Most commercial kitchens and restaurants might already have a fair idea that hygiene is crucial to the functioning of their establishment. This point could not be more stressed upon especially in 2020 during the ongoing COVID crisis. A multitude of such commercial kitchens had to ramp up the sanitation game while planning their commercial kitchen operations to ensure customers receive a safe meal.
But what does this entail for anyone who is looking to undertake commercial kitchen design for their establishment? Hygiene is more than maintaining a clean work space. There are numerous variables that blend in with the concept that can make the operation smoother or hinder progress. In this post, we’ll talk about some of these factors and choosing a good hygiene strategy for your commercial kitchen.
Avoid contact in the commercial kitchen spaces as much as possible. Having cooks and chefs distance themselves in the kitchen. This ensures that safety bubbles are in place within the kitchen. But what about going contactless outside the kitchen? Numerous restaurants have now started contactless service alongside the existing hygiene protocols. Food is served on a tray sans touching the tables or customers directly, avoiding even the slightest bits of contact. Paper menus have long since been replaced by digital menus, and contactless payment in 2020 skyrocketed. In a survey done by lifestyle company Dineout, nearly 81% of consumers wanted to dine outside of their homes post lockdown provided that all service in the establishments were contactless, including payments. Surely anyone looking at a new commercial kitchen design would want to consider going contactless too.
This is a no-brainer in commercial kitchen design. Segregating produce, utensils and final products in designated zones avoids cross contamination. A simple solution to what would otherwise be a very serious issue. Cross contamination is what has caused diseases to spread in the past. Taco Bell’s E.coli outbreak in 2006 is a well documented example of what happens when food gets contaminated from any source. Wearing protective clothing and shields in the kitchen is an extension of cross contamination; changing into clean work clothes and aprons in the kitchen ensures that cooks do not cross contaminate their dishes from outside. While a PPE kit might be overkill in a situation like this, a mask, gloves and hairnet are essential.
Another no brainer. Thoroughly washing utensils (again, in separate bays) makes your entire commercial kitchen operation faster and cleaner. There are various techniques to clean up your utensils that make use of varied utilities but it all comes down to the constraints in your available area and budget. Dishwashers would make short work of all utensils for instance, but are expensive and not easy to work with. The correct implementation for your kitchen is something that a commercial kitchen planner could help with.
Another rule that is associated with cross contamination; if you don’t preserve your produce the right way, it becomes very easy for harmful microorganisms to reproduce and spread through the air. Using appropriate containers for food storage is a simple solution especially for meat or dairy. Preserving produce in a cold storage also goes a long way in making food last along with keeping food safe.
A rule that we all tend to forget: Food must be served hot. There is a rule in commercial kitchen design known as avoiding the danger zone (storing food between 5 and 50 degrees celsius). Ideally, food should be served at around 70 degrees. Overheating also ruins things for you, however, so do keep in mind the upper limit as well.
When it comes to maintaining a sanitary environment, it’s always a good habit to practice sustainability. Whether it’s avoiding the usage of single-use plastic or maintaining good quality, long lasting and separate utensils for separate dishes. Repurposing food by reheating is also a no-no; while it may seem like you are avoiding wastage and saving costs, there are various health downsides to this. A better sustainable practice is simply using smaller portion sizes and planning menus far ahead in time. The benefits of picking a sustainable commercial kitchen design might not seem apparent immediately, but definitely noticeable over time.
HPG Consulting has heralded projects of designing and establishing commercial kitchens with well-known organizations such as Taj & Carlson, Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Apollo Hospital, Artemis Hospital, Step by Step, Google, IIM, Mainland China, etc.
For further clarification on designing a commercial kitchen, get in touch with the kitchen consultants at HPG Consulting today.