From a quick-service restaurant chain to a ghost kitchen, a lot of thought goes into strategising a structure for the business and planning commercial kitchens. A well-thought-out commercial kitchen allows your back-of-house team to serve good meals and improves your business’s efficiency and productivity.
One of the limitations that most F&B businesses face is space for multiple reasons. Finding a good place in the desired area is a difficult task, plus finding a fairly big kitchen could lead to a significant increase in the CAPEX. That is where the new-edge businesses opt for kitchen automation to make sure they deliver larger output with less kitchen space.
Most of the time, the vertical space goes underutilised in the commercial kitchens, especially when it’s being engaged as a cooking area. It happens subtly as nobody notices it being occupied; for instance, it could be risky to move around when the food is in preparation, or it would limit the operator’s working, etc.
However, automated cooking equipment would not require consistent monitoring from the operator, leaving the space pretty much usable. Also, the machines would be running on electricity and are equipped with heath and temperature control, which limits accidents and prevents ergonomic risks simultaneously.
In a manual cooking module, the batch sizes could be limited based on the kind of process. For instance, tossing food is an exhaustive and strenuous job, even when it’s 1 or 2 portions. However, an automatic wok can toss maybe 5-6 portions in one time that might weigh close to 1.5 to 2Kg. Similarly, cooking a paratha manually on a traditional pan might be a task of almost 3.5 minutes.
However, an automatic smart pan can cook it from both sides simultaneously without someone needing to be standing there. Moreover, since most functionally efficient automation is tap top in their structure, they take less space.
A traditional kitchen would conventionally engage people to cook the food and others to pack and serve it along with other quick chores in the kitchen. Having many people working in small places cramps the chefs and thus limits efficiency. However, a smart kitchen with automation will enable staff to multitask. For example, once the operator selects the desired recipe, the machine will take charge of cooking. The operator can move on to other tasks like preparing for the next order packing the order, etc.
One of the concerns that most commercial kitchens face is wastage, primarily because of the under or overcooking or food taste consistency. This is addressed well with automation solutions since machines cook following the SOPs and recipes; therefore, the margin of error goes down. Reducing wastage helps the business in being operationally efficient too.
A commercial kitchen is one of the busiest places in the hospitality industry. Cooking in the kitchen inevitably means dealing with hot surfaces, oil, naked flames, and hot pots are just some of the most common ways that could lead to accidents. This is also one of the areas where automation can help reduce the risk. Most kitchen automation runs on electricity and comes with automated heat and temperature control and automatic cut-offs.
To put this in perspective, let’s take an example of a brand with 100 outlets, and the kitchen size is 250 sqft for each one of them. Based on our experience with clients, automation helps save 40% of the kitchen space, so about 100 sq ft is saved. In a cosmopolitan city like Bangalore, each sq ft in prime real estate is at least 200 Rs. So annual saving for an outlet is 2.4 lac per, which is a ~ 2.5 cr annual saving for a brand. Its 2.5 Cr directly into the bottom line, not to forget that an additional 100 sq ft will give seating space of 3 tables and a revenue increase of a min of 10%. Hence reflecting immense benefits that are not just tangible but also intangible.
Lastly, the key to a successful restaurant is an efficient kitchen, which further indicates how one does not need to hinder staff’s operations and processes by making the kitchen difficult to navigate. Instead, they can keep things simple by designing a commercial kitchen that prioritises function.