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A Guide to Organising Your Catering Equipment

22 Feb 2022, 5:45 PM

A Guide To Organising Your Catering Equipment

Organising your catering equipment is vital for optimising efficiency in your kitchen. When you and your team know exactly where everything is and can move through the kitchen with ease, your service is guaranteed to run smoother and faster. Further, an organised kitchen will help you to maintain good health and safety practises to keep both staff and customers safe. In this article, we'll share some essential kitchen and restaurant organisation tips to help your business operate as efficiently as possible.

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Choose The Right Equipment For Your Restaurant

The first step in kitchen and restaurant organisation is to choose kitchen equipment that is fit for purpose. Ensure your ovens, fryers, fridges, dishwashers and all other devices are the right size to suit the maximum volumes at which they'll be operating. Restaurants should also take into account the maximum number of diners they'll be serving at full capacity, while mobile catering businesses ought to consider the maximum size of the events they'll be serving. If at peak periods your kitchen is unable to turn out orders fast enough, it might be time to upgrade to larger equipment.

You should also consider the functionality of your kitchen equipment. Where possible, opt for equipment that can fulfil multiple different tasks in order to cut down on the number of individual machines you require. For example, some combination ovens can bake, roast, poach, steam, grill, and shallow fry. With all these cooking methods being handled by a single piece of equipment, you can have more space in your kitchen for storing food and other catering supplies. The more space your kitchen has, the more flexibility you have in your kitchen layout to optimise your workflow and efficiency.

Optimising Your Kitchen Layout

The layout of your restaurant plays an important role in the efficiency of your kitchen, particularly if you're working with a small or unusually shaped space. You'll want to be able to move seamlessly between food storage and preparation, to cooking and serving, and then to cleaning and washing. It can be helpful to divide the kitchen up into different sections for each of these elements and to have a clear system for the way that food and equipment move through these different processes.

You should aim to store your kitchen equipment and supplies close to the relevant sections in which they will be used. For example, the likes of food processors and mixers will be in the food prep section, close to your kitchen storage area with fridges and freezers. Knives, pans and utensils will be in the cooking section close to the range or griddle, and plates and bowls will be stacked up in the serving section. Dishwashers and glass washers should be as far away as possible from the food prep area in order to minimise the risk of contamination.

Set Up An Efficient Workflow System

When you set up your kitchen it can be helpful to adhere to some specific rules that will support efficiency. For example, set up food prep, cooking, and serving stations so that chefs move as little as possible when completing their tasks. They should have everything they need to hand without having to move around the kitchen too much.

You should also define walkways and keep these clear for staff at all times, as this will allow staff to move quickly through the kitchen and reduce the risk of accidents. Cleaning accessories should be filled, run and emptied continuously throughout the service. This ensures clean crockery, glassware and kitchen utensils are always on hand, and avoids the risk of surfaces getting cluttered with dirty pots.

Optimise Your Kitchen Storage Space

There are plenty of clever storage solutions available to help you save space in your kitchen and keep track of inventory. Things like can racks can help to store heavy, bulky cans in an accessible way that aids with stock rotation. Ingredient bins with castors can also make access to dry ingredients much easier than dealing with big, bulky and heavy bags. Wall-mounted kitchen shelving could be used to free up counter space and make use of empty wall space above countertops, and mobile shelving units can allow you to optimise the food prep process by allowing chefs to bring stock or catering supplies to different workstations as needed.

You could add additional shelves or baskets in your refrigerator to store more items, and use shelf labels and tags to manage stock. Kitchen labelling is vital for a smooth-running kitchen, as it helps to keep track of use-by dates to support good food safety practises, and it makes it easier to reduce food wastage by making sure produce is used well before it expires.

Keeping The Essential Equipment

It's easy for commercial kitchens to acquire catering supplies and equipment over the years and not use all of it. Perhaps something was bought for the preparation of a specific dish that is no longer on the menu, or perhaps the equipment was inherited when the business was purchased but serves no purpose for the new owner. Whatever the reason, having excess catering supplies leads to a build-up of unused tools that take up space and get in the way.

It can be helpful to have a good clear out of your equipment now and again to ensure you're not operating your kitchen around unnecessary clutter. If a large piece of equipment hasn't been used for several months, consider getting rid of it. When it comes to smaller items like utensils, periodically gather everything up into one storage container. When an item is used, return it to its usual storage spot. After a set period of time - perhaps a week or a month - see what's left in the storage container. These items are obviously used so little that you can consider getting rid of them to free up space in your kitchen.

Organising Your Restaurant Kitchen

If your kitchen needs a revamp with some new kitchen equipment and catering supplies, then look no further than the providers here at the Restaurant Store. With a great range of storage solutions, the catering essentials and other kitchen products, we can help you organise your restaurant kitchen for maximum efficiency.

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