There is nothing more frustrating (or potentially expensive!) than needing to pull out and replace equipment in your commercial kitchen because of miscalculation or poor planning. Of course, mistakes happen: benches are too low, fridges are too small, islands are in the way. Thankfully, clever new kitchen designs have managed to avoid these hassles with a new type of fit-out: modular kitchens.
Modular kitchens are spaces that are designed using pre-manufactured ‘modules’ that fit together like a puzzle. Unlike bespoke or custom-made kitchens, these modules use generic measurements that allow for a variety of businesses to utilise. Cost effective and able to be installed instantly, modular kitchens are the way to go for hospitality businesses big or small. Here’s why.
You can pivot your venue concept instantly
Michael Jones is the owner of Commercial Kitchen Design, and says that in a fast-moving industry, modular kitchen designs are a must-have.
“Why these designs are good for hospitality is because they are versatile and flexible,” says Michael. “What is an Italian restaurant today, could be a Thai restaurant tomorrow. Modular equipment lets you change quickly for what you need.”
Having the flexibility to change your cuisine or concept is crucial in the modern hospitality industry. Trends move quickly these days, and being able to quickly incorporate a high-selling item is important. Quickly and easily bringing in a specific piece of equipment such as a deep fryer or flash freezer gives you the chance to experiment and have fun with your menu.
Repairs or replacements will be far cheaper
Decades ago, kitchens were installed on a permanent basis. Fridges and stoves were custom made with the view of keeping them there for 20 years or more. But as these kitchens have aged and needed repairs or replacement, it has become a hugely expensive exercise.
“In a modular kitchen, benches and appliances are separate,” he says. “You can pull an oven out easily and change over regardless of brand. It’s not stuck into the building, or fixed to the cabinetry.”
Michael says that high-use items such as deep fryers and combi-ovens are often the first to be worn down and needing replacement – so it’s important these can be removed and replaced quickly and safely.
It will increase the value of the property for sale
Being able to sell a commercial space that lends itself to a multitude of purposes is naturally going to bump up its value. This is particularly true for hospitality venues – everyone comes in with a very different dream of what they are wanting to create, along with fairly specific design needs to make that happen.
Asian cuisine, for example, requires large boiling vats and plenty of deep-fry stations, whilst a dessert or pastry shop will need more refrigeration and prep space. Having a modular kitchen that can be moved around easily is a great sell point when it comes time to move on.
There is no barrier to growth
“Back in the day, 20 years or more, there just wasn’t the variety of ‘plug and play’ equipment that we have these days,” explains Michael. “We take it for granted now, but anything that you needed in the kitchen pretty much had to be built in.”
Custom made or bespoke equipment was expensive then, and is expensive now. So whilst it acted as a barrier to growth or change for previous business owners – why would you willingly lose money? It doesn’t have to be that way today.
If you are looking to increase your venue capacity, your kitchen needs to keep up. With a modular design, you can completely change your current kitchen to suit any extensions or additional areas put on. Whilst having a ‘custom kitchen’ may sound like a more luxurious option, it’s an unnecessary cost.
“I only custom build as required as a last resort,” he says. “Think of it this way – if you’re looking for an everyday, run around car, would you buy a custom built car, or a Toyota?”
The upkeep and cost to replace items in a custom built kitchen is hugely expensive: by going down a generic route, you will be able to sub in items quickly and cheaply.
Decades ago, Australia was relatively closed off from the rest of the world when it came to kitchen technology. We had to create equipment ourselves, and for that reason it became an expensive investment that you would keep for the life of your business.
In 2018, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to cheaper, instantaneous kitchen design. Opting for a modular setup means you’ll get the chance to experiment and grow as you wish, with none of the extra costs of reshaping your entire kitchen.
There’s nothing to hold you back from creating the hospitality business of your dreams!