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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on March 15th, 2017

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Everything You Need to Know About a Commercial Kitchen Remodel


In order to meet the needs of a restaurant or a similar commercial operation, a commercial kitchen must be well designed. Without up to date appliances and efficient layout, your commercial kitchen could slow down your commercial operation, wasting company money and reducing efficiency. A good commercial kitchen remodel will solve problems and improve efficiency to ensure that your commercial operation is as profitable as possible.

At Litchfield Builders, we help our customers realize their business’s potential. Starting with a consultation and remodel planning session, we help our clients make their commercial kitchen meet its maximum potential.

Thinking about breathing new life into your restaurant? Learn the ins-and-outs of restaraunt renovation with our free guide.

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Characteristics of a Good Commercial Kitchen Design

Most commercial kitchens need to have five characteristics in order to operate successfully.

  • Spacious. The size of your commercial kitchen must be suitable for the number of employees who work there. When determining the appropriate size of the commercial kitchen, businesses must take into account the number of employees anticipated in the future, not just the number of employees currently working at the kitchen. Leaving room for expansion can help you get the most for your commercial remodel.
  • Resourceful. Cabinets, countertops and appliances that serve double purposes can help your business fit as much as possible into your commercial kitchen space. Resourcefulness is especially important for commercial kitchens that operate out of small spaces.
  • Energy efficient. Using the most modern and energy-efficient appliances can help save your commercial kitchen money while also reducing your business’s carbon footprint. Using energy efficient appliances can also bring in clients who like to support businesses that have committed themselves to protecting the environment.
  • Meets health and safety standards. Health and safety is important for the protection of your employees as well as the protection of your clients. Health and safety standards change with time, so many older kitchens sometimes must address new health and safety standards in their remodels. In addition, many commercial kitchen owners choose to remodel to address safety challenges faced by employees, even if their kitchens are technically compliant with local codes.
  • Easy maintenance Improving ease of maintenance can save your employees money and time, which enables your business to focus more on product improvement and other measures that can help your business grow.

Uses for a Successful Commercial Kitchen

The type of remodel that your business takes on will depend on the uses of your commercial kitchen. Below are some of the most common uses for commercial kitchens

Restaurant Kitchen

In general, restaurant kitchens aren't seen by customers. As a result, remodels for restaurant kitchens are typically focused on improving efficiency, upgrading appliances, installing the latest energy efficient fixtures and making smart use of the commercial space. Most restaurant kitchen remodels pay little attention to aesthetics. Accessibility and efficiency are the focus of restaurant kitchen remodels.

Cooking Courses/Schooling

Teaching kitchens usually teach students how to cook for commercial enterprises like restaurants. For cooking courses and teaching kitchens, space is important because every student needs a separate space to cut vegetables, spread out ingredients and make dishes. Instructors also need room in teaching kitchens in order to observe students as they prepare dishes.

Many modern teaching kitchens also use a wide variety of kitchen tools as well as technologies for teaching. These tools and technologies give students the exposure they need to cook in a real restaurant. These technologies may need their own separate storage space.

Place of Work Kitchen

Commercial buildings often have kitchens where food is prepared for employees, and often businesses provide areas for employees to prepare food for themselves. Commercial kitchens of this nature need a lot of space for multiple chefs and often extra space for different styles of cooking.

For commercial kitchens that produce a buffet for a large cafeteria, space is needed to produce enough food for the entire cafeteria space. Businesses that grow in size over time may need to expand their commercial kitchen. In addition, kitchens designed for employees to prepare their own food may have the look of a normal household kitchen, with attractive cabinets and counters.

Create Goals & Begin Basic Planning

Before a commercial enterprise can begin a remodel, a great deal of planning must take place. Business managers and owners who wish to start the remodel process must first ask themselves why they're planning a kitchen remodel and what goals they hope to accomplish with the remodel.

Some common goals that businesses often hope to achieve with a commercial remodel include:

  • Better work environment for staff, visitors and so on. This may involve expanding the commercial space, creating more ergonomic work conditions in the kitchen, adding extra lighting and relocating cabinets in easier to reach places. To make the commercial kitchen a truly good work environment for staff, commercial kitchen owners are encouraged to study the work flow of their employees inside the kitchen.
  • Update appliances and tools. Old appliances and tools can cost businesses money by reducing efficiency of the kitchen and using more power than is necessary. Upgrading appliances can reduce utility bills and reduce the carbon footprint of a business.
  • Maximum utilization & resourcefulness. Some businesses choose to remodel their commercial kitchen simply because they want to get the most out of their commercial space. A good kitchen remodel can enable a business to produce more and better food, serve more or higher paying customers and increase profits overall.

Projected End Results

Commercial business owners must also ask themselves whether or not they hope their commercial remodel will help them produce more food or better quality food after their commercial remodel. Knowing the answer to this question could mean the difference between installing extra appliances, or upgrading to more sophisticated appliances.


Businesses that wish to take on a commercial kitchen remodel must first determine how much the remodel will cost to meet their goals. Meeting with contractors and getting bids for the job is the first step in establishing a budget. Once the business owner knows the approximate cost, financing can be secured.

Create Your Kitchen Remodel Team

Usually many people will be involved in a commercial kitchen remodel. Contractors, interior designers, chefs and other people from the business may all have valuable input on the design and construction of the project. Building up a team of people who can work together will ensure that the commercial kitchen is up to code, meets industry standards and also meets all the needs of your business.

Choosing a Process/Plan that Works for You

Most businesses need their commercial kitchen in order to function. Remodeling can be disruptive to the production of a product, servicing of customers and feeding of staff. Before beginning the commercial remodel, business owners must choose a method of managing this process to ensure the least disruption possible. Some possible solutions to this problem include:

  • Phased Construction. Remodeling in phases may allow the commercial operation to remain functional throughout the remodeling process. While this type of remodel has the advantage of enabling the business to keep functioning throughout the remodel, there are downsides as well. Staff members may find it difficult to function in a kitchen that is being remodeled. In addition, phased construction may limit the functionality of the kitchen throughout the process. Phased construction requires a lot of organization and coordination within the kitchen to ensure that all staff understands their roles and how to complete their jobs while the remodel is taking place. Finally, phased construction is often slower than a complete shutdown.
  • Complete Shutdown & Remodel A complete shutdown and remodel is often the fastest way to handle a commercial kitchen remodel. Often this type of remodel is necessary for large and extensive commercial kitchen upgrades. However, shutdown remodeling can be expensive for businesses, because this may prevent them from servicing customers during the process. Businesses that have seasonal businesses (for example, restaurants in tourist areas that are only open in the summer) may find this type of remodel to be ideal for their needs.
  • Temporary Commercial Kitchen. Some businesses simply relocate during their remodel. Opening up in a temporary location can have its advantages as well as disadvantages. Businesses that need to continue producing food can still produce a profit during the remodeling process. Restaurants that relocate during their remodel may lose old customers and gain new customers in their new location. It's very important to handle this process in a way that is well organized to ensure that the temporary location is as functional as the original location, and faithful customers know where to find the new business location.

Get Started With Your Commercial Kitchen Remodel Today

What are your commercial kitchen remodeling needs? Leave your comments in the box below! A good commercial kitchen remodel can help small businesses expand by improving the functionality of the commercial kitchen and enabling the business to produce a higher quality product, serve more customers, feed more employees and more. To get started on your remodel, the following steps will help:

  • Formulate goals.
  • Contact commercial contractors.
  • Make a budget.

Most important is to find a contractor that has experience working with local businesses to perform quality upgrades. For more information, click to download our Guide to Restaurant Renovation, or to get started with your remodel, contact New Haven's premiere general contractor, Litchfield Builders.


About Kevin Ahern

Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.