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Your Business Model | What do Your Staff Need to do?

I have spoken about how the design of your store and the importance in workflow before, but today I wanted to really focus in on making it work for your business model.
For hospitality businesses, creating an efficient kitchen and a counter area with good service flow means you can serve more customers faster. To successfully plan out your kitchen and counter, you must thoroughly understand your business model. You’ll consider the tasks that need to be completed in each area and how your space can be best organised to make completing those tasks as easy and efficient as possible. So before you jump into the details of equipment and bench layout, the best place to start is to analyse how your business works and how the space should be laid out to best accommodate your service flow.

At fifteen years old, my first job was working as a fry girl in a McDonald’s restaurant. At the time, I never anticipated how well this would prepare me for my future career as a hospitality designer. McDonald’s is known for efficiency and consistency, and their kitchen is laid out to deliver large quantities of food – fast. So rather than laying out the kitchen space with a typical cook line, prep bench and wash up area, McDonald’s has thought through what they need their staff to do in the space and planned their layout based on that.

McDonald’s creates stations for each of the key tasks that need to be completed, such as the fry station, the burger preparation area, the salad preparation area, the grills and the pass. Each station is operated by one staff member and everything they need for their task will be contained in that area. In a busy three-hour shift, the staff member manning the fry station should only need to move once or twice to bring another box of fries from the freezer. Otherwise, everything they need is contained in their area. The McDonald’s business model is about fast food and their kitchen design is centred around delivering on that promise.

Thinking through the number of staff you will have in the kitchen and their roles will allow you to create stations. The advantage of stations is efficiency. For example, if your key product is burgers and you only have one team member on that entire task – running to the cool room to grab the meat, prepping the salad, grilling and assembling the burgers – you will lose a lot of time on them running backwards and forwards. Alternatively, if you can set up stations that allow one staff member to cook the meat and another staff member to prep the salad and assemble the burgers, neither of them will have to leave their area during the shift. I guarantee that you will make more burgers this way.

You also need to think through issues relating to cross contamination and food hygiene. Allow for separate areas for meat and fruit and vegetable preparation, and plan the service flow to avoid waste products coming into contact with food. This is a vital part of food licencing requirements and should be considered as part of your workflow.

Therefore, knowing how to lay out your kitchen starts with a conversation around your business model and what tasks your staff need to complete. To make sure your kitchen design is suited to what your staff need to do in the space, you must have this discussion with your designer.

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