Having a food truck and commissary kitchen that aren’t organized will lead to poorly prepared and poorly served food. Not having an organized kitchen will most certainly lead to a loss of customers. We always stress that word of mouth marketing is the best advertising you can get, unfortunately it works both ways. All it takes is one customer who had a bad experience with the food you serve to ruin your food truck’s reputation.
How To Design An Organized Kitchen For Your Food Truck
Preparing food in a food truck can be stressful and chaotic. Customers are waiting, and everyone of them want a great meal. Design an organized kitchen that is about producing great food quickly in a clean environment, streamlining the processes from prep to plating, and minimizing waste.
Setup Zones Based On Food Prep
When you are planning an organized kitchen for your food truck you’ll want to take several things into consideration when you plan the location of equipment. The key is to know your menu and the process involved in preparing it. If you are serving multiple dishes within your concept, your setup is going to be different from a food truck that has a simple menu.
For most food truck’s, plan on a minimum of a refrigerator, freezer, prep station, hot line, and/or cold (salad/sandwich) line. You’ll also need a completed dish drop-off area, a three compartment sink, and a hand washing sink.
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Creating An Organized Food Truck Kitchen
When arrange the equipment in your truck, create a setup that keeps employees from running all over the place. The average food truck runs with a minimum of three employees on any shift. This includes the head chef, a cook and a service window attendant. Imagine the chaos if all three were crossing paths all shift long.
To keep each person in their spot as much as possible, create work zones that contain almost everything that person needs. A hot line should have stoves, ovens, deep fryer, and grill on one side. The other side should contain under-counter refrigeration, a service window waitstaff drop off area, and a work zone above the refrigeration.
A cold line should include under-counter refrigeration, an area to hold sandwich and salad prep items that need to be refrigerated, and a large counter space for prepping. Since space is at a premium, combine the stations for vegetable prep and cold dish assembly. Additionally, this line should have a refrigerator compartment with glass sliding doors so that prepped salads and desserts are easily accessible to service window staff.
Creating An Organized Commissary Kitchen
Behind the scenes in your commissary kitchen, you should have access dry, refrigerated and frozen food storage, convection ovens, standard ovens, and a large prep table. Just as when setting up your food truck kitchen, your commissary should be setup to maximize effort with minimal movement.
Small Equipment Usage & Storage
Each station should have a place for knives and other hand-held kitchen equipment, and room for anything else required to prepare any meal on the menu. Pots and pans should be hung from the ceiling over the hot line. Sheet trays can be stored in the portable unheated food storage racks. Setup equipment in a location so that all employees who need them have access to them.
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Keep Your Staff And Customers Happy
When your staff has everything at its disposal to create your menu items, the staff is happy. This means your staff will create quality dishes that your customers will be asking for more. Additional tips include making sure any new staff follows the “first-in, first-out” rule for ingredients, making sure to label and date any prepared foods, as well as anything that goes into the freezer. Not only do the inspectors require this, but this ensures that your ingredients and pre-prepped foods are always fresh.
When you set up an organized kitchen, you keep employees from burning out and serving great quality food, thus satisfying your customers. This will lead to them boasting about their meal which in turn will have them (and friends) return time and again.
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The Bottom Line
A poorly organized kitchen will lead to chaos, but a properly laid out food truck kitchen will run like a well-oiled machine. Everyone should know their place, and there should be a place for everything. Food truck kitchens tight and cramped, but laying out your kitchen logically will help you and your staff any chef put more joy in your cooking.
Do you have an organized kitchen in your food truck and commissary? Did we miss any tips to help other vendors? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section or social media. Facebook | Twitter