicular to the production line, it could be called a European-style kitchen area style. The benefit of the European style is that each cook in line can see the progression of the various dishes that make up the 1 table order.
2. Face to face. In this kitchen area configuration, a central aisle separates two straight lines of equipment on either side of the room. Sometimes the aisle is wide enough to add a straight line of work tables between the two rows of equipment. This configuration works well for high volume power installations such as schools and hospitals, but does not benefit from single source utilities. While it’s a great design for worker control, it forces people to work with their backs to each other, in effect separating the cooking of the food from the rest of the distribution process. Therefore, it is most likely not the best style for a restaurant.
3. L-shape. Wherever space is not enough for a straight or parallel layout, the L-shape kitchen design is well suited to access multiple groups of equipment and is adaptable for catering restaurants. table. It gives you the ability to fit more equipment within a smaller room. You’ll often find an L-shaped layout in dishwashing areas, using the dishwasher located in the center corner of the L.
4. U-shaped. This arrangement is seldom used, but is ideal for a small room with one or two employees, such as a salad preparation area or pantry. An island bar, like those found at TGI Friday’s restaurants, is a further example of the U-shape in performance. There are also circular and square kitchen area designs, but their limited flow patterns make them impractical. Avoid wasting space if you can by making your kitchen area rectangular, with its entrance on one of the longer walls to save steps.
The more foodservice establishments you visit, the more you realize that the back of house is a separate and distinct entity from the rest of the industry, with its own peculiar challenges and unique solutions.
Proper flow planning sometimes means dividing each function of the kitchen area into a department, and then deciding how those departments should interact with each other. They must also interact with the other departments outside the facility: your dining room, bar, cashier, etc. A great way to start the design process, both for the company as a whole and for the kitchen, is to create a bubble diagram. Each region (or workstation) is represented as a circle, or “bubble”, drawn in pencil within the location you have decided may be the most logical for that function. If two different workstations are going to share some equipment, you can let the sides of their circles cross slightly to indicate where the shared equipment will best be located.
The finished diagram will look abstract, but the exercise allows you to visualize each action center and think about your needs in relation to the other centers. You can also design a kitchen using a diamond pattern, placing the cooking area at one point on the diamond shape and other important areas in relation to it at other points. Note that this layout minimizes confusion (and accidents) with a separate kitchen entrance and exit. This allows table cleaners to deliver dirty dishes to the dishwashing area without having to walk all over the kitchen to do so.
An alternative to drawing diagrams is to list each execution center and then list any other work centers that should be placed next to it. Instead, list any venues that shouldn’t be next to them. For example, it’s probably not a great idea to have the ice maker and ice storage bin next to the center for frying and grilling.