Bonta Gelato Creamery, Bend, OregonRestaurant design should support efficient kitchen operations and workflows, and vice versa. When designing a commercial kitchen, the goal is to create a space that not only supports the entire restaurant’s design, but also allows staff to easily maneuver and efficiently complete their tasks. It’s also necessary to consider energy efficiency, size, and ventilation – and if your restaurant is growing, you’ll need space for expansion. At Ascent Architecture & Interiors, our experienced restaurant architects and interior designers can help you and your chef analyze kitchen workflows and create a kitchen that best supports your restaurant operations.

Commercial Kitchen Layout

When it comes to how you want staff to move through the space, you must first decide what sort of layout will work best to create the food your restaurant serves. The menu of a restaurant can be an integral part of the design because it can affect what the equipment is, where it is placed, and the flow of the design.

Kitchen design that minimizes the cooking-staff’s movement and cross-traffic works best. This will help save cooking time and reduce accident-associated risks (such as slip-and-falls, people running into each other, broken dishes, and dropped food).

Assembly-line—This configuration is ideal for restaurants that don’t have many menu items. Food item assembly is designed to flow along one cooking line, which works especially well for restaurants geared toward faster service, like sandwich shops and pizzerias.

Zone-style—This configuration has work stations created in zones. Food preparation zones are separated into tables or areas that are most effective. For example, you could create separate food-washing, cutting, and sauté stations.

Island-style—This configuration is like zone-style but with one main block (workspace) in the middle. This central kitchen block is used for cooking, while most of the food prepping is done on tables lining the kitchen’s outer wallst, with cooking on the outer walls and prep in the middle. This can be dependent on the design goals and which kitchen equipment will be incorporated into the space. Different kitchen equipment can affect whether it’s easier to have prep space in the middle and ranges, refrigerators, ovens, and more along the outer wall of the space.

Ergonomic kitchen—An ergonomic kitchen is customized to limit the actions a cook or chef needs to make when preparing food. For example, put a refrigerator next to a fryer or prep space to facilitate the fastest possible preparation from a centralized location.

Other Commercial Design Considerations

In some restaurants it won’t be possible to position a kitchen exactly where it would be most ideal, so there are workarounds that can be added to the design, like pass-thru windows to make food delivery easier. “In some cases, a small commercial kitchen can be the most efficient depending on the restaurant’s needs,” says Senior Interior Designer Lynn Baker. “Having a small kitchen can also free up valuable space for customer seating.”

An architect will coordinate with mechanical engineers and kitchen suppliers to incorporate energy savings into your commercial kitchen. How many people do you want to be able to seat at one time? Considering this earlier in the process will help the architects and interior designers understand how best to layout your commercial kitchen to include the dining space you want and a kitchen that’s able to serve it.

Ventilation is also extremely important in commercial kitchen design, because steam and smoke in a restaurant kitchen can be dangerous and unhealthy for your staff. Good ventilation also supports a positive dining experience. You don’t want your guests to leave smelling like the food you’re cooking.

Additionally, “it’s crucial to consider flooring and its maintenance in your commercial kitchen space,” says Baker. Slip resistant flooring, like an epoxy floor with quartz aggregate, can help prevent falls in the kitchen. Antimicrobial flooring options are also available.  Seamless products, like epoxy or a kitchen-grade sheet vinyl, will be easier to keep clean than tile.


The most important thing to keep in mind when designing your commercial kitchen with your Bend architect and interior design team is putting kitchen function first. “We listen and try to best understand the client’s process in the kitchen, as well as their means of presenting food to their customers, so that the layout can meet their unique individual needs,” says Baker.

Call Ascent Architecture & Interiors today to get started on the perfect commercial kitchen design to grow your restaurant.

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