12 Types of Restaurant Kitchens: How Tech Helps Operations
Let’s look at 12 kinds of restaurant kitchens. You’ll see what makes the kitchen optimal for each restaurant type. In the end, see how food tech can help your brand secure online ordering trends for restaurants–no matter your restaurant kitchen style.
Clearly, you never step into the same kitchen twice: no restaurant stays exactly like any other. Some kinds of restaurant kitchens suit speed, accuracy, and operational efficiency–especially with POS system-integrated software to unify every customer request. Others faulter in their design, hurting operations and sales as a result.
Learn which restaurant kitchens are most suited to your type of establishment. Then, you’ll discover how technology can take your on-premise restaurant to new heights through off-premise orders. Read on to learn more.
Key Takeaway: Restaurant kitchen types enable different forms of advantage, efficiency, and service based on business goals and conditions.
12 Types of Restaurant Kitchens
While no two kitchens look or operate identically, they all serve customers with food. Still, each type of kitchen in a restaurant serves to assist a unique cooking and serving style.
When designing or refining your restaurant kitchen, consider menus, facility sizes, budgets, as well as your staff experience and skill.
It requires different approaches, management, and overall operations to run the different types of restaurant kitchens. Review these 12 restaurant kitchen types to see how they meet your current business or service model.
- Traditional Kitchen
- Fast Casual Kitchen
- Fine Dining Kitchen
- Buffet Style Kitchen
- Cafeteria Style Kitchen
- Food Truck Kitchen
- Catering Kitchen
- Commissary Kitchen
- Centralized Kitchen
- Test Kitchen
- Satellite Kitchen
- Open Kitchen
Detailed Review of Restaurant Kitchens
1. Traditional Kitchen
A traditional kitchen is the most common type of restaurant kitchen. It is designed for cooking and serving food in a sit-down, table service format. The kitchen typically has a main dining room and a separate area for the kitchen staff to prepare food.
There is usually a pass-through window or door between the kitchen and the dining room so that servers can easily bring food to the guests. Traditional kitchens are often found in fast food restaurants, family style dining, and casual dining establishments.
How does restaurant technology help optimize traditional kitchens?
By automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, such as food ordering and inventory management, restaurant technology helps free up valuable time for chefs and kitchen staff.
Additionally, restaurant technology improves communication between front of house and back of house staff, ensuring everyone is on the same page and working together to provide the best possible guest experience. In a traditional kitchen, these benefits can be extremely valuable in helping to improve operational efficiency and quality of service.
2. Fast Casual Kitchen
A fast-casual kitchen is similar to a traditional kitchen but is designed for quick service. Food is cooked to order and served in a buffet-style line. Fast casual kitchens are typically found in pizzerias, sandwich shops, and other quick service restaurants.
How does restaurant technology help optimize fast casual kitchens?
Let's discuss some of the ways that restaurant tech can be valuable to your kitchen:
- Automated order taking and processing: Automated order taking and processing can help reduce errors and speed up service. It can also help free up staff time so they can focus on other tasks.
- Kitchen management systems: Kitchen management systems help streamline food preparation and track inventory. This helps reduce waste and ensure that dishes are prepared correctly.
- Mobile ordering: Mobile food ordering allows customers to place orders directly from their smartphones or other mobile devices. This reduces wait times and increases accuracy.
- Online ordering: An online ordering platform streamlines the ordering process and makes it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for. Additionally, online ordering help reduces costs associated with traditional methods like phone order taking.
- Self-service kiosks: Self-service kiosks help reduce lines and wait times by allowing customers to place orders themselves. Additionally, self-ordering kiosks can provide information about menu items and nutritional content.
3. Fine Dining Kitchen
A fine dining kitchen is designed for high-end restaurants that serve gourmet food. The kitchen is usually much larger than a traditional or fast casual kitchen, and it is laid out so the chef can see all the stations from one central location. There is typically a separate area for prep work, as well as a dishwashing area. Fine dining kitchens are often found in upscale hotels and resorts.
How does restaurant technology help optimize fine dining kitchens?
Here are some of the ways that restaurant technology can help fine dining kitchens run like clockwork:
- Make sure each dish is cooked perfectly every time with temperature sensors.
- Keep track of inventory with real-time alerts when food stocks are running low.
- Streamline communication between the front and back of house with digital order tickets and kitchen display system.
- Automate menial tasks like dishwashing with robotics.
- Maximize energy efficiency with smart kitchen appliances.
- Improve food safety with real-time monitoring of food temperatures throughout the cooking process.
- Keep your guests happy with digital ordering and table management systems.
- Get insights into your kitchen’s performance with reporting and analytics tools.
4. Buffet Style Kitchen
A buffet-style kitchen is designed for restaurants that serve buffet-style meals. The kitchen is typically laid out in a U-shape so guests can easily access the stations.
There is usually a separate area for the buffet line and a dishwashing area. Buffet-style kitchens are often found in buffet restaurants, all-you-can-eat restaurants, and banquet facilities.
How does restaurant technology help optimize buffet-style kitchens?
By automating tasks such as food preparation, cooking, and clean-up, restaurant technology can help reduce the amount of time and labor required to run a buffet-style kitchen. Additionally, restaurant technology helps streamline operations and improve efficiency by integrating with point-of-sale and inventory management systems. Finally, by providing real-time data on food quality and safety, restaurant technology can help ensure that buffet-style kitchens serve their customers safe and healthy food.
5. Cafeteria Style Kitchen
A cafeteria-style kitchen is designed for restaurants that serve food in a cafeteria setting. The kitchen is laid out linearly so guests can easily access all of the stations. There is usually a separate area for the food line and a dishwashing area. Cafeteria-style kitchens are often found in school cafeterias, hospital cafeterias, and corporate dining facilities.
How does restaurant technology help optimize cafeteria-style kitchens?
In a traditional cafeteria-style kitchen, cooks and servers constantly move between stations, preparing and serving food. This can be highly chaotic and inefficient, leading to long lines and frustrated customers.
However, a cafeteria-style kitchen can run like a well-oiled machine with the right technology. By installing point-of-sale (POS) systems at each station, orders can be placed electronically and sent directly to the kitchen staff. This eliminates the need for paper tickets and reduces the chances of errors.
Online ordering systems can be integrated with the POS system, allowing customers to place their orders before they even arrive at the restaurant. This helps to reduce wait times further and improve the overall dining experience.
Everything from the type of restaurant kitchen you have to the equipment you will be using is essential to keeping your business running smoothly. Take the time to understand what you will need to start a successful restaurant and pick out a kitchen type that will work best for your business model.
6. Food Truck Kitchen
A food truck kitchen is designed for restaurants that serve food from a food truck. The kitchen is typically small and compact, with all equipment stored in cabinets or shelves. There is usually a prep area, as well as a dishwashing area. Food truck kitchens are often found in mobile catering businesses, food trucks, and concession stands.
How does restaurant technology help optimize food truck kitchens?
Technology is increasingly becoming a staple in restaurant kitchens – and food trucks are no exception. There are several ways that restaurant technology can help optimize food truck kitchens, making them more efficient and productive.
For instance, a mobile point of sale system (mPOS)can be extremely helpful for streamlining ordering and payments. This helps speed up service and reduce errors. Additionally, GPS tracking can be used to help route food trucks more effectively, saving time and fuel costs.
Inventory management systems can also be used to keep track of stock levels and ensure that food trucks always have the ingredients they need on hand. This can help to minimize waste and avoid costly last-minute trips to the store.
7. Catering Kitchen
A catering kitchen is designed for restaurants that cater events. The kitchen is typically larger than a traditional or fast casual kitchen, and it is laid out so the chef can see all the stations from one central location. There is usually a separate area for prep work, as well as a dishwashing area. Catering kitchens are often found in banquet halls, event venues, and hotels.
How does restaurant technology help optimize catering kitchens?
There are many ways that restaurant technology can help to optimize a catering kitchen. For example, online ordering systems can streamline the ordering process and make it more efficient. Similarly, online reservation systems can help to keep track of bookings and ensure that the kitchen is prepared for each event.
Additionally, GPS tracking systems can be used to monitor deliveries and ensure that food arrives fresh and on time. Finally, mobile apps can provide real-time updates on inventory levels, allowing the kitchen to stay well-stocked at all times. Utilizing these various technologies allows a catering kitchen to run more smoothly and efficiently, providing a better experience for both customers and staff.
8. Commissary Kitchen
A commissary kitchen is a kitchen that is not attached to a brick and mortar restaurant. Instead, it is a central kitchen where food is prepared and delivered to the restaurant. Commissary kitchens are often found in pizza delivery, food truck, and catering companies.
How does restaurant technology help optimize commissary kitchens?
Restaurant technology helps optimize commissary kitchens in several ways. For example, it can help to streamline food preparation and delivery, track inventory levels, and manage staff schedules.
Restaurant tech also helps improve communication between the kitchen and front-of-house staff, as well as between the commissary kitchen, wholesale meat and wholesale food suppliers. By using restaurant technology to its full potential, commissary kitchens can operate more efficiently and effectively, providing a better experience for employees and customers.
9. Central Kitchen
A central kitchen is similar to a commissary kitchen but is attached to a brick-and-mortar restaurant. The kitchen is typically used to prepare food for multiple restaurants within a chain.
How does restaurant technology help optimize the central kitchen?
For example, advanced restaurant inventory management systems can help you keep track of the ingredients and supplies you have on hand, avoiding overstocking or running out of items. You can also use technology to track your production to ensure that you’re meeting customer demand. In addition, online ordering systems can help you take and track orders from other locations, so you can better manage your inventory and production.
Restaurant technology also helps you improve communication between your central kitchen and other locations. For example, if you have a food truck or satellite restaurant, you can use mobile apps to send real-time updates on menu changes or specials to those locations. This way, your staff will always be up-to-date on what’s available and can make the necessary adjustments accordingly.
10. Test Kitchen
A test kitchen is a kitchen that is used to test new recipes and menu items. The kitchen is typically smaller than a traditional or fast casual kitchen, and it is laid out so that the chef can easily test different cooking methods and ingredients. Test kitchens are often found in food manufacturing facilities, restaurant chains, and catering companies.
How does restaurant technology help optimize test kitchens?
When it comes to restaurants, test kitchens are essential for trying out new menu items and perfecting existing ones. But test kitchens can be expensive, so many restaurants are turning to technology to help optimize them. Here are some ways that restaurant technology can help:
- Automated Kitchen Equipment: Automated kitchen equipment can help chefs save time and money by reducing labor costs and increasing efficiency. For example, robotic arms can prepare food faster and more accurately than a human chef, while sous vide machines can cook food evenly and perfectly every time.
- Menu Management Software: Menu management software can help restaurants keep track of all their recipes, ingredients, and costs. This information can then be used to help optimize the menu and ensure that each dish is profitable.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software: CRM systems help restaurants track customer behavior and preferences. This information can be used to customize the menu and offer dishes that are more likely to appeal to customers. In addition, CRM software can help restaurants build loyalty programs and keep track of customer contact information.
11. Satellite Kitchens
Satellite kitchens are smaller satellite versions of a restaurant’s main kitchen. They are usually located in high-traffic areas near restaurants, such as shopping malls.
Satellite kitchens are used to prepare food for customers who order at the counter or pick up their food at the satellite kitchen’s window. Satellite kitchens typically have a limited menu and may not be able to accommodate special orders.
How does restaurant technology help optimize satellite kitchens?
Here are some ways that restaurant technology can help optimize satellite kitchens:
- Online ordering platforms make it easy for customers to order from satellite kitchens.
- GPS tracking can help kitchen staff know exactly where orders are coming from and how to best route them.
- Mobile apps can help customers track their orders and receive real-time updates on their food’s progress.
- Digital signage can help promote menu items and special deals at satellite kitchens.
- Kiosks can help streamline the ordering process for customers.
- Take advantage of order-ahead capabilities offered by many online ordering platforms (such as Order with Google).
12. Open Kitchen Restaurants
In open kitchen concepts, no walls separate the prep cook from the in-room dining spaces. In restaurants, the open kitchen design puts an emphasis on safety, quality, and transparency with your customer. The open kitchen hides nothing.
Allowing patrons to see into your kitchen and back-of-house shows confidence in your staff’s experience, skill, and standards. Adding to that, many open kitchen restaurants feature the freshness and quality of their ingredients as part of the customer experience of dining.
For customers seeing the importance of sustainability as a preference, this kitchen style can give brands an inherent advantage. Kitchen managers also know the value of customers seeing food prepared with great integrity.
Technology for Restaurant Kitchens
Of course, your restaurant’s relevance and appeal to customers depends on more than your kitchen. The way your technology integrates with your restaurant will also matter when it comes to capturing new business in the digital age.
In fact, competition online has never been steeper as mobile technology, delivery service providers, and even text-to-order features take over the market. Traditional kitchens that operate with clunky processes or that once managed to keep up manually can slip behind tech-enabled enterprises.
The case is this: food service, fueled by online orders, may reach nearly $1 trillion in revenue by the close of the year. Beyond that, about half of restaurant owners expect even more competition than in previous years. And, over 90% of restaurants also say that wasted restaurant food costs present a real issue for their restaurant prime cost.
To assist restaurant kitchens of all types, restaurant owners choose software partners with the right tools to catch online orders in the quickly changing industry. These technologies transform operations, enhance customer satisfaction, and even cut the food costs of concern before adding increased restaurant sales.
Frequently Asked Questions About Types of Restaurant Kitchens
The many types of restaurant kitchens makes staff wonder which is best for their restaurant–and how they all work.
Learn what makes up different kinds of kitchens, and see how you can choose the right layout and technology for your restaurant kitchen.
What are the three major parts of restaurant kitchens?
In every kitchen, you will find three standard parts of a restaurant kitchen:
- Cooking areas
- Washing commons
- Storage spaces
What is a restaurant kitchen layout?
A restaurant kitchen layout designs the kitchen space, even the placement of all appliances and equipment.
An appropriate restaurant kitchen layout ideally creates an efficient workspace that meets all your team’s cooking and service needs.
What is a main kitchen in a restaurant?
The main kitchen is a restaurant’s primary food preparation area. It is usually where the chef de cuisine or executive chef works, and it is typically the busiest area in the restaurant.
Other staff members, such as sous chefs, line cooks, prep cooks, and dishwashers, also work in the main kitchen. The main kitchen usually has a lot of different stations, each with its own specialized restaurant equipment.