Open kitchen restaurants are restaurants in which the kitchen area is exposed and diners are able to watch their meal being prepared. Especially with the recent public fascination with cooking, probably spurred by cooking shows on television, having an open kitchen restaurant design can be a great idea. Many customers will be thrilled to see how their meal is prepared, and work up an appetite just watching and smelling the culinary creations. Whether or not a customer knows how to cook, they will be fascinated to see the way a restaurant kitchen operates a facet of the business that is usually hidden behind a wall and swinging door. Open kitchen restaurants provide an extra level of entertainment for diners, but demand a high level of attention by restaurant employees, owners, and managers.
The design of open kitchen restaurants demands extra attention to be placed on the restaurant kitchen. Will it be at the center of the dining area or off to the side? The aesthetic appeal of the kitchen will have to be high. Restaurant kitchens usually maximize ease of access to work surfaces and pantries. However, if the kitchen can be seen by all customers, it will need to be set up to match the restaurant design. Commercial kitchen appliances will also have to look presentable, which may raise the equipment startup costs of the venue. Restaurant consultants can help give restaurant advice when it comes to aesthetic appeal and workability in a restaurant kitchen.
Work Ethics of Restaurant Employees
Having an open restaurant kitchen places a lot of extra responsibility of restaurant employees. First and foremost, the cleanliness of the restaurant kitchen will have to be impeccable at all times. Many restaurants with open kitchens choose to be open fewer hours than other venues, usually for late lunch and dinner. Reducing the hours can allow the preparation work to be done before opening time, and the kitchen can be scrubbed and spotless by the time customers arrive. Another important factor to take into consideration is employees’ kitchen behavior. Anyone who has worked in professional kitchen knows the coarse language that can be thrown around and the yelling matches that can take place. When the customers are able to see the kitchen, they are able to hear it, and so restaurant employees must be extremely professional and refrain from such kitchen behavior. In addition to knowing how to cook and how to keep a kitchen area clean, kitchen staff should also be trained during hours when the restaurant is not open, so that customers will see a professional and efficient kitchen, since the staff will be familiar with the menu and work style. Extra staff uniforms should be available so that employees can always look clean and professional.
Are Open Restaurant Kitchens Worth the Effort?
Open restaurant kitchens bring up an entire list of extra factors that must be focused on in a restaurant, at all times. It is much easier and often more convenient for venues to hide the kitchen from public view, taking the stress off kitchen staff and restaurant managers. However, exposing a restaurant kitchen to customers can draw culinary enthusiasts and give a restaurant an edge in entertainment, over other venues. Open restaurant kitchens can be well worth the time and monetary investment, but may not be the right choice for every business.