Planning and installing an efficient and cost effective hotel kitchen design

Elaine Powis of Sterling Foodservice Design explains the key points to remember when designing your hotel kitchen.

There is a large amount of preparation and planning to be done before the equipment is chosen and installed, no matter the size of the establishment’s kitchen.

• Legislation
The premises must be designed so that there is a continuous safe progression of food from delivery to storage, through to preparation and the finished product being served at the correct temperature, all in order to prevent cross contamination.

• Deliver • Store • Prepare • Cook • Serve • Wash Up • Waste Out = the correct flow

A well planned kitchen should take into consideration all relevant legislation pertaining to the catering industry: HACCP, Food Hygiene Regulations 2006, Food Safety Act 1990, Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, Equality Act 2010 to name but a few.  Also do not forget the necessary storage areas with the correct temperatures for frozen and chilled items, fruit and vegetables, dry goods, non food stuffs, cleaning materials and food/recyclable waste. This will also include ice of any kind which is now defined as food, and any areas where it is stored/served should be treated and considered as food areas.

The catering staff facilities should be located separately from the catering areas and the toilets be for their sole use only. Installation of knee operated hand wash basins, sensor operated taps and paper towels/hand dryers, disposable gloves and aprons throughout the operation will also mitigate the risk of cross contamination. If you have any doubts then contact your local environmental health officer (EHO) for advice.

• Spacial Planning
It is dependent upon your volume of business, menu, served in the dining room, bar area or for room service which can influence your choice of equipment plus it is also determined by the availability of your power supply. Another factor is the room size available for your tasks which allows for safe effective workflows and it is essential to ensure that door openings of cupboards, access doors and equipment etc., do not encroach into the minimum 1200mm wide walkways.

• Area finishes
Floors, walls and ceiling finishes should be easily cleanable by the staff or contractor on a pre-determined schedule. Floor finishes must be impervious, non-absorbent, washable and non toxic: vinyl, tiled or resin all with surface drainage where necessary. Walls can be painted, tiled or lined with hygienic UPVC cladding with corner guards as required. Ceilings in catering areas must be non combustible, smooth, impervious, of a non shredding material thus preventing the growth of mould.  Cleanable overhead lighting fixtures providing 500 LUX over the preparation and cooking areas and 300 LUX elsewhere, with the inclusion of emergency lighting.

• Equipment including ventilation, fire safety, water supply and FOG (fats, oils and grease) elimation
It is preferable if all equipment, excluding fryers but including fabricated items and racking, are mounted on castors for ease of servicing and cleaning the area and the castors must also be kept clean.  Tiered adjustable wall shelves and wall cupboards will free up space underneath the work surface for refrigeration, dishwasher, ice maker, water filters etc., especially if space is tight.

There is a myriad of equipment available to suit your menu and budget but check there is a Warranty, who provides the servicing and what is the breakdown cover response time.

Choose equipment which can multi task i.e. combination ovens bake, steam, roast, are stackable and preferably self cleaning so are ideal.  The use of Induction, which is now widely available, as a table top or drop in hob, wok, plancha grill, hotplate and including an oven in a range, is cost effective, safe to use, provides a cleaner more pleasant environment and reduces ventilation costs.

The ventilation flow rates will be calculated based on the HVCA Specification For Kitchen Ventilation Systems DW/172 for both canopy and ventilated ceiling installations. It is imperative that heat and steam be removed from all areas including the wash up, normally by installing a canopy, and replacement air should be supplied mechanically as open windows/doors contravene the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1999.  Also consider an approved and certified to LPS 1223 Automatic Fire Suppression System for peace of mind.

By installing a theatre style showcase kitchen, whereby the clientele can see the chefs at work cooking their meal, will add value to their experience and possibly result in a return visit.  In this situation a ventilated ceiling, which also contains the discreet automatic fire suppression system, allows a clear uninterrupted view and the induction range gives instant heat only when required.  All noisy, as in dishwashing, and dirty operations such as vegetable preparation, are carried out in areas where they cannot be seen from the dining room and the dividing walls absorb the sound.

Any equipment including combination ovens, pasta cookers, beverage machines, ice makers which are connected to a water supply need a water filter to remove harmful calcium and magnesium as these could be detrimental to persons on a low sodium diet.  Therefore under counter space must be considered for the filters but dishwashers are often supplied with an integral water softener.

Another area which needs clarification is if your local water authority allows the use of inset sink waste disposal units as the fats, oils and grease contained in the waste food can cause environmental pollution, sewer blockages and flooding and rodent infestation.  It is avoidable by installing a grease trap under the sink or arranging for the collection and disposal/recycling of all kitchen waste. 

Fly killers which are electrical must never be mounted over a food work surface as the flies disintegrate on contact with the elements and their debris, which is undetectable to the naked eye, is a source of E-coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Klebsiella, Streptococci and Meningitis.  A safer option is the glue board type.

We recommend that smaller and independent hotels should be advised by a professional foodservice design consultant who will take into account your initial brief and budget limit then incorporate the following requirements into the design, which will need to  meet with your approval.

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