Historically speaking, commercial kitchen design has revolved around efficiency. However, times have changed and there’s much more to factor in these days. Much like the role of the chefs that inhabit the commercial kitchen, the design is evolving to incorporate new technology, appliances, and trends.
One such trend is the open kitchen fit-out, which literally breaks down the walls of a once straightforward design. Opening up your kitchen in such a way can prove a costly process, but there are some definite benefits. Here are a few of the pros (and cons) of working in an open kitchen:
1) Pro – Airflow
There’s a reason why the walk-in is every chefs’ favourite spot to chill. Kitchens get hot! Perhaps the best part about working in an open kitchen is the airflow that is allowed from a more open style plan. Keeping cool while you work is a must!
2) Pro – Keep an eye on the customers
Normally chefs are reliant on the floor staff to keep them updated with what’s going on front of house. Having an open kitchen means you can take a quick look for yourself! Having a general idea of what’s happening front of house is a valuable asset for chefs. But remember, if you can see them, then they can see you!
3) Pro – Add to the atmosphere
People are curious by nature, which makes the open kitchen quite the spectacle for customers. A well-designed open kitchen will serve as an added piece of entertainment for anyone sitting close enough to get a piece of the action!
4) Pro – Feedback
An open kitchen allows for greater opportunities to converse with the public (when you’re not busy of course). Whether it is some misguided constructive criticism or a quick classic like ‘compliments to the chef’, it’s important to practice communicating with customers.
5) Pro – Pressure/accountability
The last thing a chef needs in their life is more pressure. However, there is something to be said about the pressure of the public in holding people accountable. If you’re dedicated to your craft then it shouldn’t make much of a difference whether the kitchen is open or not, but for some it might be added motivation to perform whilst in the eye of the customer.
6) Con – Noise control
The commercial kitchen is a fast-paced, foul-mouthed, machine that can’t function without creating noise. With an open plan, chefs must be more mindful of what they’re saying in front of customers as well as general noise levels when cooking. It means the days of blaring AC/DC in your kitchen might be over as well.
7) Con – Uniform/hygiene
If you’re a chef who doesn’t ‘clean as you go’ then the open kitchen could be your worst nightmare. Keeping your section clean is essential with an open plan, as is keeping your uniform tidy. Don’t let messiness distract the customer from all the fancy pan flipping that you’re doing!