Why Are Restaurants Turning to Central Production Kitchens?
The UK’s restaurant industry is worth a staggering £38 billion, with roughly 1.7 million foodies heading to their favourite joints at least once a week.
As well as feeding the mouths that journey to the best restaurants in town, apps such as Deliveroo and UberEats make it easier to enjoy your favourite food at home, so it’s no surprise that the players in the industry have to stay on top of their game.
To keep up with the ever growing demand, central production kitchens are increasingly popular for the food production of many eateries, including big restaurant chains; but what are they all about?
What is a Central Production Kitchen?
A central production kitchen, also known as a central production unit (CPU), is a kitchen space that is used for the production of meals or individual ingredients before they are sent to different locations for plating up and serving to customers.
CPU’s are becoming an essential ingredient for restaurant chains of all kinds, from quick-eats and coffee shops to high-end establishments.
Note that they are not the same as dark kitchens where food is produced, packaged and handed directly to the customer in a delivery-only circumstance. Central kitchens are specifically used by restaurants to cook all of their produce in one central kitchen, to then be served across a number of different branches.
Are you wondering what the point of centralised production is? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using a central production kitchen!
Central Production Ensures Consistency in Food Quality
One of the biggest advantages that comes with using a central production unit is the ability to ensure consistently high-quality food across all branches in your restaurant chain.
Product consistency is absolutely vital for success, and while providing recipe systems and thorough training for chefs across all franchises goes a long way, if there are any differences in working methods or standards, it will show in your end product, too.
So, if achieving a consistent quality of food to be served throughout your outlets is a concern of yours, a central kitchen could be the solution you’re looking for.
Operating a restaurant chain is an expensive venture; paying staff, operational costs, commercial rents – the list goes on. Consolidating all of your kitchen spaces into one central production unit can help to slice your overheads on all fronts.
The competition to rent A3 commercial property is fierce, but also expensive. Most UK cities have a shortage of A3 spaces to rent, leaving restaurants unable to expand, or if they do take on an available A1 property, the new sites have to compromise their offerings to what is legally permitted within A1 real estate.
Central production allows restaurateurs to rent a number of storefront-only commercial properties at much cheaper rates than multiple A3 properties, and use one centralised commercial kitchen to carry out all food production. This also means saving money on running expensive kitchen equipment across a number of sites, paying less staff and cutting back on miscellaneous tasks such as multiple rounds of PAT testing, certifications and inspections etc.
Your Kitchen Space Can’t Keep Up With Production Rates
It happens way too often – innovative ideas are imagined, grand plans are made, but an uninspiring or small commercial kitchen halts the plans dead in the water.
Due to the large margins of renting A3 spaces, or the need to expand the customer seating area, on-site kitchens are often too small or impractical for the level of food production that is required. This can diminish growth and leave you wondering if it will ever be possible to take your food business to the next level.
Central production units are available across the UK in sizes to suit food industry businesses of any size. The spaces are often adaptable, so you can alter the kitchen layout to create extra space and design a practical and efficient space as and when your business growth needs it.
Greater Business Efficiency
Business efficiency doesn’t just show in your food. Central production kitchens help to sew together all aspects of your business much more seamlessly.
Some areas that benefit from greater efficiency when using central kitchens include:
- Keeping track of and organising centralised purchasing
- Less ongoing kitchen maintenance is required
- Communications between head office and warehousing
- Stock checks and waste management
- Training and managing skilled chefs
- Developing and implementing new menu ideas
Tackling the Nationwide Chef Shortage
If you work within the food industry, it won’t be news to you that the UK has a shortage of chefs. While this could be for a number of reasons, operating your food business from a central kitchen space can help alleviate the problems of hiring skilled chefs, especially if you have a particularly complex production.
If you work from a centralised production unit you can hire a fewer number of highly-skilled chefs to carry out the most complex aspects of your food production, and you can simplify demands of your on-site chefs that will be in charge of heating and plating food, ready for serving to customers.
At Dephna, we offer complete flexibility, adaptable spaces and 24-hour access with all of our central production kitchens. If you want to start exploring your options and simplifying business operations, enquire now to book a visit.
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