BOH (Back of House) Layout and Design

Here’s Part 1 of a blog about facility layout and design– next time I’ll talk about FOH. :-)Facility layout and design is a complex and dynamic process. Installation will be one of the biggest expenses for a restaurant getting ready to open. That’s why it’s critical to get the job done right—the first time!

Six principles of proper design

the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) identifies six principles crucial to the proper flow of your establishment. Every foodservice project design should:

  1. Have flexibility and modularity built into it;
  2. Be designed for simplicity;
  3. Be designed so that there is an efficient flow of material and personnel;
  4. Facilitate ease of sanitation;
  5. Make it easy to supervise the employees and facility; and
  6. Make efficient use of the available space.

Adapt or perish

This principle is based on the idea that your equipment and materials can help you adapt to changing conditions in your facility. Can you easily make rearrangements to accommodate new operating styles, trends and menu items? The idea that if we don’t adapt, we perish, can definitely be applied to the foodservice industry. For example, a quick disconnect, in addition to being a safety precaution, also allows inexpensive changes and easy movement of equipment.

Ensuring proper flow

The following figure demonstrates the proper flow of material and personnel through the restaurant, from receiving to waste disposal. According to NAFEM, proper flow will prevent backtracking by personnel, decreased productivity and inefficient use of labor. Your design consultant can help you determine the proper flow of material and personnel when drafting your restaurant’s layout. Take into consideration the movement of employees from one area of the kitchen to another, the flow of dishes through the system and back into the service area, and the flow of various food ingredients through the main traffic aisles of a kitchen into the preparation areas.

Proper planning and design is key. Make sure the person designing the store has restaurant operation background. Too often an architect has never worked in a commercial kitchen and the flow is bad.

Things to look for are the receiving of the product into the store, how the wait staff is crossing into the kitchen and how customers are being directed through the store. A proper layout and design will address these issues.

Design with sanitation in mind

Studies show more labor hours are spent cleaning than actually preparing food in virtually every type of foodservice facility. That’s why it is so important to be mindful of sanitation considerations when designing your restaurant. For instance, what supplies will be hung on the wall as opposed to stored on the floor or on a shelf? Will your equipment have casters on it, so that it can easily be pulled forward for cleaning? Will the location of your hand sinks promote proper and frequent handwashing by your employees?

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