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Help with designing service and final plating floor plan  


VungTaukid6092
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Moderator note: This post was split from Recommended ways to expedite pho service

@chuynh

Thanks for the awesome answer. Can you provide some guidance on how I can start creating a useful service and final plating floor plan? I'm actually exploring a hybrid cooking/service area where we pass the final food to a service counter all in the open, no pass-through window or pass-through counter. My goal is to create a system when we require a minimum of staff members to serve 2 orders per minute during lunch rush. The peak is probably 130% of lunch rush.

I'm attaching a sketch to show you what I'm thinking of doing. Note that it does not include a few things I consider confidential.

Thanks for any guidance.

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chuynh
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@vungtaukid6092

Got your message and will take a look. I have training to give this weekend so will try to reply early next week.

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SydneyPerson38
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Thanks @vungtaukid6092 for throwing out this question.

@chuynh I'm also eager to read your reply to this and learn how I can apply to my situation.

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chuynh
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@vungtaukid6092

Ok so first a few caveats. Providing the sketch is helpful to help us discuss the specifics instead of just glossing over general scenarios. That said, it would be even better to also provide dimensions of the space that we have to work with; many people don't realize that a few additional inches of reach or one additional step, when repeated hundreds of times over the course of days, months and years, can make a huge difference.

Anyway based on what you provided, though without knowing the specific dishes you're serving, here are some feedback.

Requirements:

  • Lunch rush is 2 orders per minute = 120 orders per hour.
  • Also peak is about 130% of lunch rush which means 2.6 orders per minute or 156 orders per hour.
  • For regular lunch rush use the 120 orders per hour as design requirements.
  • Lunch rush must be sustained for 2-3 hours.
  • For peak use 3 orders per minutes or even 20 seconds per order as design requirements.
  • Peak can be sporadic to constant but maybe in waves.
  • When sporadic peaks become more constant, this becomes your new regular rush, and recalculate your new peaks.
  • Also assume takeout orders go through the same paths, with the only difference being final packaging before service.

Design considerations:

  • Suggest to have an expeditor (80% customer facing) and an assistance (80% cooking staff facing).
  • Add multi-level shelves to allow cooking staff to more easily pass through cooked foods to the front (expeditor), while keep the cooking area clear for cooking.
  • Add work counter (blue in attached drawing) with under-counter shelves to further help expediting team to inspect and finalize both eat-in and takeout orders.
  • The expeditor runs everything at the pass, but focus more on customer facing tasks to ensure foods go out properly and timely.
  • The expeditor assistance does everything to help final plating for expeditor approval. He/she is focused more toward making sure cooked foods come out correctly and timely as called for.

That's the gist of it. Obviously there are variations to any scenario, and this is not a "set it and forget it" task. Everything must be regularly adjusted and improved so you get better and better all the time. More critically, you must allow your staff to give feedback and suggestions. Additional variations may be needed for different traffic requirements and patterns, for simpler versus more complex menus, and for staff proficiency.

There are a lot more to this exercise. So if you truly want to have a tight operation, with staff efficiency and even satisfaction, increased quality in the products you send out, then this is the right question to ask and resolve at this early stage of your design. If we can take into account further detail such as what foods are being prepared and served; what are the specific space dimensions, equipment type, and staff level of proficiency; and eat-in versus takeout final plating or packaging, I'm pretty sure there are tons of things we can design out further.

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SydneyPerson38
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@chuynh

Awesome tips and graphic Cuong. Very clear and easy to understand.

In the U.S., isn't there a minimum required walkway width of 48" for all areas? So how does this 48" impact a given design if I want to keep things within reach for the expeditor(s) AND maintain high volume service?

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chuynh
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@sydneyperson38

For regulation related issues, it's best to either work with an experienced local architect or contact the relevant governing department directly. This is the only way to be sure, and will help you save time and confusion by just asking random people.

With that said, from an operational point of view and assuming that you do have to meet the 48" walkway, there are some important design considerations for effective expediting.

  • Design flows so that everything goes across directly from one counter to the other (see graphic). Train both cooking and expediting staff to be aware of this and practice this at all times.
1576261001-expedit-VungTaukid6092-forum-going-across.jpg
  • Place all utensils, final garnishes, and takeout packaging materials within reach. This applies to a) reaches to lower shelves below the standard 29" counter height, b) to shelves at eye levels, c) to higher shelves but still within reach of average or smaller person that can work efficiently in the space.
  • Design sequence of action that will naturally flow from one action to another, that allows natural movement as the staff turns from one station to another, and that enables reaching for any and all items needed to fully assembly orders as they arrive at the passthrough point out to customers. Good training will help develop good muscle memory resulting in good habit and efficiency.
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Khangster09
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@chuynh @sydneyperson38

I'd also add that most people are not aware of the fact they can "stored" things hanging down from the ceiling. Most commercial kitchen pots, pans, utensils and tools can be hung from ceiling racks. As long as you design this correctly, these racks allow staff to have most everything within reach AND free up even more storage space from eye level down. Thanks to Cuong for this idea (and many others) from our previous discussion. I'm in the process to retrofit this for my existing kitchen and definitely can't do without in future kitchen should I go there.

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1576608939-pot-rack-ceiling-mount.jpg
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chuynh
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@khangster09

100% legit ways to indirectly improve expediting during peak service. At a higher operation level, these are good things to have in any commercial kitchen anyway because they maximize BOH space utilization, space that you're already paying for but not using at all.

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