Commercial Kitchen Remodel? Here are 5 Pitfalls to Avoid…

You already know your commercial kitchen remodel isn’t going to go as smoothly as you would like.  That’s just how it is—big projects almost never happen just the way you plan.  Stuff happens. There are things you can do to avoid some of the hassle, though.

Here are 5 pitfalls to avoid in your planning:

1. Not carefully thinking through the alternatives.

There are really only three alternatives to deal with a major commercial remodel, whether you are a college or university, a hospital or other healthcare institution, a correctional institution, a military base, or any other facility committed to feeding a large number of people.

Phased construction.  Usually not a great idea, because it will cost a LOT more than doing it all at once, not to mention the longer period of disruption and annoyance to you and to your public.

Complete kitchen shutdown, (which may be simply not an option) or complete shutdown, and engaging an outside catering firm.  Expensive– outside catering will cost you 20-30% more than in-house production, and you lose control over quality and food safety.

Temporary industrial kitchen.  Generally the least disruptive and most cost-effective solution.

That’s why the U.S. Naval Academy, Harvard Business School, the University of Southern California, major hospitals and correctional institutions all over the country, Disney, Eli Lilly, Paramount Studios and the U.S Marines, among hundreds of others, including even an oil drilling rig, chose Kitchens To Go temporary modular kitchens to ease their remodeling pains.

Here’s a short list of additional clients whose names you’ll recognize:  (Not to brag—well, maybe a little—but to demonstrate that we’ve worked with the best, and we can help you, too.)

Smaller operations can benefit from a temporary kitchen, too—if you’re feeding more than about 50 people a day, a temporary or mobile kitchen can work for you.

2. Not realizing how complicated a kitchen remodel/temporary kitchen project can be.

The logistics of siting your temporary kitchen, whether it’s modular, mobile, or bolt-on is just one issue.  You have several layers of government to deal with and get permits and approvals from.  What if access is an issue, and you have to lift and place the modules with a crane?  More permits.  And what if you have to close off a street for a while?  More permits and red tape.  Storage.  Utilities.  Trash.   Wastewater.  Seating.  Dining area.  Weather.  Health Department signoffs.  And we could go on and on—you ought to see our checklists and plan sheets.

3. Not starting your own detailed planning soon enough.

It can take six months or more to design, build, permit, transport and install a larger or more complicated temporary kitchen solution, especially if there are tricky environmental or access or political issues to be negotiated.

4. Not involving your temporary kitchen provider in your planning at the very beginning.

You’ll do this once or twice in your career.  We do it every day.  (On a recent weekend, we delivered and began installing 7 temporary modular kitchens.)

We can help you decide whether a mobile kitchen, a modular kitchen, a containerized kitchen, or a Bolt-on kitchen would work best for you, considering cost, efficiency, capacity, access and environmental issues, possible after-project use etc.

We know all the issues and all the creative solutions in the planning, design and installation of a temporary industrial kitchen.  And there can be a lot of issues—more than you can possibly imagine—but we’ve encountered and solved them all many times, so you can rest easy when you partner with Kitchens To Go.

5. Thinking your temporary kitchen will be a cost-cutting measure.

Admittedly, monthly lease costs for temporary kitchen modules can look high when first encountered.  What organizations usually find, however, is that because they can do their commercial kitchen remodel without having to juggle and compromise, total costs to lease a Kitchens To Go temporary solution are less than they anticipated.

It would be nice to think that in addition to solving the “How do I feed my people while my kitchen is torn up?” problem, you would also save money, but that’s not usually the case.  A temporary kitchen solution is almost always less expensive than the alternatives, but it’s not cheap, or less-expensive than what you’re doing now, so Food Service Directors need to be realistic.

There is usually a “Ferrari” solution and a “Porsche” or “Corvette” solution, and we can certainly work with you to find the answer that works for you.

When we proposed a “Ferrari” solution for a University prospect as requested, they balked and started looking at the competition.  They were close to going with the competition’s “Porsche” solution.  However we were able to demonstrate that our own “Porsche” solution was much superior– within budget, and with a much more efficient configuration to make it easier on kitchen staff and on students.

When a major kitchen remodel is in your future, do as hundreds of Fortune 500 corporations, educational institutions, hospitals, and governmental organizations have done.  Give us a call to schedule a complimentary site visit and consultation.

It’ll make your next year or two go much more smoothly.  Honest.