Everything You Need to Run an Efficient Hotel Kitchen: Chef Clothing, Equipment and More
The kitchen is the heart of many successful hotels and some have won awards based on their restaurant food alone. A well run kitchen can significantly improve a guest’s stay too, thanks to extras like room service, breakfast or a delicious evening meal onsite.
Hotel kitchens often face far greater pressures than your average restaurant kitchen; they might be cooking for hundreds of guests, serving several different menus at once, or delivering food at all hours of the day. It’s essential that a hotel kitchen is run as efficiently as possible, so what do you need to ensure smooth operations? We’ve listed some of the most important things you need to run an efficient hotel kitchen below, from the right equipment to proper chef clothing.
An efficient hotel kitchen starts with the right design and layout. Effective space planning is key and there needs to be adequate room for storage, food prep and equipment. Ideally the kitchen space should be a large square or rectangle with no awkward bends or obstructions.
Each area of the kitchen should be clearly defined, with separate areas for food prep, frying, grilling and other cooking processes. There also needs to be enough space to open cupboards and fridges without encroaching on another area of the kitchen.
The right flow of movement
A busy restaurant kitchen will see multiple chefs, waiting staff and kitchen porters moving in and out, so the right traffic flow is crucial. Walkways need to be wide enough for staff to pass each other without colliding, or implement a one way system so food can be delivered efficiently.
Some experts suggest an ergonomic kitchen design that allows chefs to work with minimal movement. Having all equipment, ingredients and appliances within easy reach minimises the need to rush around the kitchen, making service quicker and more efficient.
Save space and streamline operations by looking for appliances that can multitask, for example a combination oven can bake, steam and roast. Self-cleaning appliances are great too, and they cut down on valuable time spent closing down at the end of the day.
Other useful appliances include multi-cook ovens which have several different compartments. This allows chefs to cook food at different temperatures at the same time, maximising the amount of output. The tilt skillet is another essential multi-tasking appliance for any hotel kitchen. This equipment allows chefs to fry, simmer, steam, saute or grill food in large batches.
There are smaller multi-tasking pieces of equipment too, including food processors which can blend, puree or roughly chop ingredients, depending on what’s needed. Multi-tasking equipment makes chef’s lives easier and allows them to cook multiple orders much more efficiently.
You can’t run an efficient kitchen without the right storage, so ensure there’s adequate room for everything you need. Refrigerators and freezers should be located near prep stations so chefs can access ingredients quickly.
You’ll also need storage space for dried ingredients, cleaning materials, kitchen equipment and food waste. Items which aren’t essential to food prep (such as glassware, linen and trays) don’t need to be stored in the kitchen and it’s usually easier to locate these items next to the restaurant.
Any opened food should be wrapped and labelled with the use by or best before date before being returned to storage. Cooked dishes should also be labelled with the date they were made before being stored in the fridge or freezer so chefs can see how fresh food is at a glance.
The right chef clothing
It’s difficult to work efficiently if you’re not wearing the right clothing, so all chefs should have access to proper uniforms. Chef clothing is designed with busy kitchens in mind and it’s made from light, breathable fabrics to help keep staff cool and comfortable.
The right clothing is also essential to maintain food hygiene standards and it reduces the risk of contaminants from chef’s ‘outdoor’ clothing. The fast-paced environment of a hotel kitchen can also be dangerous and injuries or burns can significantly interrupt your service. Chef clothing helps to protect workers from burns, oil splashes and excess heat, so your staff can focus on the job at hand.
Drainage and ventilation
Proper ventilation and an effective drainage system is essential if you want to run an efficient hotel kitchen. Inadequate ventilation can be a safety hazard and it allows distracting smoke and food odours to quickly build up.
All commercial kitchens need to have adequate kitchen extraction and you’re required by law to maintain all extraction systems. These ventilation hoods manage the flow of grease, remove moisture from the air and draw smoke, soot, steam and heat away from the area. Remember to clean extraction fans regularly to reduce the risk of fire and keep your kitchen running efficiently.
Commercial kitchens also need specially designed drainage. Floor drains allow any liquid to be removed quickly and efficiently and they’re designed using specialist, non-slip grates for safety. Proper drainage improves kitchen hygiene, reduces the spread of bacteria and increases employee health and safety. Hotel kitchens should also add a grease trap or separator to prevent buildups of grease and oil in the drainage system. Blocked drains can cost businesses time, money and custom, so ensure your kitchen has adequate drainage.
Organise your stock
Poorly organised stock can really slow things down and it can even pose a health risk. Speed up operations by thoroughly organising all stock and ingredients. Items and ingredients that are used most regularly should be kept within easy reach; usually on middle shelves or at eye level.
Separate each type of stock and store it in its own designated area (e.g fruit and vegetables, dried goods, dairy, cleaning equipment). You could even create a map listing where each item is to help staff keep track. As mentioned earlier, label everything with best before dates, use by dates or the date it was cooked. Chefs should also abide by the ‘first in, first out’ rule to stay organised. This means that the first consumable good placed in storage should be the first one out. This helps staff keep track of expiration dates and reduces food wastage.
Properly organised stock saves time, improves efficiency and helps you keep on top of health and safety.
Prep ahead of time
Freshness is vital when sending meals to your customers, but there are still things you can do to get ahead. Food prep saves valuable time during busy service hours, allowing chefs to serve more customers and send meals out quickly. There’s plenty that can be done ahead of time, including peeling potatoes, chopping and sorting ingredients into containers and making sauces or gravy.
Some kitchens might prep and freeze certain elements of a dish ahead of time. This doesn’t compromise on quality or taste, it simply allows your dish to be served much faster!
High quality chefs wear from Johnsons by London Linen
If you’re in need of high quality, functional chefs wear for your hotel kitchen staff, get in touch with the team at London Linen. We understand the demands faced by a busy hotel kitchen and our products are designed with comfort, functionality, temperature and safety in mind.
We’ve got everything you need to run an efficient kitchen, including chefs jackets, aprons, trousers, cloths and towels. We understand what matters to chefs and are confident that our products will suit your needs. We also supply a range of table linens to ensure your restaurant looks its best and a commercial laundry service so you’ve got crisp, clean linens when you need them.
To find out more about our chefs wear, linen hire or dry cleaning services, don’t hesitate to give us a call today or contact us online to find out more.