Kitchen design can make the difference between success and failure in a busy hotel conference and banqueting operation. Chris Hinton, sales director at catering design, build and install experts Shine Catering Systems, explores what you need to know.

One of the most important things for any hotel is to tailor the kitchen setup – including equipment choice – to the way that the catering team operates. Do they buy frozen food or fresh? Are they batch cooking in advance? Are they regenerating plates in bulk? All of these questions and more will impact the products available to help smooth running of the banqueting operation. 

We use all of our experience delivering kitchen design and build solutions to ask the right questions and design around a detailed catering brief. Because if you don’t get it right at that stage, it could cost thousands of pounds in the long run. If a banqueting kitchen isn’t efficient, it can’t deliver meals. And if it can’t deliver meals, it will lose trade.

Equipment choice is key, because without the right kitchen equipment in place, you won’t get the right product. You won’t have the means to cook or regenerate the products correctly and you could end up serving cold or overcooked meals. 

What’s more, with so many equipment manufacturers fighting for business, it pays to go to an independent partner like Shine to make recommendations on individual appliances and individual brands as part of the overall kitchen design. We can take into account factors such as budget, cooking requirements and space to provide a much wider choice than any individual manufacturer could. 

Navigating skills challenges

One of the biggest challenges to delivering a successful banqueting operation is staff competency. It’s not always been the case, but service and front of house personnel today are often untrained, which means they do not possess the skill sets required for silver service or traditional methods of banquet service. Plate regeneration is therefore a preferred method for consistency and presentation.  

Apart from the kitchen space and energy consumption required for chilling and regeneration equipment, this increases the value on kitchen efficiency and speed. 

All of this means it is critical to get the kitchen flow and equipment choice right. If you can’t serve it quickly and on-time, you will be leaving diners disappointed. 

Addressing sustainability

The need for sustainability in any commercial banqueting facility is high on the agenda due to a combination of factors, including rising energy costs. This means equipment selection must not only take into consideration the operational aspects of the service to be provided, but also energy consumption and material construction. 

This is especially important in new construction projects, where energy efficiency standards such as BREEAM or LEED need to be achieved.