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How to organize a professional kitchen service from scratch

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Organizing a professional kitchen is the most important stage for an establishment. Restaurateur’s success depends on it.

This article was written with the help of chef Serhii Holovaichuk, technologist and restaurateur Oksana Cherepanych and co-owner of the “Mamont” restaurant Serhii Shashurin.

So, where should you begin?

Come up with a concept for your establishment, develop a menu. It’s the first step every successful restaurateur starts from. If you’ve never worked at the professional kitchen before or if this is your first establishment – make sure to opt in for the help of a specialist. Yes, you can save money at this stage, do everything yourself. In the future, however, this will most definitely result in losses.

Let’s assume you’re a sagacious businessman and has made a decision to seek for a consultation. Who do you need? A chef, a food processing technologist or a consulting company. Make sure to ask for recommendations and reviews. There’s too much that depends on the qualification level to neglect it.

Explain your vision of your future establishment. What should it be like? A restaurant, a bar, a café? Will it serve Italian cuisine, be a third wave coffee house or a craft brewery? Describe your vision in details. Help the professionals understand the task, let them be on the same wavelength with you. They can’t read minds, so be sincere. You’re paying for this.

So, you’ve decided on the concept and the menu of the establishment. What’s next?

Do you have the premises already? Do you own them or rent them? Or are you still looking for suitable ones? Make sure they have a three-phase power system. Most of the professional equipment operates at 380 volts. Add this to the list of requirements before you start your search. If you’ve found premises with a two-phase system, try to negotiate a compensation with the lessor for the power system conversion or ask them to do this for you. This requires time and money. Take care of this.

Let’s get to planning. This stage will require the help of another specialist – an architect or a designer, or both. It would be even better if it`s the same person. A kitchen that was planned without a chef will have to be redone in 99% of cases. Planning has to be done by a person with kitchen experience. The ideal situation would be if this person will also work at this kitchen. During the planning phase, every specialist will take aspects of their own qualification into account: a chef will take care of the practical side of things, a designer will take care of the aesthetics, an architect will make sure everything conforms to the standards. With this approach, you will not do or buy anything unnecessary, extremely high-powered or overly big. The kitchen itself will end up being pretty and convenient. Remember, your goal is not to fill the empty space but to use it properly.

You’ve got the kitchen layout in your hands. Now you need equipment. Where and what should you buy?

Let’s start with what you shouldn’t buy. Forget about domestic appliances. They break within a few weeks under constant load. Equipment failure halts the establishment’s operation. It often happens at the most inopportune moments. Do not allow this to happen.

Used equipment may be considered as an option if there’s a way to service it. Let’s say, you’ve found a good but used oven at a nice price. Find a place where you’ll be able to service it. If there’s no such place then forget about buying it. Otherwise, what are you going to do with it if it starts malfunctioning?

Give preference to new and tested. Price is important, but not so much for you to waste your money. Search the Internet for information, compare specifications, warranty service terms, check reviews and recommendations from buyers. Make the chef involved in the process of choosing the right equipment, he’s the one who’s going to be working with it after all. Consult your fellow restaurateurs, find out their opinions about the equipment.

Strictly follow the list, don’t buy anything superfluous. You’re going to have to work through the menu next, do a test run. Maybe you’ll end up buying something else in addition to items in your list, but don’t rush it until the launch.

Hooray! The kitchen is ready, we did it!

But wait, there’s another important detail. Professional equipment is not as easy-to-use as domestic appliances. Before your personnel starts working at the kitchen, they must be trained to work with it. You can do this on your own or, once again, seek for the help of your faithful aide – the chef. Training personnel is his duty. Save all the manuals, don’t be ashamed to bother the seller, search the Internet for information, consult with specialists. It’s your establishment, your money and your success.

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