How to Optimise Your Café or Bakery Space for Use as a Dark Kitchen

Dec 20, 2021 10:00:00 AM

If you currently run a café or bakery space – you’re sitting on a potential after-hours goldmine!

 

We all know commercial kitchens and equipment come with substantial costs. You’ve invested a lot of time and effort creating a space that’s perfect for creating delicious food. So why not make the most of it?

 

If your current operations are mainly during daytime hours, why not use the space for an evening and night-time ghost kitchen brand? There are many people eager to rent kitchen spaces – ready to take advantage of the online ordering boom. You could even turn your hand to running a virtual food brand yourself!

 

So how can you optimise your café or bakery space for use as a dark kitchen?

 

Here’s some of the most important considerations…

 

Update your layout

 

Although there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to ghost kitchen layouts – ask yourself whether your café or bakery kitchen could be improved. Create functional pathways for staff and consider “assembly line” or “island style” approaches. This all improves teamwork and increases efficiency – beneficial for your existing operations as well as new projects.

 

When assessing your layout, remember you’ll need to leave space for delivery pick-up too!

 

Look up

 

Are you making the most of your vertical space? Think about what you can store in shelving or racks and any kitchen equipment that could be wall-mounted. Having utensils visible and accessible will prevent precious time spent rummaging for that favourite knife. This will also create more space for prep-work, further improving your work flows.

 

Embrace multi-use equipment

 

If you’re updating your equipment – ask yourself what else can it do?

 

For instance, a bakery stand mixer can be used for so much more than kneading dough. You can use it for creating flavoured butters, crumble mixes, guacamole or hummus… the list goes on! Immersion blenders can whip cream as well as sauces and salsas.

 

When buying new equipment, go for smaller sizes wherever possible – but don’t automatically go for the cheapest options. That unreliable oven or mixer will cost you time and money in the long-run…

 

Kitchen extraction

 

Whilst many cafes or bakeries may not have an existing extraction system – this isn’t necessarily the end of your ghost kitchen plans. Many Peckwater virtual food brands don’t require an extractor fan. With gas equipment you almost always need to install a hood, but this isn’t required for some electric ovens and equipment.

 

As a rule of thumb, if you are cooking greasy foods on any equipment (creating a lot of smoke) an extractor fan will be needed. Contact your local council if you are ever unsure on health and safety requirements or reach out to our team for advice on getting started!

 

Whatever kind of kitchen you operate, Peckwater Brands can help. We work with partners across the hospitality spectrum, from coffee shops to cafes, pubs and bakeries – with brands that can slot into any kitchen. Get in touch today to discuss your equipment, cuisine, training and staffing requirements – we’d love to help.


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