Restaurant Kitchen Stations

Basic Layout of a Commercial Kitchen

By Lorri Mealey

A typical restaurant kitchen is composed of different stations. A station is the area where a certain type of food is prepared. Stations help keep a restaurant kitchen running smoothly. The number of stations is dictated by what is on the restaurant’s menu. A restaurant may have several stations with specialized equipment or just one or two areas that are designated for cooking certain menu items. Budget and space are the two biggest factors in determining how many stations are in your restaurant kitchen. Many of these stations can be combined to save space and money. And you certainly don’t need a cook at each station during slow shifts.

The Saute Station

The most experienced cooks work the sauté station, since this is where the most complicated dishes are prepared. An experienced sauté cook is also necessary because they usually cook several dishes at one time during the dinner rush. Typically a sauté station is equipped with a multiple burner gas range, sauté pans and tongs. A sauté station usually has its own prep area, with all the cook’s ingredients, cutting board, cooler, and seasonings.

The Grill Station

The grill station consists of the grill, which can be a char broiler or a flattop, a cooler for grill items (chicken, beef, kebabs, ect…) tongs, grill brush and whatever house seasoning you use. The grill cook needs to have a good degree of experience. Like the sauté cook, the grill cook is cooking several dishes at once. He also needs to know how to properly cook beef to well, medium and rare temperatures.

The Fry Station

The fryer, or fryolator as it is sometimes called, is for fried foods, such as chicken wings, onion rings and French fries. Because a great deal of food that goes into a fryer is a frozen, most fry stations have their own freezer. Other equipment needed includes fry baskets, tongs, and bowls for breading. The fry station is a good entry level cooking position, ideal for someone just starting out in a restaurant kitchen.

Pizza Station

If pizza plays a prominent role on your menu than a pizza station is a good idea. A combo reach-in cooler with prep area is a good choice for a pizza station. And of course you will need an oven for cooking. You can invest in a specialty pizza oven or use the ovens in your gas range. Again, if you plan on serving a lot of pizza having a large oven that can cook several pies at once is your best bet. Besides an oven, a well stocked pizza station should have pizza screens for cooking and serving, a pizza paddle, pizza cutter and sheets of wax paper.

Other Kitchen Stations

Restaurants with enough space may have a salad station and/ or a dessert station. Or these might be incorporated into the wait station. A well stocked salad station includes a cooler for lettuce, vegetables, salad dressing and plates. A dessert station needs to have cooler for deserts and space for plates, desert forks and an area to assemble desserts.

The Kitchen Line

Last, buy certainly not lease is the kitchen line. The line is the area where the servers pick up their food. Sometimes “the line” refers to the line of stations in a kitchen. The line is often manned by the expeditor- the person who sends the dishes to the dining room looking great. The line should have garnish, plates, a spindle for order tickets and heating lamps, to keep waiting food hot.

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