An efficient commercial kitchen requires careful planning. A well-designed commercial kitchen is integral to efficient, safe and profitable food preparation. A commercial kitchen designed by CEI considers ergonomics which will be appreciated by the owner, the chef and the kitchen workers. The fewer steps required to complete a task, the better. Careful, considered planning in the design of the kitchen will save money and time during the construction phase and increase profitability over the life of the kitchen. Commercial kitchen design plans are dictated by space requirements, equipment and budget. CEI can guide you in this process by providing a fee for design only services, or with this an extended fee to include consulting services. As well, we can fully design a commercial kitchen for you including the supply and install of the equipment.


Whichever you choose, the following steps should be used to guide you:

How CEI help you open your Commercial Kitchen…

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Prepare a detailed list or menu of all foods you plan to prepare in the commercial kitchen. If possible we would like you to describe in detail the method of food storage and preparation you prefer as well. This is one of the most important steps in planning a commercial kitchen and should be done prior to choosing space or equipment. We do not know what kind of equipment you will need until you have decided on the foods you will prepare. Include all menu items you may wish to add in the future. A small commercial kitchen approved as a bakery or sandwich shop may not meet health code requirements if you later wish to add soups, salads, deep-fried items or pizza later. Careful planning with CEI will avoid costly changes in equipment or construction.

Step 1

Reach out to us today about your needs.


By entering into just a design agreement, CEI will help you make a complete list (including detailed measurements) of all equipment you will require for food preparation, refrigeration, display and storage. Every single item of equipment must meet commercial health code requirements. With CEI you can determine if you will require a walk-in refrigeration unit or free-standing cold storage equipment. The size and amount of equipment, plus food preparation counter surface, will dictate the amount of space needed in your commercial kitchen.

Step 2

Select a site location for your small commercial kitchen. As your equipment or design partner, we need to determine if you will construct a new building or remodel an existing commercial space. Before selecting your space, you must contact your local zoning commission to determine if your new business venture complies with zoning restrictions if it previously was not an establishment with a commercial kitchen.

Step 3

If you come on board using a CEI for design only, we will take exact measurements of the size of the space if you are remodeling an existing building or provide us a drawing. From this we will make note of existing windows, doorways, electrical outlets, plumbing lines and floor drains. A sketch of the existing space will be provided first, making note of the present flooring material, wall and ceiling surface and all heating, exhaust or air-conditioning vents. For a new building, we will draw out a rough sketch of the dimensions and special features of proposed construction. From there a final dimensioned drawing will be provided by our knowledgeable engineers for you to use to get your permits.

Step 4

CEI will help you to plan how you will use the space in your commercial kitchen. Ergonomics is the number one consideration in the design of kitchen space. Commercial kitchens should be designed for maximum labor efficiency, safety and functionality. CEI will advise you accordingly, to make sure that there is plenty of room to move about freely when carrying hot pots and bulky supplies. If employees do not have to waste time and extra movement completing a task, efficiency is increased and fatigue and workplace injuries are reduced.

Step 5

It is a good idea to contact your local city or state building inspector and make an appointment to review your preliminary plans. Health and fire codes must be met and CEI can confirm what is necessary to meet all codes. The space may need to be remodeled to satisfy requirements. Regulations govern how far a food preparation area must be away from any sinks or waste and disposal drains, the installation of vents and grease traps, the size and temperature capacity of hot water tanks and the design and location of food storage areas. Regulations vary from state to state, dependent on location, the size of the kitchen and the amount of patrons you are allowed to seat in the premises. City or county ordinances may apply.

Step 6

It is important that you decide early on whether you need more than just our design services. By employing the extended design services offered by CEI beyond the design phase, you will have the benefit of working with one company that can take you thru the entire process. CEI can design, supply and install the commercial kitchen at your facility. Within the basic design fee, CEI will be incorporating all building and health department rules that apply when supplying you drawings. Prior to purchasing equipment or commencing construction or remodeling, our detailed drawings or blueprints you must submit these for review/approval by the health department and fire inspector. Blueprints will include electrical wiring schematics and plumbing plans. As well a general complete list of all the equipment can be supplied by CEI with descriptions. However, this is where the basic design services end. In most cases, you will come across other issues and questions that need to be answered along the way about the equipment from the company you are using to buy or install the equipment. Keep in mind that our basic design alone does not cover all these installation and procurement questions that you will need answered. For that reason we tell our customers that unless you are experienced in this area, use our slightly more expensive extended design agreement that covers all the consulting services we offer. This will allow you to be free and clear of the details and stay focused entirely on the other issues you will be handling.

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