Commercial kitchen construction 101: how to successfully complete a commercial kitchen

Food is an important business–everyone has to eat and many of us would self-identify as foodies. When you own a restaurant, you’re in the business of giving someone a memorable experience and that experience starts in the kitchen. Having a well-built or renovated commercial kitchen can make or break your restaurant.

If you have a restaurant in need of renovation in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Hampton Roads, or a nearby city in Virginia, here’s everything you need to know to cook up some rave reviews of your space.

What is a commercial kitchen?

Before we get too far into the blog, what exactly is a commercial kitchen? Simply put, it’s a kitchen used by a business. While this could refer to kitchens in office break rooms, it usually refers to a kitchen used by a business who serves food, such as a restaurant or bagel shop.

To give you a better idea of if you need a commercial kitchen, here are some businesses who should have one:

  • Restaurants
  • Fast-food franchises
  • Coffee shops
  • Bakeries
  • Ice cream parlors

Because a commercial kitchen is utilized to make many dishes at once, it has to be well equipped to house an entire culinary team and to turn out meals quickly.

How does it differ from a residential kitchen?

A residential kitchen is used by a family and is usually found in an apartment or house. While it can be used to create food for the masses (think a family reunion or graduation party), it is not regularly used–or designed for this purpose.

A commercial kitchen on the other hand is designed to create many different dishes for many customers. It often includes industrial grade kitchen equipment and can have multiple ovens, preparation stations, and sinks so many staff members can be using it at once. The food prepared in a commercial kitchen is offered as a paid service to others, whereas people don’t usually charge for food prepared in a residential kitchen–excluding that friend who sends a few too many Venmo requests. Usually, a hood and sprinkler system is also required in a commercial kitchen.

Commercial kitchen construction

As you might imagine, the construction requirements for a commercial kitchen are different than for a residential one. Before starting the project, think through what requirements you have for the space.

Some common requirements could include:

  • Installing industrial-grade kitchen equipment, such as an oven or dishwasher
  • Ensuring the room has the right aeration if an oven or stove will constantly be running
  • Creating multiple work spaces so multiple cooks can be preparing meals at once
  • Having an open concept space so waiters and other staff members can get around easily

When you’re creating a commercial kitchen, you want to make sure it stands up to local health and safety regulations. A local commercial contractor should know what these are and ensure that your kitchen passes its health inspection.

Commercial kitchen renovation

If you have a commercial kitchen but need to make small updates, a renovation project could help you get there. In a renovation project, a contractor makes changes to improve the space, such as ensuring the space has the right measurements for that new, larger oven you want to buy or adding a fresh coat of paint.

Commercial kitchen build-out

If you rented out a space for your restaurant without a kitchen, you might have to perform a build out for the space. For example, if you rented out a space which used to be a bank, you would work with a commercial contractor to build-out one of the rooms, such as an old office, and transform it into a kitchen.

Similarly, a build out could be completed to turn a kitchen which used to be used in a coffeeshop into one that can be utilized by a fast-food chain or sit-down restaurant.

While a build out is considered a type of renovation, it is often much more time intensive and requires a larger budget. Since it is much trickier to transform another type of space into a kitchen, you’ll want to hire a commercial contractor who has completed this type of project before.

Just like you want the right cook in the kitchen, you want the right contractor in there too. A skilled contractor can ensure your commercial kitchen construction, renovation, or build out project goes smoothly. Working with a contractor with this experience, such as Carlton Building Services, ensures your team has the space they need to create mouth-watering culinary creations.

Carlton Building Services in Hampton Roads Virginia

Carlton Building Services specializes in repairs, maintenance, renovations, remodelings and build-outs for a variety of clients in Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake areas. We have years of experience handling projects in the retail, office, and healthcare space and would love to work with you on your next project!

To learn more about our services, check out past project highlights or contact Carlton Building Services to see how we can help with your next project.

JP Carlton

J.P. Carlton

J.P. Carlton is the founder of Carlton Building Services, a Hampton Roads-based construction company.