One of the many decisions facing a first time restaurant owner is the size and layout of the kitchen. One Fat Frog hears about complications on a regular basis that could have been avoided if more consideration was given to the kitchen. If you are buying an existing restaurant, the kitchen is already set up for you and you have to deal with what you’re given. Of course, you could knock down some walls and rebuild if you want. If you are building a new restaurant from scratch, you get to decide exactly how large the kitchen is, what shape it is, and how it is accessed.
“Oh no! This freezer won’t even fit in the kitchen door!” That’s something you never want to scream in horror. Could it happen? Of course it could. One time I moved from an apartment to a new house and was surprised to learn that there was no way to get my couch inside the house. I ended up selling it on the side of the curb. You definitely don’t want to do that with heavy, expensive restaurant equipment. That means measure, measure, measure.
Planning your kitchen size has more to do with making sure the equipment will fit into the kitchen, though. You have to know how the equipment will fit together. What is the layout going to be like? What do you have in there already? Restaurant entrepreneurs can get blinded by the fact that they need so much equipment and then forget to make sure they actually have room for it all.
If this is a brand new kitchen, you also have to make sure you have the proper electrical outlets, water hookups, gas hookups and all of that. Those should be planned according to how you will arrange the kitchen equipment.
If you’re buying a restaurant from someone else, they will probably offer to sell you all of the used equipment in the kitchen for “cheap.” Make sure you inspect the equipment thoroughly and make sure you actually need everything in there. Does it have what you need or do you still need more? Is there equipment that is taking up too much space and should be exchanged for a more compact model? Taking whatever equipment is in the kitchen won’t necessarily be better, or even cheaper, than getting your own equipment, especially when your friends at One Fat Frog are happy to sell you great used kitchen equipment.
So what size kitchen should your restaurant startup have? It depends. How large is the restaurant as a whole? Consider how many customers you would have if the restaurant is at maximum capacity. Then decide how much food would need to be cooked at once to serve those customers in a timely manner. From there, you can figure out how much equipment you need; it’s basically just math. If the kitchen has enough room for that amount of cooking equipment, it’s large enough. If not, you may need to expand the size of the kitchen or do something to compensate for wait times (why do you think so many restaurants have TVs?).
While we’re on the subject of buying used restaurant equipment, don’t forget about the Spooktacular Sale we have going on:
Spend $5,000 on used equipment = Get a free new slicer
Spend $10,000 on used equipment = Get a free new fryer
Spend $15,000 on used equipment = Get a free new TV
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