Base/Centralized kitchens have been used for Modern distribution from many years in the food service industry with multiple service points from hospitals/ Industries/ institutions Etc. Now a days centralized kitchens are designed keeping in mind the Optimization of space/cost/ energy and manpower to get efficient result in food service distribution. The Base kitchen can be of many formats like fully cooked distribution or semi cooked food distribution or may processed food preparation & distribution.
Advanced format which is getting popular is Dark Kitchen. From Dark kitchens (where food is prepared for deliver only) to shared use kitchens where multiple brands perform under one roof and these spaces gives an opportunity to the food service providers to expand their operational needs to meet the ever growing demand for off premises orders on a low cost, cost is being saved in various aspect like Manpower/ Energy/Capital as well operational cost..
To get at mostbenefits the centralized kitchens are known for, it has to be planned and designed very discreetly. We tapped the commercial kitchen consultants and operators to share their best practises.
The best centralized kitchen layout supports the operations ideal work flow while also remaining flexible to adjust future needs. You are going to have the similar kind of basic flow pattern. Within that basic work flow, however the layout can vary, you might organize individual cooking areas according to the type of item cooked or cooking method.
WHY CENTRALIZED KITCHENS ?
Conducting the operations with a centralized kitchen provides better control over everything starting from receiving’s till preparation. The centralized receiving’s helps to control the quality of the product and makes the overall inventory management process easy.Central kitchens are more efficient because they allow you to automate your production process, human resource procedures, and delivery operations. Since many of the dishes’ essential components are prepared in the central kitchen, your restaurant staff can focus on precision and better customer service
The ability to adjust and changing the production needs with the volume is especially important in the case of centralized kitchens. Cooking equipment cab be placed on utility distribution system to allow for it to be interchangeable and prep tables and equipment are often mobile to allow for station setups to easily change.
The centralized kitchen also will consolidate a majority of your food scraps all in one place , this allows organic waste to be more easily disposed of in an environmental way, like composting. Depending on the volume of waste generated, options range from commercial sized outdoor compost bins to indoor electric composters also called as recyclers are planned.
Pros of Using a Commissary Kitchen
If you’re just starting out and don’t want to commit to a lease payment or long-term commitment, you should move toward using a commissary. New and emerging businesses who need kitchen access only periodically will benefit from a commissary kitchen’s flexibility. Because you’re simply renting space, there is a lower financial barrier to entry for a food entrepreneurs. Often priced by the hour, by the month, or on a membership basis, using a commissary kitchen means not having to commit to a long-term lease on a brick-and-mortar building. You also won’t have to invest in expensive kitchen equipment or appliances. Leases, equipment, and licensing could easily run into the tens-of-thousands of dollars or more. That’s a lot of financial burden to take on if you’re a small business.
You’ll have added storage options.
Many commissary kitchens supply additional space to store equipment, food prep items, or food. This is something you should look for when investigating commissary options. Storage can be rented in the form of shelves, refrigeration space, or freezer space. Having the option to rent storage space offers additional flexibility to increase or reduce capacity as needed. Plus, it can make your time in the kitchen far more efficient.
You can gain access to special equipment.
Need a Hobart Mixer? Industrial scale equipment is extremely expensive to purchase and maintain. One of the most valuable assets of a commissary kitchen is on-demand access to these unique pieces of equipment. Before committing to a commissary, investigate to see what equipment is included and what can be rented. The equipment needs of a baker will be different from someone launching a virtual restaurant.
Increase your workspace.
This is especially true for food trucks, food carts, independent caterers, and other mobile food operations. Food trucks are tight spaces and commisary kitchens allow you all the space you need to adequately prepare your product. If you’re a food entrepreneur, this can also give you the room to develop new product lines or start scaling up your operations to reach more customers. Now you can offer four flavors of hummus versus one! Then there’s delivery. Perhaps your business is seeing rising demand for delivery. That’s great for business, but it can take a toll on an already crowded restaurant kitchen. Restaurants are designed for service, so searching out commissary space strictly to fill the need for delivery orders can be a great pathway to growing your business.
Avoid responsibilities of ownership.
This is a huge benefit! Being responsible for a building and maintenance can eat up a lot of time and money. Renting a commissary means relinquishing the responsibility of overhead and maintenance to the owners, giving you the freedom to focus your time and energy on your business. Otherwise, you may find yourself fixing broken, expensive equipment, maintaining licensures, dealing with plumbing (sinks get clogged all the time!), or investing in specialized cleaning. Those aren’t responsibilities you need if you’re trying to run a food business.
These “co-cooking” spaces enable interactions with other entrepreneurs and influencers in your industry. If you’re just starting out, more seasoned business owners can help you navigate the industry or comply with local laws. Access to other food businesses can also open the door to mutual benefits such as bulk purchasing of product to decrease costs and collaborations for events like food truck rallies and pop-up dinners.
Often, getting access to a kitchen in your preferred area of town can be prohibitively expensive. Are your customers centralized in a dense or high-dollar area? It can be helpful to have an affordable nearby space for food prep.Often commissary kitchens are likely to have more accessible parking areas as well—maybe even a place to park your food truck overnight.
Connection with additional specialized services.
If your unique food needs involving disposing of water, grease, or other waste, commissary kitchens may provide ways to do so on site. They often also have relationships with specialized service providers that you’d otherwise need to pay out of pocket to use.
Cons of a Using a Commissary Kitchen
So what are the downsides of using a commissary? When should you think about renting a dedicated space?
Physical space is finite. If the commissary kitchen you’ve selected is full, you’re out of luck. Plus kitchen scheduling can often be an issue. If you prefer to work late at night or early in the morning, you’ll likely be fine. But kitchens can book up quickly during peak hours.
Lack of privacy
If you’re working on R&D for a new product, there’s no guarantee you’ll have the privacy to keep your work to yourself. Just like any shared space, you can expect people to be moving in and out often.
You get what they have.
If you find yourself needing specialized equipment or space beyond what’s available, you may have to find a new facility. Since you don’t own the space, introducing a large appliance would most likely be frowned upon by the owners. So if you are going to need deeply specialized tools that you can’t carry in a basket, you’ll likely want to look into getting your own dedicated space. Some commissaries may let you rent space to store pieces of equipment, but this can vary.
Scaling may mean moving.
While scaling up is great news for your business, once you scale, it’s likely you’ll outgrow the commissary. If you plan to grow a massive business, you may want to move into a new space before the growth begins in order to be adequately prepared.
You’re subject to the facility’s reputation.
If the commissary you’re renting fails inspections or, worse, is shut down, you may face loss of access to the facility. Plus, there are potential PR and legal implications if the facility you’re using isn’t up to code or is involved in a foodborne illness breakout.
It may get too expensive as you grow.
While initially renting space is certainly cheaper than opening a restaurant or even a food truck, at some point, if you use a kitchen enough, it can become cheaper to lease or purchase your own. When you look at expanding Rental costs for kitchen commissaries can quite more and can vary depending on location, time of day, amenities, and other factors. But if you startneeding to rent more hours and add staff, it may become cheaper to lease your own permanent facility. You’ll need to do the math based on your own location and needs
vSelecting the proper size equipment is very crucial and here is where the commercial kitchen consultants can help, look to equipment that allows for large batch cooking and the automation of tasks that might otherwise be done by hand in smaller scale or volume. It would be difficult for an individual kitchen to add such particular piece of equipment and it would not be realistic to expect a descent return on investment.
Case Study 1:- Akshy Patra
A centralised kitchen helps us manage operations from a single point of control; this includes receiving, storage, preparation, delivery, maintenance, among other processes that form the cycle of mid-day meal operations. Currently, we operate 50 centralised kitchens in 12 states & 2 Union territory of India and these kitchens prepare mid-day meals for 17,74,477 school children.
How do they operate?
The Akshaya Patra centralised kitchens are equipped with cauldrons, trolleys, rice chutes, dal/sambar tanks, cutting boards, knives and other similar equipment that are sanitised before usage. The semi-automated kitchens have the capacity to undertake large scale feeding, typically up to 100,000 mid-day meals a day and they also adhere to Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) to ensure safe handling, preparation and delivery of the food.
Using these highly mechanised units, Akshaya Patra is able to achieve the highest levels of hygiene by reducing human contact with the food. After cooking, the food is packed into stainless steel containers and transported via conveyor belts to be loaded into custom made food distribution vehicles, to be taken to the beneficiary schools.
Case Study 2:- Palki Foods
Established in 2006, they have recently Upgraded their Base Kitchen situated in Greater Noida, New Design
done by THS Consulting We would like to introduce ourselves as a part of professionally managed group with
Qualified staff in field of Corporate and institutional catering. It’s been nearly a decade, we ventured in
Hospitality business. The organization is headed by Anil Shukla having nearly 16 years of industry experience
and managed by Sanjay Shukla a certified food hygienist with advance level of certification in implementing
Food safety management procedures (HACCP) from charted institute of environmental health London
U.K. Guided by Suraj Chartrath as Advisory Board member an engineer by qualification and an MBA in
Finance, Information Systems from XLRI Jamshedpur. He also holds a master’s degree in management from
Stanford Graduate School of Business, USA. He has over 14 years of work experience across Technology, Banking
Theirremarkable contribution & efforts in association with U.P Government & government of India to help stop the migration and public movement of daily wagers and labor has been recognized during the Corona Epidemic .