Now more than ever, the hospitality industry is striving to impress their customers with a clean and safe premise and environment as well as their quality service and, of course, great tasting food. This all starts with the design of their commercial kitchen.

The commercial kitchen is the core of every hospitality business and when designing or revamping one, you need to ensure you have a strong design to make sure your kitchen runs smoothly and efficiently before you open or reopen for business.

Everyone knows you need great staff, solid equipment and a chef who knows what they’re doing – but a vital part of your operation is the design and layout of your commercial kitchen.

But how exactly do you do this? Well, here are some factors you might want to consider when designing your commercial kitchen.


Budget is one of the most important factors to consider when setting up or renovating your commercial kitchen. Two common questions people ask are “do I buy new or used?” “do I buy up front or do I lease?”

How much you have available to invest is important to consider in terms of how best to invest it in the business. Cash flow is important, especially for a start-up operation – and minimising spend is always wise. But sometimes buying second-hand equipment, especially if it’s not from a reputable supplier and comes with some sort of warranty, could spell trouble for cash flow!

So if buying new seems to be the more palatable option from a peace of mind perspective, then consider the long term of renting/lease purchasing. Weigh the additional costs in interest and see if they are disproportionately high to the cash flow freedom you gain from the lower up front spend.

Look for leases that offer full warranty, service, great customer service, satisfaction guarantees – and check the early exit fees. There are some dishwasher deals, like the Fixed Price Package from Norris Industries, that cover the entire machine, all the chemicals and service you need for that machine for the entire term of the contract. This enable you to budget more easily and dodge the cash-flow crusher that machine breakdown can cause!

The overall budget is important and it’s best to start by making a list of the most important equipment to ensure you deliver on your intended menu.  The next step is to make sure the equipment you think you need will fit your layout – we’ll get to that in a minute!

Companies like Butler Equipment can offer and provide you with free advice on catering equipment. You need a “Kitchen Smart” adviser to help you find the balance between the shiny things you want and might mistakenly over-invest in and the practical set up you need to make your kitchen sing!

Better yet, they have the flexibility of being able to source that equipment for you (saving you SO much leg-work!) and then help you make the choice between buy or finance. This can make it easier for businesses to start up or expand a catering/hospitality business.

If it’s of interest, Butler provides through their finance division, Mahatmacane Hospitality Finance. And Silver Chef. Mahatmacane offers flexible and affordable solutions, giving you more options and helping you overcome the biggest pitfall any new catering operator can make: being under-equipped, under-financed and unprepared for maximising your business.

Financing your equipment, the smart way, you can deliver the very best for your customers and  show your true professionalism when working with top quality equipment.

Size and Layout

A commercial kitchen requires more space than a traditional kitchen and thought must be given not only to equipment size – but workflow. In order to ensure your space is a free-flowing workspace, you need to take advantage of each square inch of your kitchen space as it can be the key difference between smooth expediting of orders or stressful order and service bottlenecks.

Efficiency is the priority when it comes to kitchens. Whether it’s a multi-functional machine, saving you valuable space, or a machine that requires little energy, streamlining is important. Being able to minimise the amount of movement staff are required to undertake when going about their daily business is key.

To maximise your space and workflow, the layout of the kitchen must ensure staff aren’t required to move around a lot – the goal is linear movement, minimal bending, reaching or turning. This will also help your layout for staff work ‘stations’.

Another thing to consider is creating an energy-efficient kitchen to save you money. By strategically keeping refrigeration and cooking equipment apart it’ll save your refrigeration unit from overworking. Cooking equipment should also be strategically placed to promote the ventilation hoods’ efficiency.

The most important factor when looking at your size and layout of the kitchen is to BE FLEXIBLE. In the hospitality industry, trends change quickly and it’s important your business can adapt. You want to design your kitchen which can accommodate to different styles easily, whether it’s including movable/portable work benches, or quick disconnects for your gas cooking equipment for optimum mobility and easy cleaning.

If you have any issues or concerns, Butler Equipment are able to do a site inspection to help plan your layout and work stations with your head chef to ensure the area and stations are appropriately places in order to maximise efficiency and energy usage.

Kitchen Appliances and Equipment

The type of restaurant, space and menu you have will all play a role in determining what equipment you need. Whether you’re opting for a band new or second-hand commercial equipment and appliances, you need to ensure what is the best fit for you and your team. It may be silly to mention, however, it goes without saying that you should never use domestic equipment in commercial kitchens.

A helpful tip is to sit each major piece of cooking equipment you have (aside from microwave ovens) under a ventilation hood, which ensures your kitchen is free from cooking effluent, heat and moisture. This can also be true for dishwashing machines – some models generate a lot of steam and can contribute to an uncomfortable working environment. Moist environments as well known to be optimal for the growth of harmful bacteria.

When considering what appliances and equipment, under the Australia New Zealand Food Authority Safe Food Australia Standards, food businesses are ‘required to ensure that their food premises, fixtures, fittings, equipment and transport vehicles are designed and constructed to be cleaned and, where necessary, sanitised.’

Food premises must have adequate storage facilities for the storage of items that are likely to be the source of contamination of food, including chemicals, clothing and personal belongings. Storage facilities must be located where there is no likelihood of stored items contaminating food or food contact surfaces. Flooring suitable for your menu should also be considered BEFORE you install your equipment! There are many considerations that

At Butler Equipment, for example, there’s a wide range of different fridges, freezers and benches suited for any size kitchen. More importantly, the teamwork with kitchen design and installation teams to address considerations for compliance.

Health & Safety 

It is evident you must pay close attention to all health and safety standards when designing, working, cooking or cleaning in a commercial kitchen!

Every area of the kitchen should highlight restaurant food safety and restaurant health codes. Whilst obviously the fun part of designing or renovating a commercial kitchen may be the equipment and cooking/prep areas, however, WHS is just as important.

At Butler Equipment, we can ensure you have the right equipment as well as right chemicals with our sister company Zexa Chemicals, to ensure your space is the safest and cleanest kitchen of them all!

If you are ready to take the next step toward outfitting your commercial kitchen then reach out to Butler Equipment today to discuss your options on 1800 225 215 or check out our range of commercial equipment and order your upgrade today!

At Butler Equipment, businesses across Australia will be able to get everything that they need in order to ensure that their commercial kitchen is ready to go!