When you envision a typical home kitchen, you likely think of the standard appliances and equipment such as an oven/stovetop, microwave, refrigerator/freezer and stainless steel sink. Perhaps the refrigerator is equipped with a built-in ice maker and provides cold water, or maybe the counter has a built-in range or cutting board.
Many home kitchens get by very nicely with these few appliances. If you have a small or medium sized food business, however, you’re going to need a professional kitchen that will serve your needs.
Cooking for a family of five is much different than cooking for 50 or 100 people. Whether you have a medium-sized catering operation, meal prep company like Spice N Tice or a small cake decorating business, you’re going to need something more than a simple oven and microwave. Here are just a few differences to consider between a traditional kitchen and a professional one:
When you own a food business, no matter the size, you need to have specialized equipment. Can you imagine trying to cook 20 leg of lamb, along with 10 pork loin roasts, and five sirloin beef roasts simultaneously? Your typical kitchen couldn’t handle it. A commercial kitchen needs to have bigger ovens, and more of them. Other equipment includes both large and small appliances such as blenders, choppers, food processors, grills, stovetop ranges, microwaves and warming plates. Of course, you’ll need plenty of cooking utensils, plates, etc. All of these need to be commercial grade. This means all of your equipment needs to be a higher standard than your typical kitchen items. You should be able to find everything you need from a reputable restaurant supply store.
This is critical in all kitchens, but particularly in commercial kitchens. You don’t want to give your customers food poisoning because the food wasn’t at the right temperature. Your refrigeration systems should be monitored regularly and should provide consistent cooling. Your staff should be trained on how to properly prep and store food, and they should follow proper food handling procedures at all times. Also, consider that improper food storage could lead to unnecessary waste. Reducing waste is a win-win for everyone, and will help you reduce costs as well.
Cleaning a commercial kitchen can be more complex than a simple home kitchen. Cleaning procedures should be followed according to health and safety guidelines as set out by your government regulatory body. Special industrial and commercial cleaners should be used, and the kitchen should be cleaned at several points throughout the day, depending on how much food is prepared. Special charcoal blocks are typically used for grills. For washing utensils and patron’s dishes, you would need a two compartment sink and/or commercial-grade dishwashers to effectively clean the volume of used items coming in and out of the kitchen.
Again, you’ll have to refer to your health and safety regulatory body to ensure you are following proper guidelines. Inspections will take place at regular intervals to ensure you are following proper procedures. Fire extinguishers, electrical outlets, sprinkler systems and other safety equipment will need to be installed and your staff should be well trained on how to use them in case of emergencies.
Owning a restaurant or other food business can be an exciting and rewarding venture. There are several things to consider, though, before you make the leap. Invest in commercial-grade equipment and make sure your professional kitchen is equipped to handle the influx of orders and customers that come in. It’s a lot of hard work, but it will be well worth it.