February 06, 2024

Commercial Kitchen Layout and Design Examples & Ideas


A commercial kitchen is the heart of any restaurant business, as it’s the space where the food is prepared, cooked, and served to the customers. A well-designed commercial kitchen layout can make a huge difference in the efficiency, productivity, and profitability of your restaurant. It goes beyond aesthetics, influencing food quality, customer satisfaction, and the overall morale of your staff.

In this article, we’ll delve into the key considerations for designing a commercial kitchen, its core components, the popular types of commercial kitchen layouts, and practical tips for crafting your own commercial kitchen design. We will also look at some real-world examples of successful restaurants that have implemented these layouts.

Understanding the Core Components of a Commercial Kitchen

A commercial kitchen consists of four main areas: storage, washing, preparation, and cooking. Each serves a distinct function and demands a strategic layout to ensure smooth operations, minimise waste, and prevent cross-contamination.

Storage, Washing, and Preparation Areas

The storage area is where the raw ingredients and supplies are stored. Equipped with refrigerators, freezers, dry storage, and shelving units, it’s ideally positioned near the delivery entrance and the preparation area. Ventilation and sufficient space are paramount to preserve food freshness and safety.

Next is the washing area, where the dishes, utensils, and equipment undergo cleaning. Outfitted with sinks, dishwashers, and drying racks, this is strategically located near the cooking and service stations, requiring enough space and water supply to handle the volume of dishes.

Lastly, the preparation area, which includes worktables, cutting boards, knives, mixers, and other tools, is where the food is washed, cut, mixed, and seasoned. It bridges the gap between the storage and cooking areas, necessitating adequate space and lighting for efficient food preparation.

Cooking and Service Stations

Now, let’s move to the cooking area, the heart of the operation. Here, stoves, ovens, grills, fryers, and various appliances come into play. It should be located near the service and ventilation zones, with sufficient space and a reliable power supply for smooth operation.

Finally, there’s the service station, where the finishing touches are applied, and food is plated and served. Featuring counters, trays, warmers, and accessories, this area should be situated close to both the cooking and dining areas, with ample space and equipment to keep the food hot and appealing.

Exploring Popular Kitchen Layout Types

When it comes to commercial kitchen design, various layouts cater to different restaurant types. The choice hinges on factors like space size and shape, menu complexity, staff size and expertise, and owner preferences. Here’s a rundown of prevalent commercial kitchen layouts:

Assembly Line and Island Layouts

The assembly line layout suits high-traffic spots like fast-food joints and sandwich shops. It arranges equipment linearly, mirroring the food prep order for swift production and delivery. A similar but circular approach characterises the island layout, ideal for diverse menus in fine-dining venues and cafeterias, promoting staff interaction and coordination.

Zone-Style and Galley Layouts

The zone-style layout fits moderate to high-volume eateries with varied menus like bistros and family restaurants. It divides the kitchen into dedicated zones for specific functions or cuisines, fostering flexibility and creativity. A streamlined version, the galley layout complements smaller spaces like cafes and diners, optimising efficiency by arranging zones along parallel walls.

Open Kitchen Concept

A modern and trendy commercial kitchen layout is the open kitchen concept, offering a transparent and interactive dining experience. Integrating the kitchen with the dining area, it utilises glass walls, counters, or bars for separation. Customers witness food preparation, cooking, and serving, encouraging trust and satisfaction while elevating the restaurant’s overall atmosphere.

Key Considerations in Kitchen Design

Designing a commercial kitchen demands meticulous planning, considering factors that profoundly impact functionality. Here are some of the key considerations in commercial kitchen design:

Ergonomics for Staff Efficiency

Ergonomics, the science of workplace planning for staff well-being, is pivotal in kitchen design. Adapting equipment height and positioning, providing ample space, optimal lighting, and proper ventilation enhance comfort and safety, reducing fatigue and errors.

Space Utilisation and Staff Communication

Space utilisation is the art of optimising the available space and resources to achieve maximum efficiency and output. It involves arranging equipment logically, eliminating redundancies, and utilising vertical spaces effectively. When running a kitchen, clean and unobstructed paths for staff movement and communication are critical.

Safety Protocols and Health Code Compliance

In any restaurant business, safety protocols and health code compliance are paramount for staff, customers, and property protection. Implementing fire safety measures, slip-resistant flooring, and robust sanitation systems, along with proper food handling procedures, ensures a safe and hygienic environment for your industrial kitchen.

Practical Tips for Designing Your Kitchen

Embarking on the journey to design your commercial kitchen is both a challenge and an opportunity for creative expression. Below are practical tips to guide you through the process:

  • Know Your Market: Research and analyse your target market, menu, and concept to determine the optimal size and type of commercial kitchen layout for your restaurant.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Consult with a seasoned commercial kitchen designer or contractor to gain valuable insights into the technical and legal aspects of your project.
  • Visualise Your Layout: Sketch and visualise your commercial kitchen design, either on paper or using software, to experiment with various ideas and configurations.
  • Mock-Up Testing: Test and evaluate your industrial kitchen design through a mock-up or prototype, identifying and addressing any issues or challenges.
  • Continuous Improvement: Review and revise your commercial kitchen layout as needed, ensuring it aligns with your expectations and goals throughout the design process.

Real-World Examples and Case Studies

To inspire and motivate you, here are some real-world examples and case studies of successful restaurants that have implemented different types of commercial kitchen layouts:

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill: This global fast-food giant employs the assembly line layout, organising its kitchen linearly to align with the food preparation process. The staff operates with speed and efficiency, responding promptly to customer orders and feedback.
  • Momofuku Noodle Bar: Famed for its delectable ramen offerings, this popular restaurant opts for the island layout. Featuring a central cooking island where noodles are boiled and seasoned, the kitchen promotes a circular, collaborative workflow. Stations surrounding the island, including broth, meat, and garnish, ensure a tailored approach to customer preferences.
  • Pastel: An upscale Canadian dining experience, Pastel embraces the open kitchen concept, integrating its kitchen with the dining area and separating the two with a transparent glass wall. This design allows customers to witness the meticulous process of food preparation and interact with Executive Chef Jason Morris and his team. The transparent and friendly staff dynamics align seamlessly with the restaurant’s ethos and values, contributing to Pastel’s recognition among Canada’s top 100 restaurants with rave reviews from both critics and patrons.


The layout of your commercial kitchen is a pivotal element influencing your restaurant’s success. It wields a direct impact on operational efficiency, food quality, and overall profitability. Thus, careful consideration of space, equipment, menu, staff, and budget is paramount when designing your industrial kitchen.

Beyond design, if you’re thinking about expanding your business, get in touch with Freshlane. We’re a cloud kitchen provider that offers affordable and convenient kitchen spaces for delivery-only restaurants in Hong Kong. Freshlane’s facilities are located in four strategic districts—Sai Ying Pun, Wan Chai, North Point, and Tsuen Wan—and are equipped with modern technology and facilities to help restaurants grow their business and reach more customers. Tap into the booming food delivery market in Hong Kong without a huge financial investment or operational hassle today, and contact us to learn more!

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