When the time comes to start planning the layout of your commercial kitchen, the goal is always to create a space that not only encourages efficient operations in the Back of House (BoH), but also maximizes areas in the Front of House (FoH). Achieving this requires a delicate balance: a kitchen big enough for your staff to work safely and comfortably to serve your guests, but not so large that it wastes space otherwise put to better use for other purposes.
Finding that balance is not always a simple task, though.
A common reference point many restaurant owners use is the average size of other commercial kitchens. This can serve as a guide for some operations, but there are other metrics that may prove more useful.
According to a recent poll, which surveyed more than 700 restaurants in the United States, the average size of a commercial kitchen is 1,051 square feet.
When it comes to creating the layout of your kitchen, however, this may be more of a fun fact than a meaningful measurement that should guide such an important decision. That’s because this survey polled hundreds of restaurants, of all shapes and sizes. It should come as no surprise, then, that a 1,000-square-foot kitchen may work well for one operation, but be much too big or small for another.
So how do you get a more reliable sense of what kitchen size would work best for your restaurant?
A stronger metric is not to judge your kitchen by the average size of other kitchens, but by the number of guests you plan to serve at any given time. The rule of thumb for this is to allocate at least five square feet for every seat in your FoH.
So, for a restaurant serving 30 people at a time, 150 square feet should suit your needs. Designing a kitchen for a large hotel dining room serving up to 400 guests per sitting? You may want to ensure you have at least 2,000 square feet for the kitchen, or else your staff might not be able to meet demand.
Following this methodology, most foodservice businesses find they have enough room to carry out activities effectively, without taking up unnecessary space.
A rule of thumb is just that, though. It should not be used as the final word. Every operation is different and will have unique needs. Working with a kitchen design expert can help you determine exactly what size commercial kitchen is right for you.