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Restaurant Kitchen Layouts
How to design an industrial kitchen
27 August, 2020 by
Restaurant Kitchen Layouts
Manase Tsebe

Which industrial kitchen layout is right for your restaurant?

The kitchen is the heart of any restaurant.  A well designed and functional kitchen is a pivotal part of a successful business.  There is no one-size-fits-all solution to restaurant design. Ultimately, it's the kitchen operation and goals that help determine your industrial kitchen layout, therefore, the best kitchen layouts are customised to specific operations for a good workflow in the kitchen that will allow Back of House (BOH) staff to move around smoothly from food preparation to meal cooking and then to service area for the front of house staff to serve guests.

A great industrial kitchen layout enables the Back of House (BOH) staff to produce high-quality meals efficiently and consistently.

In this blog you will learn:

  • The five types of commercial kitchen layouts.

  • The five key components of an industrial kitchen.

5 Types of Industrial kitchen layouts

Now that you understand the components of a functional industrial kitchen, and have thought about elements such as safety and ergonomics, 
it’s time to start designing your restaurant’s kitchen. Take inspiration from these five popular industrial kitchen layouts. 

  1. Island layout 

  2. Assembly line layout

  3. Zone-style layout 

  4. Galley layout

  5. Open kitchen layout

1. Island Layout

This type of layout entails placing all your cooking station such as stoves, grills, fryers and other meal cooking equipment in the centre of the kitchen, all assembled into one module forming an 'island' in the centre of the kitchen. The storage units, food prep counters and cleaning area such as ovens, dishwashers, upright fridges & freezers are placed around the perimeters of the kitchen walls. 

The openness of this type of layout facilitates easy flow of movement, cleaning, staff communication, and executive chef supervision.

Island style Kitchen Layout

Watch a real-life island-style kitchen in action 


2. Assembly Line Layout

The assembly line layout is all food prep processes positioned in one long row, it begins with ingredients preparation, cooking, frying and ends with a plated finished product. It is similar to the well-known automobile manufacturing assembly line.  The food preparation step is assembled one after the other while the storage and washing station are placed behind the assembly line. 

This is ideal for large kitchens producing large quantities of the same meal or with a small menu such as correctional services and soup kitchens. 

Assembly line Kitchen Layout


Watch a real-life assembly-line kitchen in action 


3. Zone-style Layout

The zone style configuration has the kitchen set up into zones along the walls of the kitchen for different activities.  Each zone has a specific function such as preparing soup, salad, frying and cooking meat, this layout breaks down the cooking preparation into smaller parts for efficiency. These stations are set up in an orderly manner for increased workflow. 

This type of layout is ideal for huge kitchens with large quantities of meals to prepare and meals to prepare such as catering kitchens, large hotels with banquet service or dark kitchens where specialised chefs can be placed at each station instead of one cooking station preparing all dishes. 

Zone-Style Kitchen Layout

4. Galley Layout

The Galley kitchen layout has stations and equipment set up on one or both sides of the perimeter of the kitchen, leaving a long narrow path in between for kitchen staff to move around. This is ideal for very small kitchens such as food containers or food trucks.  

Galley kitchen Layout

5. Open Kitchen Layout

The open kitchen layout has no wall separating customers from the kitchen, it allows customers to see the chefs in action, with the cooking station in the open near the customer seats. This type of layout is very entertaining for guests and builds the trust of the guests as they see the chefs and cooks preparing meals in front of them.  For safety concerns, allow at least metres between the station and guests' table and seats. 

This is ideal for maximising small restaurant space and for a high-end fine dining restaurant.

Open kitchen layout

5 components of an Industrial Kitchen

Every Kitchen needs to have the following elements for a proper set-up: 

  1. Storage/Receiving

  2. Cleaning/Washing 

  3. Food preparation 

  4. Meal cooking 

  5. Service area

1. Storage/Receiving

This section can be divided into non-food, dry storage, and cold storage. It is also the area for receiving kitchen inventory from suppliers. The section is the first component in order of importance as this is where you receive your raw material and cooking utensils to perform the job.

The non-food storage is usually cutlery and glass holders, where you store cooking utensils, cleaning supplies such as knives, cutlery, glass and dishwashing liquids. The dry storage is where you keep dry foods such as flour, legumes and grains, it is important to keep your food storage separate from any chemical storage to avoid any contamination. The cold storage is in the form of fridges and freezers, where you keep cold food or ingredients such as milk, yoghurts, sorbets, ice creams to ensure optimal storage conditions.

2. Cleaning/Washing station

The washing station consists of industrial dishwashing machines and dry racks such as a hood-type dishwasher for cleaning glasses and plates efficiency or rack conveyor dishwasher for high-volume dishes.

This section should be near the entrance of the restaurant kitchen for waiters to quickly drop off dirty plates and glasses, and near the storage area for dishes to e quickly stored immediately after being washed.

3. Food preparation

The food preparation takes place on counter tables and consists of appliances such as a pacojet, pasta machine, cutting tools, salad and dough mixers. This section should have a food washing area for cleaning the produce, a food preparation area for sorting your chopped raw fruits and vegetables, and a food preparation area for cutting 

This section should be near the entrance of the restaurant kitchen for waiters to quickly drop off dirty plates and glasses, and near the storage area for dishes to e quickly stored immediately after being washed.

4. Meal cooking

This area is where the cooking is done, it consists of gas and electric modular ranges of stoves, fryers, grills and baking ovens. An extractor is also required to reduce condensation and extract particles in the kitchen atmosphere - it also a requirement by South African law. The meal cooking area is usually set up the exit of the kitchen for waiters to receive dishes while they're still hot.

4. Service

The service area in an industrial kitchen is where waiters collect their plated dishes to serve to customers. This is the last and front-end of the restaurant kitchen. In the case of a buffet set up, the service area would have food display units for customers to either get served or serve themselves.

Do you have a kitchen project coming up? Contact our design team today: 011 702 2200 |

Restaurant Kitchen Layouts
Manase Tsebe 27 August, 2020
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