Picking the right caterer kitchen layout for your restaurant is essential. A kitchen is the center of any hospitality business and needs to work correctly to guarantee the best experience for your guests.

You can ask both chefs and managers, and they will tell you that this is where it all happens. Here the Back of House team will create delicious food, discuss, shout, and prepare.

However, how can you be sure of the right layout for your caterer kitchen without the ability to do trial runs? There are different designs, processes, and elements that you should always take into consideration before deciding on a layout, and that’s what we want to help you with today.

Let’s have a look at everything you need to know to have a sleek-looking, functional kitchen while keeping your chefs happy!

What Is A Caterer Kitchen? – Let’s Get to Know More

A caterer kitchen is the heart of your restaurant. It is the back of the house room where dishes get prepared and refined. Here is also where your chefs and kitchen team spend most of their time, hard at work.

It is composed of flat surfaces, tables, containers, and fridges. Moreover, it is usually equipped with a dishwasher area, and all the tools your chefs need to do their job at their best.

However, everything has to be situated within a limited space, depending on how big your new or under-renovation restaurant is.

Your catering kitchen design is vital to the functioning of your business. It will determine how smoothly your workforce can move in it and how quickly they can do their jobs.

You might say that the success of the restaurant itself depends, in part, on the organization of your kitchen.

If you have more than one kitchen, you might be able to decide which one is going to be the preparation area, and which one will be dedicated to plating up dishes for your guests.

However, you often don’t have this option. It is therefore important that up to 10 people can work harmoniously in such a small and busy space.

Lastly, if you are thinking about creating an open kitchen, you will have to consider an extra factor: your caterer kitchen will have to look good, as it will be exposed to guests!

Types of Layout

Firstly, know your options! Here we will have a look at the most common and tested plans for kitchens.

Grab a pen and some paper because there are some terms to learn. Knowing your options will give you an idea of what the finished product will look like.

Moreover, you can take inspiration from the following models and adjust them to your needs, taste, or restaurant space.

Island Layout

In this case, on your catering kitchen floor plan, you will notice a ring design with an internal square dedicated to food cooking or preparation.

Along the more external perimeter, you will have a dishwasher area, storage, fridges, preparation areas, inventories, and storage spaces.

Opposite, on the middle island, the chefs will prepare meals and serve it in the service station, on one of the sides of the perimeter.

This layout encourages communication and supervision between chefs, as they will all be working around a restricted central area.

However, this type of design can also prevent chefs from moving smoothly around the area.

Galley Layout

It is one of the most streamlined catering kitchens designs out there. It works perfectly in smaller spaces or restaurants.

All the equipment, dishwasher areas, food preparation areas, and service areas are positioned next to each other, leaving ample free space in the middle.

It is excellent for a small but very busy business as there will be enough space for all chefs to rotate on the stations or work together on one. You might have seen this design on food trucks.

Zone-Style Layout

This design looks incredibly easy on a blueprint, and it really is one of the most efficient floorplans. You will only have an external perimeter that defines the kitchen area. In the middle, you will be able to split the different sections as you prefer.

The zone-style layout helps the cooks keep the kitchen perfectly organized and efficient at all times.

Many dishes can be prepared at once within a kitchen with such a layout. It is an excellent option if you are planning to offer an extensive menu with many different dishes on it.

Open Kitchen Layout

An open kitchen layout needs to be functional, fit the space perfectly, and look good! It can be seen by the guests, who will be charmed and impressed by the sight of the chefs hard at work.

Any kitchen can become an open kitchen by eliminating the barrier between the preparation area and the restaurant room. However, there are a few safety measures that will require you to modify your design in this case.

For example, cooking appliances, fryers, and ovens should be kept in a further position from the customer.

This kind of layout is perfect for optimizing the space of a smaller restaurant or entertaining guests in high-end dining rooms.

Assembly Line Layout

This simple layout is designed to optimize the production process. Often used by fast-food chains and quick-service restaurants, it can speed up the production of a limited selection of dishes.

In this case, you will be required to hire multiple cooks, and each of them will be in charge of a specific area.

Elements of A Caterer Kitchen

Independently from which layout you prefer, there are many elements that every commercial catering kitchen should have.

These areas should be positioned strategically so the chefs can move in and out of the stations quickly and increase the efficiency of the workforce.

Dishwasher Station

This is an incredibly important area of the kitchen. Chefs can’t work without clean plates, pans, and tools. This area will see a lot of action.

It is essential to keep it slightly out of the way of the service area but reachable within seconds. This station will need a sink, washing machine, and drying racks.

Food Preparation

This area is continuously used during the day. To optimize its efficiency, it should not be located far from the storage area. Here you will need cutting tools, mixers, and heavier equipment.

Cooking Station

This part is where your chefs will be cooking dishes with the prepared ingredients. Aside from the cooking facilities, it is incredibly important to add a display system to help your chef manage the incoming tickets or orders.

Service Area

The service area is where each dish gets checked and perfected and then taken by the staff to the restaurant room. Often the head chef has the last say on each dish. This area must always be clean and tidy.

Moreover, while you want to have a servers picking up ready dishes straight away, this might not always be possible. In this case, you might want to have heating lamps above the counter to keep the food warm.


Storage and fridges are where the raw or cooked ingredients are stored before and after service. Moreover, you will have dry storage for seasonings, grains, and other essential ingredients for cooking.

While it does not need to be in the center of the action, it should be placed within a reachable distance of the preparation area.

How to Decide on the Layout?


You will need to pick a layout in which your chefs can move freely. It goes a long way in helping your restaurant run smoothly and safely.

It often depends on how many covers your restaurant has, how many chefs you have hired, how big the menu is, and how much space of your restaurant you are dedicating to your kitchen.

Space and Safety

While opening your dream restaurant, you could be tempted to go all-in for the fanciest and best-looking kitchen layout.

At least I know I was. However, you will need to keep the size of the restaurant into consideration when making this choice.

Moreover, local and national regulations need to be considered before building the kitchen, as you might face legal issues otherwise.

Speak to Your Head Chef!

The kitchen will be her or his kingdom. They should have the last say on the best facilities and floor plan.

They might be able to offer you knowledge that you did not have beforehand. Keeping your chefs happy is the secret to having a successful restaurant!


Picking the right caterer kitchen design can be very difficult, especially if you are not an expert.

However, by speaking to your head chef and gaining knowledge of the different areas, functions, and requirements, you will be able to have your dream kitchen in your restaurant!

Have you recently opened a restaurant? What layout are you using? Does it help you run your kitchen smoothly? Let us know by leaving a comment below!


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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