We will use the term “prep areas” to refer to meal planning. After all, in most kitchens there are many more activities besides cooking. Here are some of the main job sections you can find.
The manufacturing area is where raw (or processed) food begins its journey to its final destination: the diner’s plate. Sometimes referred to as pre-prep, this is where we shred the best cuts of beef, clean and fillet fish, carve up chicken, open boxes of fresh produce, and decide what goes into storage and what gets shipped to the other parts of the prep region. . When planning for each region, start with a flowchart to determine which features should be included.
If the restaurant plans to handle its own meat cutting tasks (and many do to save money), it will need space for a sink, heavy cutting board, portion scales, meat slicers, mincers, and slicers. Some of these items can be placed on mobile carts and shared with other kitchen locations.
Within the preparation region, food is sorted into individual servings or batches. The tenderloin we trim in the manufacturing area is cut into steaks, the lettuce and tomatoes are diced for the salad assembly, the shrimp are battered or peeled. Ingredients are also mixed: meat pies, salad dressings, casseroles. Salad and vegetable preparation areas are found in almost every food service setting. They are busy places and your focus should be on efficiency. When designing the layout, remember the need for work tables, compartment sinks, refrigerators, and mechanical equipment. Order a few work tables with wells for food and condiments that are cooled from below with ice, allowing for easy access. One prep area with unique requirements is the pantry, a term that encompasses both food planning and decorating.
The pantry region is the source of cold foods: cold appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, salads, pates, sandwiches, etc. Obviously, refrigeration is of the utmost importance here, as is knife storage and space for small and handheld appliances: potato mashers, salad spinners, graters, portable mixers, blenders, juicers. Color-coded bowls, cutting boards, knives, scrub brushes, and even dish towels help prevent cross-contamination between various types of raw foods.
Yes, it’s finally time to do some cooking, inside the production area. This region is divided into hot food planning, generally known as a hotline, and cold food preparation, known as a pantry. Manufacturing
it can be the heart of the kitchen area, and all other places are meant to support it.
As its name suggests, the holding region can be one where food is kept hot or cold until needed. The waiting area takes on varying degrees of importance in various types of food service operations. Basically, the greater the amount of food produced, the more critical the need for waiting space becomes. For banquet service and in cafeterias and hospitals, food must be prepared well in advance and stored at the proper temperature. In fast food restaurants, the demand is not as good but it still exists.
The final activity in the staging area is the assembly of each item in an order. At a fast food place, the work table is where the burgers are dressed and wrapped and the fries are bagged. In an a la carte restaurant, it may be the cook’s side of the walk-through window, where the steak and baked potato are placed on the same plate and garnished. Again, in large scale food service operations, large scale assembly takes up much more space.
The menu and type of cooking you do will determine the composition of your region of manufacture. Will you need a manufacturing region if yours is a fast food franchise that primarily uses prepackaged convenience foods?
By contrast, cooking “from scratch” will likely require a lot of space for prep, baking, and storage. Batch cooking or preparing multiple servings at once will also affect space allocation. Finally, the number of meals served in a given time period should be a factor in your room planning. Your kitchen area should be able to operate at full capacity with plenty of room for everyone to function efficiently. For a hotel with banquet facilities and for an intimate 75-seat bistro, this means very different things.