Kitchen Circulation: Reflections of a Foodservice Designer

When I was in 6th grade I was assigned the greatest project ever – to design and draw my dream home! What could be better? As I start to think about this dream home of mine, I know that it’ll be nothing like my parent’s house. . . it’s so tiny and doesn’t even have a pool! My house is gonna be HUGE! And it’ll have a movie theatre, a mini golf course, a roller rink, a trampoline room and of course, a swimming pool.

I sit down and start to draw my dream home, and it looks a little something like this. . .(only not nearly as nice because I was using colored pencils and a giant piece of poster board).

Dream House

Well, then I grew up, became a foodservice designer and realized that I would never live in said dream house. Looking back, I have to laugh at my design skills at the age of 12, because I included absolutely zero corridors or hallways! Just a room connected to a room connected to a room connected to the POOL!

It’s funny because today when I start to lay out a kitchen, I begin by thinking about traffic patterns and corridors. In the world of hospital foodservice design, there are four main traffic patterns.

  1. Deliveries entering the kitchen
  2. Tray carts to patient floors
  3. Soiled tray carts to the dishroom, and
  4. Staff/visitors to the retail serving area

These traffic patterns have a major impact on the overall foodservice layout, as well as the inter-department corridors.

If you think about all of the activity that’s happening in a kitchen, it’s a lot. People are not only working within their assigned work zones, but they are traveling to storage areas or walk-in boxes to gather ingredients/supplies and collecting soiled pans/utensils and dropping them in the dishroom. They need a way to travel about the department without disrupting the work of others. They need circulation . . . they need corridors!

That said, we do aim to utilize space in an efficient manner by dedicating as much as we can to the actual functions of the kitchen. Even still, we typically figure a 30% circulation factor on our kitchen designs. That means that just about 1/3 of your kitchen will be dedicated to circulation. The reason being is that we want to make sure that we create a distinction between “traffic aisles” and “work aisles”.

A traffic aisle is utilized for just that – traffic. It should not be an area where people are working. From a safety perspective, it’s dangerous to work in a traffic aisle, which is why we also include work aisles. Work aisles are used for working – slicing, dicing, assembling, cooking, baking, brewing, etc., not for pushing or parking carts.

Bottom line here is that, when designing a kitchen, it’s important to consider the corridors – the circulation required for employees to move around to complete their work. In addition, it must include both traffic aisles and work aisles to promote employee safety and efficiency. Unlike my dream home, a kitchen cannot be laid out as a room connected to a room connected to a room.

~Rochelle

Advertisements

Confessions Of A Former Operator After An Amazing Conference

Dinner

Attending the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) Conferences are one of the highlights of my year. The passion that the individuals have for their school and their program is always energetic and this year in Nashville was no exception. Occasionally I even miss being in operations when I’m at these conferences hearing about the amazing accomplishments of individuals, such as the newest Minah Award Winner Rich Neumann, or all of the incredible programs on various campuses. The education committee for each conference takes their job very seriously and I always enjoy the various speakers and edu-tainment which they provide. This year, among other professional speakers, 63 individuals from various institutions presented successful programs, information, and ideas on how to make their program better with their peers! Can you even believe it? 63 people just giving away their secrets as to how they were (and weren’t) successful so others can learn and succeed! The amount of information that these individuals share with one another is just amazing!

The items that stood out for me in the sessions I could attend were:

  • The definition of True Collaboration includes the word “PROCESS”
  • For a prospective student, when all other items about a college are equal (program, opportunity, scholarships, etc.), the DINING program can be the deciding factor!
  • I still totally GEEK out at analyzing numbers
  • Reducing food waste is on the mind of many and figuring out WHERE to start can be difficult
  • Being EPIC does not mean you are perfect
  • Including things like TVs, video game consoles and pool tables in a facility with an unlimited all you care to eat meal plan does not mean that there will be an increase in food cost or waste; it does mean is that student engagement INCREASES dramatically!
  • How we think we sound and what the rest of the world hears can be very DIFFERENT

Thank you to all the hardworking committee members of NACUFS for a great conference! In a world of so much negativity, it was a wonderful reminder that there are people who still want to Band Together – Learn together. Work together. Succeed together.

See y’all soon! – Megan