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Commercial Range suggestions?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm in the process of creating a business plan for a restaurant.  At this point, it's not definite.  However, it's time to get equipment spec'd out.


I'm looking for either 60" or 72" of range cooking space.  I'm also trying to determine layout.  I am looking at ranges with ovens (2).


I'm looking for inexpensive equipment that's rock solid (name isn't important, quality is).  If anyone has any suggestions of such equipment, I'm all ears.


Also, I'm trying to determine layout of the kitchen.  Would I be better suited to buy 2 identical 30" or 36" ranges or one 60" or 72" range?  Also, if I do buy 2 smaller ones, would it be better to put them together or have a fryer between them (thinking 2 cooks, the space between the ranges might be helpful (or would it?) )?  I could also be open to a 30" and a 48" if needed.  8 burners should be sufficient, but 10 is always 2 more than 8 :).  The other issue is whether to integrate a griddle/cooktop into the range or keep it separate.


The biggest issue on linear space is the hood.  Perhaps a 30" 4 burner with a 48" 4 burner with griddle so that the griddle was between the two sets of burners (so two cooks could use the griddle as needed)?


Seating would be 80-100 chairs.  Am I sizing right with the amount of burners?


While we're at it, any gas fryer suggestions would be appreciated.  I'm not even sure of the "capacity" I need.  I think a single unit with 2 baskets would be fine, but trying to figure out how many "pounds" I need.  The fryers should see pretty light use.  The most I can see in it at one time might be 12 mozz sticks in one basket and a double-order of fries in the other.


Let's switch gears on the fryer though.  I'm also considering offering a (not sure what they're called) food item that each table gets similar to chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant.  My whatever that is would be either fries or potato chips (cooked on-site).  If I were going that route, I still think that two baskets would be okay, but then the "pounds" may need to be increased.


Then there's the hood.  Is having a hood significantly longer than the heated cooking area a problem?  Hoods are expensive and expensive to install.  I'd prefer having one big one than having to add another one later.  My general cook line would be 60-72" of range space (burners and grill/griddle), 2' for the fryer, I'd like to also have a flat top, but that would be "expansion" if I moved into serving breakfast.  If there are any options to put a flat top over 4 burners, that would also be of interest (I won't need 8 burners for breakfast and could devote 4 to being that "flat top" for cooking eggs, sausage, bacon, etc).  I'd rather use a flat top than skillets for those tasks for a full breakfast shift. 


I'd also love to add a bread oven (like Subway uses), which would be stand-alone and take another 30-36 linear inches. 


Feedback (other than "dude, you're a mess") would be appreciated :)

post #2 of 15

Like me a while ago, I think you may be getting ahead of yourself.  Before you can effectively lay out a kitchen you need to know what your restaurant concept and service style will be and you need to know exactly what you will be serving.  Otherwise how can you know?  Those burners could be used for just sauteeing veg or you could have all sorts of different saute dishes.


Example: you have 3 items on the menu that require 1,1 and 2 pans respectively.  You get an order of each and you have 4 burners taken up for x amount of time.  You can serve x amount of these dishes in x amount of time.  How does that compare to your estimated peak service levels?  If it look's like a rush on saute would kill you then you need more burners, and if you have too many you're wasting money.


To me 8 burners seems like a lot for an 80-100 but that's just me.


It's always nice to have a counter top space in the middle of the hotline, especially beside the deep fryer and the saute.  I don't see why two cooks would be needed to work the one griddle, one guy should be able to handle it.


Having a significantly longer hood is not a problem, much better than having to expand it later.


Dude... what are you cooking?

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

The concept of the menu will be somewhat similar to Chili's.  Most of the apps will be deep fried, but the entrees which require frying will be pan fried.  There will be several pasta dishes, some American Italian staples (chicken parm, for example), burgers, a steak or two, and then southern American food. 


I was laying out the kitchen for two cooks at peak times and one for the majority of the time.  As such, I wanted to be able to "scale" the kitchen down for one person easily.  Facing the work area, there would be a fryer, a narrow work table to hold seasonings and utensils for the stove, the stove, the griddle, then another stove.  How many burners can one cook reasonably control at one time?  Obviously, I expect one burner to have a large pasta pot (4 baskets) at all times.  I just don't see having the cooks zoned for cooking just apps or just entrees, but more of a collective effort to get the food out. 


The size of the range itself is mostly a function of cost.  The larger ranges seem to be more cost effective (cost per burner/oven) than the smaller ones. 


Also, what I have envisioned in my mind would be the cooking area would be on the back wall (cooks facing away from the pass), under the pass would be a pizza prep table with the ingredients for the dishes easily accessible.  The pan would be placed on the front lip of the pizza prep table, grab the items needed from the bins above, turn around, toss it on the heat, plate on the front lip of the pizza prep table and then put on the pass for the servers to pick up.  The types of food held in the bins would be mostly veggies and sauces, with the prepped meats kept in the refrigerated base of the pizza prep table.  Yep, a pizza prep table and no pizza...  :)

post #4 of 15

Kitchen layout depends on a lot of things


Usually the dining room is designed first, or the raw space is "chopped up" for the best space for seating, and why not?


For the kitchen where the staff goes in and out, where the food will be picked up, and where the dirty dishes will be dropped off are very important considerations.


Next comes the hood, and you're right it IS expensive, probably teh highest single infrastructure cost for the whole restauarant. But a hood is jst a hunk of s/s steel with a bunch of filters.  Most of the money is in the design and installation of the ventialtion shaft, and in the extration fans and make up air.  The closer the hood is to the exhaust fans, the cheaper the cost will be, so great consideration should be placed on the location of the hood.  Then there's the fire suppression, or Ansul system, and this is configered by so many nozzles per open burners, per sq ft of grill/broiler, per fryer, etc. 



The best advice I can give, and advice that was given to me and used very well is this:


Get a paper floor plan of the place you have in mind, make sure it's in some kind of scale, and has windows, doors, fuse panels, columns, any existing plumbing, etc. noted on the plan.


Now get yourself a restaurant supply house catalouge and paper and siscors.  Make yourself "doll furniture". Little pieces of paper of the same scale as your plan, of tables and chairs, of bars, of commercial equipment--a word of warning with commercial equipment, if it has doors, make sure you include the door swing on your furniture.  The rest. supply catalouge will give you the dimensions for this, and most equipment doesn't vary much in size from mnfctr to mnfctr.  Then you make yourself some "people".


Then you play with your furniture and staff.  If you think you've got the plan down pat, take a picture, put it away for a day and come back to it.


Commercial equipment is pretty easy to come by--new or used.  But you are limited by your layout and infrastructure.  Right now place all the emphasis on layout and infrastructure, and worry about the equipment at a later stage  

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the information.  I've been going about it the exact opposite.  I was starting with the equipment, building the kitchen around the equipment needed, and building the dining room around the kitchen.  I figured I could arrange the dining room out of the space that's left.  I guess it's obvious which part of the restaurant I expect to be working in the most :). 

post #6 of 15

Yeah I know, I think like that too, but every business venture has been with partners. and F.O.H. minded parters only have the dining room on their minds.


Every seat is an opportunity to make a buck, so they usually want to cram as many seats as possible and give you a closet to work in.  Somewhere, in a textbook there is a ratio of cooking space to # of seats and sq ft of storge space, but to the best of anyone's knowledge, this has never been followed.


What you have to do is look at the property in question, and decide the maximum amount of seats possible, multiply this by your guest cheque average, and figure out what you could make.  Then figure out what your overhead would be.  This is by no means accurate, but gives you a tool to judge what properties are worth a closer look, and which ones aren't


If you're looking at properties that are "raw" or are not existing restaurants, figure on a minimum of 150 big ones to get open. If it's an existing restaurant that has all permits in place but needs a real good bath and it's armpits shaved, maybe 10-20 big ones.  Again these are not an accurate numbers, but a general idea of what to expect.


The two hardest things about opening your own place are:

1) Finding the cash

2) The first year of operation


After that, it's a walk in the park. 


No...  Actually I meant to say, after the first year, there's "never a dull moment"....... 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #7 of 15

THREE Cs  Concept, Cash, Construction......

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...


Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

post #8 of 15

Like foodpump said it's not always wise to follow the guidelines but it can help paint a picture if you are unsure.


For a table service restaurant, the average is 5-7 square feet for dining seat and 10-12 for total back of the house.  This varies with size and difficulty of menu but it usually works out to be around 25-30% of the total space for kitchen.  These formulas are very old school too and I don't think you'll see kitchens this big in most newer independent restaurants.  So if you have say 80 seats you should have a kitchen that is 400-560 square feet with a total restaurant square footage of around 1600-2200.  

post #9 of 15

You're asking the right questions, at least.  That's about 95% of it.


Before you go much farther in terms of figuring out the line equipment layout, you're going to have to decide whether both cooks are going to do each do everything, or whether there's going to be some division of responsibility. 


You haven't mentioned a char-grill or salamander.  You're going to need at least one, probably both.  The broiler-under-griddle arrangement probably won't work for your menu. 


If you're going to do a lot of soup service, fresh pasta, or other things which require a really big pot on the stove -- remember those guys render the front burner useless.   


You're asking for a lot from a double basket fryer.  You might want a separate single basket fryer just for your chip service.  Not only for the demand, but to keep the oil fresh and clean.  BTW, scratch made potato chips are a great idea -- especially if you have beer or bar service.  Go gaufrettes (waffle cut).  Offer a choice of two or three seasoned salts.  Man, that should kick!  For that matter, you could do worse than freshly made tortilla chips and salsa.


Will you be doing much baking?  What kind?


If you have the linear footage, you might think of your hot line, going from back to pass, as something like: Two basket fryer - post fryer rest and seasoning station - 48" range with 4 burners, 24" griddle, one convection oven - 26"- 36" counter-top char-broiler -  36" 6 burner range or  cooktop, straight oven, 36" overhead salamander.  And off the line, a single basket fryer where the cooks can reach it, with a chip holder and hot lamp, where FOH can get to the chips. 


I really like restaurants with open kitchens.  Have you thought of an open galley?



post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

I've thought about an open kitchen (at least I think that's what it would be called), but if so, I'm not sure if I don't need to reverse the layout so that the cook is facing the guests when cooking.  I like the way Macaroni Grill is set up.  My kitchen wouldn't be as big, but I would consider their kitchen setup to be "open".  However, they go through a TON of skillets and never reuse one.  I assumed I could just get something cooked, wipe the skillet out and go again.  But the way they handle their pasta dishes would be the same general idea I'd want to employ.  Toss in all the ingredients, saute, add sauce, heat, add pasta, mix, and plate.  I'm not sure I'll actually NEED two ovens, but I can use an oven as storage space, but can't use storage space for baking.  I'd PREFER to have one of these nice convection blodgett's like Subway uses (mostly because I want the height of it), but that's another 3' of line space and 3' of hood.  Bigger hood, bigger exhaust fan, more AC flying out the roof.  


Those griddle/broiler units look like a neat idea, but not enough clearance to put entree plates in there to melt cheese.  I was hoping to put a salamander over the "primary" stove, so I don't have to extend the vent hood.  I figure I could get by without a salamander and use the oven broiler, but that will certainly get tiresome quickly.  Perhaps I'll just get a big welding torch and go all "creme brulee" (sp?) on the entrees :).  Why melt cheese when you can ignite it?


Now here's for a dumb question out of left field... can I just put my "pasta" pot on the griddle? Other than cooking breakfast foods (and I'm not going to try to do a breakfast cannoloni to compete with those horrid breakfast burritos), I don't know that a griddle is going to be that important.  However, if I can make it a "multi-tasker" (bacon, eggs, sausage in the morning and pasta for lunch and dinner), then more power to me!  I don't know why it wouldn't work.  My pasta pot shouldn't be more than 12" or 14" in diameter, so that should easily fit on the griddle and give me room for a few burgers if needed.  Any pasta I can make fresh will be made fresh, so cooking time should be very short unless the customer needs an extruded pasta.


Now, I'm just going to whine.  Why is it that people think a steak needs grill marks?  As far as the "sear" goes, you get a better sear from meat in contact with hot metal.  Therefore, it seems to me that a griddle should give a better sear than a grill.  Furthermore, griddles aren't going to flare up.  In short, unless someone can tell me differently, it sure seems like a griddle would cook steak more evenly, possibly be juicier (juices don't drop into the grill, thus flareups), and all that jazz.  Perhaps I need to invest in a Sharpie marker instead of a grill.  It might impact taste, but they'll have their grill marks! :)

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Since I'm having fun with you guys, (me) tossing out all these nutty ideas, I wanted to add another one.  I'm unfortunately, serious, so PLEASE tell me how stupid it is (and WHY it's stupid).


I really want induction.  I can buy 2 of these 30" ranges for the price of a 60" commercial range with two ovens.  I realize the commercial unit should hold up better over time, but dangit, the only commercial induction cooktop I could find was $19k and required 3 phase power.


Other than the obvious smaller burners, talk me out of it.

post #12 of 15

Brulee means burnt and no one wants their cheese like that, scratch that idea.


I don't know what to say about the induction, I have no experience with those, but it sounds stupid.


You said "Bigger hood, bigger exhaust fan, more AC flying out the roof".  Won't you have a make-up air system installed in the hood and keep the kitchen ventilation separated from the rest of the building?

post #13 of 15

1) 'Course you can keep the pasta pot on the griddle.  Water only needs a gentle simmer, and the griddle can come in handy for keeping pans of pasta warm while you plate.


2) 'Course you can do steaks on a griddle.  This is the way it used to be done all the way up to the '70s.  You will have to call the steaks "seared" or "surface caramelized" or some kind of new-speak word, but it's perfectly fine to do so.  Many customers are brainwashed into seeing char-broiler marks though.


3) You only need to put a convection oven under the hood if it is a gas oven.  Electric ovens don't need to go under a hood since they don't give off exhaust fumes.  Another option is to get the ovens under your burners/griddle in a convection oven configeration.  Most, if not all mnfctrs will offer this option.  This might be a good option since you only need the convection to finish off a'la minute dishes on the line, but need a large convection workhorse for prep and baking--which should be done off-line anyway.


Get your menu hammered out first.  Then start looking at food eqpt places, get an idea of what's available, what the general costs are, and if you feel comfortable with the store.


Auctions are good places to get smallwares and non-mechanical/non-electrical items.  Anything from chinaware and glassware to pots and pans, inserts, shelving, sinks, furniture, but stay away from refrigration or dishwashers unless you plan to spend more money down the road or are an ex-refrigeration/hvac guy.  You have been warned, O.K.?  Gas eqpt is usually a good bet though, since not much goes wrong with it, and anyone can put in a new thermostat or thermocoupler, and stuff like Hobart mixers are pretty much bomb-proof anyway.


Focus on your menu,


Next biggie is the lease..........

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #14 of 15

Stay away from Japanese or Chinese brand stoves, ovens, frig, freezers, mixers etc.They need repair a lot and a load of down time. If you do buy, buy 2 so you always have at least one to use. Only thing that last are wok water stoves  and woks.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...


Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

post #15 of 15

We have a 6 burner DCS range with two ovens and a flattop.  It's about 10 years old and has held up well.  The only thing I wish it had was a push button lighter for the flattop.  I'm not sure if DCS is still making commercial ranges.

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