The Difference Between Domestic and Commercial Kitchen; Start-Up Tips

Head Chef looking into busy kitchen from over the serving counter

When it’s your first time setting up a food business, a problem that will crop up a LOT in the primary planning stages is whether you can make the magic happen from the domestic kitchen in your home, or are the practicalities of a commercial kitchen worth the initial outlay?

There are pros and cons of both kitchen types for start-ups, especially when a steady cash flow is a worry in the beginning. However, we believe the pros of one kitchen greatly outweigh the other for the operation of an efficient, professional and safe food business. 

If you’re pondering your options, you might want the advice of some professional foodies, right? So without further ado, let’s explore the difference between a domestic and commercial kitchen, and which is the better option for a food start-up, scale-up or well-seasoned expert.

What is Domestic Kitchen?

A domestic kitchen aka residential kitchen aka… just, a standard kitchen?

That’s right, the term simply describes the kitchen in your home, and no residential property will be without one. 

Whether in a studio apartment, terraced house, family home or a mansion, all habitable properties will feature a kitchen space, no matter how big or small.

These types of kitchens are typically used three times a day and for the preparation of meals for personal consumption, to feed the family, or even to host a dinner party amongst friends. However, due to the fairly limited usage of residential kitchens, standard domestic kitchen equipment isn’t typically able to handle large production volumes 7-days a week or capable of intricate and specialised cooking or preparation techniques. 

The kitchen equipment or appliances ordinarily found in a home are a domestic fridge-freezer, oven with a hob, microwave and the conventional kettle and toaster.

Pros of Using Your Domestic Kitchen for a Food Business:

  • Reduce start-up costs
  • Familiar with the kitchen space and its equipment
  • Fewer legal requirements
  • A true feel of “home cooking” for customers – is this a bigger selling point?

Cons of Using Your Domestic Kitchen for a Food Business:

  • Adjustments to your kitchen may be needed to accommodate law or new equipment
  • Limited preparation and storage space
  • Lack of commercial kitchen equipment might restrict your menu or offering
  • Distractions of the home or family environment

What is a Commercial Kitchen?

Commercial kitchens are built specifically to handle large turnover, high output, plenty of room for heavy-duty appliances and ample storage space. Also, they are readily equipped with robust extractor fans, ventilation systems and hygienic surfaces that are required of a commercial kitchen. 

A kitchen of this nature will have multiple cooking stations, so you can allocate a site for each different task or process that is required from your product, including separate preparation, cooking, baking, grilling, packaging and cleaning areas.

There are a few different types of commercial kitchens, each with a unique purpose. You can decide the most appropriate option for your food business by assessing variables such as the number of people working for you, space required and product output or quantity, for example. 

The most frequently hired commercial kitchen types are; Dark Kitchens, Catering Kitchens, Delivery Kitchens and Central Production Units

In contrast to the limited domestic appliances in a home kitchen, a catering kitchen can quite easily accommodate niche and bulky commercial equipment such as grills, griddles, deep fat fryers, stone pizza ovens, commercial ovens, walk-in refrigeration units and a whole lot more. 

Pros of Renting a Commercial Kitchen for a Food Business:

  • Scale-up your business much faster
  • The ability to be more experimental with your offerings
  • Increased space for larger appliances, more staff and adequate storage for food items
  • Ready-to-go spaces, you just need your staff, stock and equipment
  • You can choose the location which will impact your food-delivery radius! (if you deliver)
  • The flexibility of the kitchen design and layout to suit your working method

Cons of Renting a Commercial Kitchen for a Food Business:

  • A higher initial outlay for your food start-up
  • It may feel like it takes a while to find your perfect kitchen

Why a Commercial Kitchen is Best for a Food Start-Up

Although the benefits and efficiencies of renting a commercial kitchen are not exclusive to start-ups nor are they absolutely essential to get started, dark kitchens and the likes have a particularly influential impact on the growth and success of food businesses that are in the very early stages of their life. 

From the size of your working space, providing the ability to hire more staff in the instance that you need them, looking authentic to customers and having the capabilities to become more experimental with your products, there are countless benefits of renting a commercial kitchen as a food start-up. 

If you are interested in renting a commercial kitchen in London, with access to on-site cold rooms, our state-of-the-art kitchens might be just what you’re looking for to get your businesses kick-started. 

Contact us to book a viewing of any of our commercial kitchens and start putting your dream wheels in motion.

by Dephna

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