Guide: Hotel Kitchen Design Principles

June 17, 2022
Modular hotel kitchen

For hotels and resorts, the culinary stakes are higher. Guests expect—and pay more for—a level of service that goes beyond what they get from casual dining. 

The pressure is on professional kitchens to deliver consistency across multiple functions, from dream weddings and conferences to weekend buffets. For cooks and chefs, the kitchen is a stage where they showcase their work—and it must be designed to impress. 

Well-planned professional kitchens lead to happier employees and customers

Kitchen design matters for hotels and resorts. A study on the satisfaction of Ritz-Carlton hotel kitchen staff revealed that design and layout were determinants of how much they enjoyed their work. When employees labored in environments not optimized for efficiency, their productivity decreased, affecting their overall performance. 

However, staff members felt more content when their kitchens incorporated an ergonomic design and practical layouts.  

This attention to detail also trickles down to customers. An analysis showed that service was 13.2% faster, and customers experienced a 17.3% increase in satisfaction with their meals when cooks could see them. These studies highlight how important a well-designed kitchen is to delivering an enjoyable experience for both the front and back of the house. 

hotel kitchen

The principles of commercial kitchen design for hotels and resorts

Whether your hotel or resort accommodates business travelers, weekend warriors, or vacationers, your kitchen should be prepared to handle large volumes of service while maintaining consistency with every meal. 

And it all begins with a solid kitchen layout.

During the early days of planning, it's crucial to consult with your chef and other F&B stakeholders to understand their needs, which includes asking some of the following questions:

  • What kind of equipment will the team need?
  • How much storage do they require?
  • What are their expectations around workflow?
  • What menu(s) does the hotel or resort restaurant want to serve?

These insights will guide your hotel or resort's kitchen design and ensure that the appropriate equipment, workstations, tools, and storage are included in the final product.

Here is what to keep in mind while planning: 

​​​​​​​Space Efficiency​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

As a rule of thumb, the size of a hotel or resort's kitchen should coincide with the number of seats and tables in the dining area. After establishing this, most kitchens need about five square feet per seat (at a minimum) to accommodate guests. For instance, in a hotel restaurant seating 150, the kitchen needs 750 square feet for staff to work comfortably. This space would also include required safety features, electrical and plumbing connections, and other necessities.

Flexibility and Flow

Your commercial kitchen should be flexible enough to evolve with your establishment's menu. One way to do this is by utilizing mobile shelving, prep tables, and racks with movable wheels. This flexibility creates efficiencies for the kitchen's flow, makes training more manageable, and scales with your team. In addition, it reduces a lot of back and forth. Cooks can focus on their station, decrease communication issues, and prevent accidents. 

Energy Efficient Equipment

No high-volume kitchen can operate without the right equipment. Quality refrigeration units, freezers, stainless steel prep tables, and other crucial equipment ensure your staff has the best tools at their disposal. 

When choosing equipment for your hotel or resort, it needs to be easy to maintain, repair, and, more importantly, energy efficient. Cooking and refrigeration equipment consume 6-35% of the energy full-service restaurants use. Fryers are especially problematic because they spend 75% of the day idling. And all of it leads to more energy—and money—wasted. 

Delivery and Storage

Your commercial kitchen layout should have a dedicated area to receive and store fresh ingredients and dried goods. The loading dock should not be near any prep or cooking stations when products are shipped or received. It's also important to consider where ingredients will be stored. For most professional kitchens, placing this section further away from food prep areas keeps perishables and dried products separated, avoiding contamination.

modular commercial kitchen delivery


Sanitation areas

One area that affects how smoothly your kitchen runs is the cleaning station and waste removal areas. These are dedicated areas where dishes are washed and sanitized, and food waste is disposed of. As part of your kitchen's 'must-haves,' it needs to contain high-powered industrial dishwashers, three-compartment sinks, and enough drying racks to keep up with the pace of service. In addition, grease, organic materials, and wastewater should have sufficient drainage to dispose of them safely.

Proper Ventilation

Kitchen temperatures can run dangerously high. In a study of restaurant kitchens in the US, scientists found temperatures in food prep and cooking areas ranged from 61◦F (15.9◦C) on the low end to 106◦F (41.2◦C). At the higher end of the spectrum, these temps are not only harmful but significantly reduce performance. Cooks and chefs working under these conditions need the proper HVAC system that removes fumes and smoke and replaces it with cool, clean air. 

Safety standards

According to the NRA Education Foundation, one incidence of a foodborne illness could cost an establishment between $25,000 to $75,000. Preventing these expensive settlements starts by adhering to the health and safety standards outlined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and your state's Department of Public Health. 

Pay special attention to where stations are located. Food prep areas should be placed away from sanitation stations. Meanwhile, prepared and raw ingredients require separate storage areas.

resort kitchen


Commercial kitchen layouts designed to create optimal environments

ContekPro's mobile kitchens utilize the design principles above to maximize your team's performance. Our expertise lies in providing pre-designed professional kitchen layouts that prioritize functionality and efficiency—both of which teams need in hectic, high-volume environments.

Each kitchen is built using high-quality materials, commercial-grade equipment, and the other essentials staff require to maintain the high standards hotels and resorts' reputations rely on. 

We simplify the ordering and production process from the first conversation to delivery. Our team is always ready to help you build your hotel or resort's next commercial kitchen. 

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