How to future-proof your commercial kitchen

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You can pivot your venue concept instantly

Michael Jones is the owner of Commercial Kitchen Design, and says that in a fast-moving industry, modular kitchen designs are a must-have.

'Why these designs are good for hospitality is because they are versatile and flexible,' says Michael. 'What is an Italian restaurant today, could be a Thai restaurant tomorrow. Modular equipment lets you change quickly for what you need.'

Having the flexibility to change your cuisine or concept is crucial in the hospitality industry. Trends move quickly these days, and being able to quickly incorporate a high-selling item is important. Bringing in a specific piece of equipment such as an extra fryer or flash freezer gives you the chance to experiment and develop your menu.

Repairs or replacements will be far cheaper

Decades ago, kitchens were installed on a permanent basis. Fridges and stoves were custom made, then set into cement with the view of keeping them there for twenty years or more. But as these kitchens have aged and needed repairs or replacement, it has become a hugely expensive exercise.

'In a modular kitchen, benches and appliances are separate,' says Michael. 'You can pull an oven out easily and change over regardless of brand. It’s not stuck into the building, or fixed to the cabinetry.'

He notes that high-use items such as deep fryers and combi-ovens are often the first to be worn down and needing replacement - so it’s important these can be removed and replaced quickly and safely.

It will increase the value of the property for sale

Being able to sell a commercial space that lends itself to a multitude of purposes is naturally going to make it easier to sell. Everyone comes in with a very different dream of what they are wanting to create, along with fairly specific design needs to make that happen.

Asian cuisine, for example, requires large boiling vats, wok stations, and plenty of deep-fry stations, whilst a dessert or pastry shop will need more refrigeration and prep space. Having a modular kitchen that can be moved around easily is a great selling point when it comes time to move on.

There is no barrier to growth

'Back in the day, twenty years or more, there just wasn’t the variety of ‘plug and play’ equipment that we have these days,' Michael explains. 'We take it for granted now, but anything that you needed in the kitchen pretty much had to be built.”

Custom made or bespoke equipment was expensive then, and is still expensive now. So whilst it acted as a barrier to growth or change for previous business owners - why would you willingly lose money? It doesn’t have to be that way today.

If you are looking to increase your venue capacity, your kitchen needs to keep up. With a modular design, you can completely change your current kitchen to suit any extensions or additional areas put on. Talk to your plumber, electrician and equipment supplier - the extra cost of a 'custom' kitchen may be something you can avoid.

'I only custom build as required as a last resort,' he says. 'Think of it this way - would you buy a Toyota or build a custom car?'

The upkeep and cost to replace items in a custom built kitchen is very expensive: by going down a generic route, you will be able to sub in items quickly and cheaply.

Decades ago, Australia was relatively closed off from the rest of the world when it came to kitchen technology. We had to create equipment ourselves, and for that reason it became an expensive investment that you would keep for the life of your business.

Nowadays we are spoiled for choice when it comes to cheaper, instantaneous kitchen design. Opting for a modular setup means you’ll get the chance to experiment and grow as you wish, with none of the extra costs of reshaping your entire kitchen.

There’s nothing to hold you back from creating the hospitality business of your dreams!

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