Recently, Foodservice and Hospitality Magazine featured an article entitled “Squeeze Play”, discussing the many ways in which members of the foodservice industry can use existing and new equipment to cut down on their carbon footprints by saving space in the kitchen. Since we’re in the business of saving on energy, we loved the idea that small spaces encourage innovative and energy-saving activity in the workplace! Thus, we thought it would be great to highlight some of the advantages of cutting down on space (and energy costs) and offer up some tips from the pros when it comes to selecting some of the most versatile kitchen equipment on the market.

Save on floor space

According to Foodservice and Hospitality Magazine, owners are seeking to save costs – including energy costs – by lessening both kitchen and floor space at their restaurants. Koel Sisson, President and Founder of Crush strategy Inc, a food consultancy suggests that: “Space efficiency is the number-1 driver. You don’t see as many chains doing 6,000 or 7,000 square feet. Rather, they’re asking if they can have the same table count in 5000 or 5,500 [square feet].” A great idea for saving on energy bills and very much appreciated by “green” foodies everywhere who will love the cozy effect of a smaller space that positively impacts the environment.

Not convinced that customers want to ride the eco-friendly wave sweeping the restaurant industry? Going Green suggests that 62% of adults would prefer to dine at an eco-friendly establishment! And it’s true. Take the example of the Local Kitchen & Wine Bar who operates with a kitchen of 200 square feet and a floor space that draws out words like “small”, “tiny”, and “busy” from restaurant reviews swarming the internet. Fortunately, this small, tiny, busy restaurant seems have turned their size into an advantage, leading people to pair adjectives of “small” with  “simple, rustic and warm”, according to one (of many) favourable reviews featured on blog TO.

Whether you’re a fan of simplicity or more focused on saving costs than saving energy, this creative approach to simplifying processes in the kitchen allows you to do both.

Buy versatile equipment for your kitchen

When it comes to operating in a smaller kitchen, there is a lot you can do to minimize space while maximizing efficiency. The easiest way to tackle small spaces is by investing in versatile equipment with multiple functions or ones that simply, save space. Here are some products that are trending between chefs who are short on space but big on saving:

  • Chamber vacuum sealers and tumblers: These handy devices are being used for everything from storage to marinating. Check out Food Pak Systems Limited, a Vancouver-based business, selling various sizes of vacuum tumblers.
  • Countertop electric burners: Available at Home Depot for anywhere between $500-$3000 depending on the size and quality, countertop electronic burners can be used for a variety of basic water-boiling chores and save big time on space.
  • The TurboChef or the Merrychef: Two lines of rapid cooking products designed to be versatile, user-friendly, and energy-efficient!
  • Combi-ovens: These are wonderfully compact cooking devices that are fully programmable and fit in the smallest of spaces, reducing demands for ventilation and hood system requirements, making them a seriously energy-efficient alternative to the traditional oven. Combi-ovens can bake, roast, steam, poach, grill, broil, proof, braise, oven fry and more, making it a useful tool in any kitchen. Check out examples of combi-ovens from Canadian manufacturers like Garland Canada, Hobart, and Burlodge.
  • High-recovery fryers: Useful in a high-volume establishment, using a high-recovery fryer can eliminate the need for additional fryers since they reach high temperatures faster, saving a whole lot of energy in the process. Check out this high-recovery fryer from Garland Canada.
  • Chillers with quick-thaw features: These chillers allow operators to take frozen food to a tempered state faster than thawing in a refrigerator. They also extend the life of your produce, saving on energy and eliminating (or at least reducing) waste.
  • Cookshack Smoker (hot and cold): Cookshack has an extensive line of smokers that work on meat, poultry, fish, vegetables etc. Take a look at the SmartSmoker, equipped with an electronic time and temperature control and allowing chefs to set a desired temperature that will be maintained until turned off by a master switch.

Green Tip! To save on space, makes use of vertical storage. Use dividers to space things out, implement vertical drawers and pull-outs, or use a pegboard to hang up anything that can be hung, including utensils, pans, towels, oven mitts,

Read more about greening your kitchen:

How to choose a commercial kitchen ventilation system

How to save water in your restaurant’s kitchen

If you’re in the restaurant industry, check out these great rebates and incentives, available for businesses that invest in energy-efficient equipment!

Questions or comments? Leave them below!

image credit: gwallter