Now Serving: Kitchen and Facilities Design in Hospitality

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Monday, May 12, 2014


IN THE hospitality industry where competition is cutthroat, restaurateurs and practitioners understand that good design is a distinctive competitive advantage. When a theme and a concept is brought to life, several factors are considered like kitchen layout and design, energy efficiency, conservation of natural resources while getting the most effective use of available space. A very well-thought out and planned restaurant, kitchen design and layout and concept execution should maximize the workflow and work process, but also should enhance the dining experience. Small but significant touches contribute to the overall mise-en-scene of the restaurant.

But before we can even begin to design the kitchen and the facilities of any food service, outlet or restaurant, or function venue, we need to plan for the most important requirement without which, the kitchen and facilities design would be futile. Before any huge undertaking can begin, or before anyone can venture into food business, the most important requisite first, and foremost, is: the menu / recipe. After the recipe… everything follows.

The menu is undoubtedly the primary starting point for use by the designer. The type(s) of food on the menu will influence the kitchen and facilities design and layout including the concept and theme. It is vital that the kitchen and dining areas work well in tandem. How? There are several considerations. The seating capacity, whether there is a bar or not, the sizes and the numbers of service stations all figure prominently in creating that seamless relationship that allows the kitchen to turn out the best product in sufficient quantities to satisfy diners and guests.

The design process is very much a team effort. Members of the design team will depend on the budget and magnitude of the project or undertaking and should include: An architect (with engineering, mechanical, electrical, and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning [HVAC] professional advisers), An interior designer, A kitchen designer, A foodservice consultant, A general contractor, with construction crew (builders, plumbers, painters, electricians, roofers, etc.) More complex jobs may include other types of specialists—lighting, landscaping, acoustics, kitchen exhaust consultants, and so on. Equipment suppliers usually offer design services, but you should not rely solely on their recommendations.

The Design team should support each others’ strengths. It should base its design and purchase decisions for china, flatware, furniture, fixture and equipment depend on the menu/recipe/concept that consider the real-life intricacies and practicalities of running a restaurant. Each team member should be aware of the budget constraints and prioritize and decide which can be afforded now and those which must wait until later, after considering existing inventory or capacity. (Katsigiris & Thomas: 2009)
The professional team is essential in contributing creativity, expertise, knowledge of industry trends, and familiarity with the construction and decorating crews it will take to get the job done. However, the team’s most important contribution may be objectivity. Often the new restaurateur is so captivated by an idea that he or she loses the ability to judge accurately what will work best for the dining public.

Together, they can manage to incorporate both big-picture elements and small-picture touches that reflect the concept, theme and design, and these must be timely echoed to team members who all must be working under the same assumptions and heading in the same direction. A design program will aid the team in achieving this goal. The design program covers the details and all the criteria and assumptions on which the restaurant design will be based. From entryway to receiving dock, it should specify the equipment and flow patterns necessary to operate the outlet or function venue.

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Public service vs self-service

Each of us are uniquely designed. Applying the same principles in kitchen design to human conduct is no different but a little more complex. While the menu or recipe is the starting point for kitchen design, human conduct is spurred and driven by values and their agenda. The values of a good leader in rendering efficient governance stems from a unique set of core values that serve as a guiding principle. Honesty, Integrity, Delicadeza, Commitment to Excellence… these values are slowly diminishing in the multitude, and we need more leaders that possess these core values in these changing times where most motivation for foraying into politics is money and greed. Such an awful brand of commerce that leave a bad taste in the mouth. Unassailable character is a now a rare commodity. With the loss of one good public servant, the true colors of self-serving politicians are born.

We can be better than this. We can do so much more than this. We do not need any more political nefarious designs. We need better planners and strategists, and leaders that will execute these plans.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 13, 2014.

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