When running a restaurant, there’s really only two choices of how you want your kitchen when it comes to your customers:
- hidden; or
- in sight.
There’s pros and cons to both, because both affect the ambiance, the restaurant’s brand, your layout (when it comes to the available space), how it makes your chefs feel and how it affects the service… to name a few.
However, when there’s an open plan kitchen in sight of customers or a window looking in to where the magic happens, it’s important to have a few rules. Why? Because the kitchen can be a hectic place and a one by which customers are fascinated. So, if there are any slip-ups, it’ll be for all to see.
To help, we’ve put together a few tips to help if you’re planning on having a kitchen that’s in sight, or already have one.
1. Watch the language!
The typical chef stereotype is someone who has a short fuse, loves a swear word and revels in a bit of ‘banter’.
Professional kitchens are hot, busy and don’t help with the above, but not all chefs should have that stereotype slapped on them.
However, an accidental burn or a plate being sent back for “no good reason” (in the chef’s eyes), could cause a passionate chef to voice their opinion, and in an open kitchen, that opinion will be for all to hear.
2. Be pristine
Kitchens should always operate to the highest standards of health and hygiene, but when on view and being scrutinized by eagle-eyed diners, if anything’s wrong, they’ll pick up on it.
A shiny, constantly wiped down kitchen will do wonders in the eyes of diners as it shows how clean the establishment is and how much care is going into their food and the surroundings in which it’s being prepared.
However… a leftover spillage or the use of a tasting spoon in the soup more than once will cause complaints and potentially an unpaid bill.
3. Don’t forget to smile
In the world of restaurant cooking, service is a time for concentration and focus, but often chefs can forget to smile and show that they’re still doing what they love most.
Going back to that ambiance, if every chef is serious and stony-faced, then the diners will pick up on it and that could potentially affect their experience.
If they see the chefs concentrating but also having fun with it, then diners will simply feel content. They’ll know their food is being prepared professionally and by people who care.
Sometimes it’s appropriate to have a kitchen that’s visible to customers and sometimes it’s not. It all depends on your brand and the space you’re working with.
But there’s nothing better than seeing someone pull and spin pizza dough or plate up a delicious looking meal.
So, if you’re thinking of a change or already have an open plan kitchen, don’t forget about the above. Because it could make or break your business if it’s not executed properly.