Double Challenge With Two Restaurants

Marco Polo Lounge For KitchenThe Marco Polo lounge, where light items from both specialty houses and a raw bar could be enjoyed by people stopping in for cocktails or customers waiting for tables. The two restaurants share a gilded lion-flanked entrance and the open atrium-style lounge but have separate seating, menus, and staff. However, because members of a party in one restaurant can order items from the menu of the other restaurant, the kitchens must be a miracle of separate but cooperative activity.

Despite multi-course service and made-to-order preparation of 90 percent of the items on wide-ranging menus, only about 26 percent of the restaurants’ square footage is devoted to the back-of-the-house. The kitchen includes two fully equipped cooking lines, each with its own refrigeration, and a wide spectrum of specialized cooking equipment.

This economy of planning is possible because of three key factor

  1. Speed of cooking systems in both kitchens
  2. Lack of inhibiting cross traffic
  3. Shared dishwashing, dry storage, receiving, and prep areas.

About 90 percent of the Szechwan Palace’s 63-item entree menu is prepared in woks. On the Chinese kitchen’s custom-designed, five-wok range, a single chef with two helpers can put out five or six different dishes every three to four minutes and up to 15 portions of each dish can be prepared in a wok.

Teamwork and layout of the cooking station also speed up production

  • There a chef’s helper chops and plates all the vegetables, meats, fowl and seafood for each dish, then hands it the wok chef.
  • The wok chef drops the food into the sizzling wok, adds necessary sauce and seasonings which are on an ingredient tray next to his range.

Three or four minutes later

The dish is plated and handed down the line, and the wok chef brushes and rinses his wok, readying it for the next dish. The plated meal goes to a chef’s helper stationed at a 20-compartment garnish unit who then places it on the tray line for service.

Next on the cooking line is a Chinese smoking cabinet where duck for Peking duck is smoked a day in advance and appetizer barbecue ribs smoke throughout the service periods. Beside this oven is a knee-high range top for soups. Often the executive chef will be stationed here to oversee final garnishing of the more elaborate dishes prepared at both the wok and fry stations.

Traffic Area

Marco Polo Kitche

This slower traffic area is purposely positioned between the wok station and the appetizer station, the other very high production section at the front of the line. Because management anticipated the popularity of the Chinese appetizers for patrons of both restaurants, the lounge and catered parties, this station was designed for maximum flexibility and capacity. Two double fryers, a convection steamer, saute range, a microwave oven and a double door reach-in refrigerator allow two chefs to prepare everything from Shanghai spring rolls to pot stickers in enormous quantities.

A line parallel to the main cooking line has prep tables, a sink and several reach-in refrigerators where a chef’s helper is stationed to feed ingredients and utensils and take finished dishes from the chefs for carry-out packaging.

Traffic up and down the line is thus minimized, yet stations can be replenished and dishes delivered to the waiters’ stations on a minute-to-minute basis. Two entrances to the Chinese kitchen help keep service to both the main dining room and party rooms running smoothly.

To control traffic during service periods, pass-thru windows between the two kitchens are limited to a corridor in front of the walk-in coolers and another through the dish room. At these points, the order expediters of each kitchen can confer with both staffs to coordinate cross orders.

Stations In the Kitchen Area

In the seafood kitchen, the preparation system and layout is very different and considerably more compact. The saute station where many of the entrees are prepared is at the front of the line closest to the dining room and to the dishroom. This station is equipped with a compartmentalized steam table for sauces, under-the-counter refrigeration and a small work area. Though each chef in this line works independently, he is still able to prepare many dishes quickly because of the fast-cooking nature of most seafoods.

The next station, manned by a broiler chef, owes its efficiency to the extremely hot temperatures produced by the mesquite grill. Convection ovens and steamers are used in this kitchen for the same reason. Most seafood entrees are prepared by these methods in five to seven minutes.

Next along this line is a pastry oven used during nonservice hours to prepare desserts for both restaurants. The main prep area for both kitchens is at the end and at right angles to this line and is equipped with a large stainless steel work surface, sink, and shelving above and below.

Along the outside of the line is a steam table and tray counter opposite the saute and grill stations where waiters pick up finished dishes, and a rolling salad and pastry refrigeration unit.

Warewashing facilities, storage, and receiving areas are shared by the two restaurants. The compact dishwashing room is located to the front of the kitchens. It is equipped with a triple tank which works much faster than conventional machines. Pot washing for the Sandpiper saute station is efficiently managed without overloading from the Chinese kitchen where woks are cleaned right at the range. Receiving and storage areas are located at the very back of the kitchens.


Another difficulty caused by the two separate and diverse menus is cross contamination of food and cooking odors. As well as completely separate refrigeration, two high capacity ventilation systems were installed. In addition, all equipment has top mounted compressors to allow each piece a six-inch clearance from the floor for cleaning.

Ramada Renaissance-Volume Versatility

Stations Of Restaurant In KtchenMeals, especially for the restaurants and room service, are prepared to order and served. In order to assure a maximum utilization of space and a minimum amount of traffic in the cooking area, the hotel has three kitchens: a main production kitchen that does some work for all the foodservice outlets, a banquet kitchen, and a kitchen for the employee cafeteria. The kitchens are all on different floors.

The main kitchen’s design adopts basic elements of a European hotel kitchen yet adds features that guarantee American-style productivity. The 4,000 sq. ft. area is divided into work bays by a crenellated layout on two sides with a traffic path down the middle. Ramada Renaissance director of food and beverage support services Steve Hickok likens the setup to European hotel kitchens in that each function is performed in a space reserved exclusively for that purpose. The difference is that in Europe each station would be in a closed-off room, yet in San Francisco each station is adjacent to the other stations with which it works closely, separated only by a wall and open to the center lane.

Key To The Kitchen’s Design

You don’t have to take too many steps to get anything done. Spacial flow is key to the kitchen’s design. Whereas some hotels have separate kitchens for each restaurant, at the San Francisco Renaissance wherever food is being prepared for one restaurant there’s a worker for the other restaurant performing similar duties right near him. Each restaurant has its own employees and its own line of equipment, but this arrangement allows versatility.

 Three or four people work each station. For instance, one person prepares a la carte vegetables, one does all sauteeing and preparation of made-to-order sauces, and a third prepares and cooks all fish items, explains Kenneth Juran, executive sous chef.

Room service entrees are prepared in this area as well. Storage and equipment such as toasters and coffee brewers are located nearby, close to the service elevators. This area also houses all the extras that go on room service carts, such as jellies, sugar packets, and boxes of cereal. During less hectic working hours the day before, workers assemble all nonperishable items on dozens of room service trays and line the carts along the corridor that leads to the service elevators. Room service breakfasts can be served in seconds.
The restaurants and room service each have their own pick-up station. An expediter coordinates the timing of delivery and checks all plate presentations.

To avoid traffic in the kitchen, the service staff enters its orders through a computer in the dining room.The kitchen staff receives all orders neatly printed with individual specifications. Service workers are able to spend more time in the dining room with their guests.
In the merlon behind the service line is the preparation area in which stocks, soups, and consommes are prepared for all the facilities. Across from that is the butcher shop.

It All Fits Together: You Can See Why Each Station Is Where It Is

  • The hotel’s bake shop, located in the rear merlon, has its own temperature control and walk-in. Pastries, sorbet, ice cream, and gelato are made fresh on-premise every day. The traditional marble table in the center of the area is the focal point of the bake shop.
  • The dishwashing area is away from the kitchen to the far left; the purchasing/receiving area is in its own room to the far right. Also in this area are four walk-ins: dairy and produce; fish; meat; and items such as ice carvings.
  • The 200-seat employee cafeteria serves 1,100 meals a day to 600 of the hotel’s 750 employees. For no charge, the employees can help themselves to a choice of three hot items, a 14-ingredient salad bar, and a variety of extras. However, breakfast foods, hamburgers, and sauted and fried items are cooked to order.
  • Banquets are catered out of the fourth floor kitchen, and although items such as soups and stocks are prepared in the main kitchen, the rectangular banquet kitchen is equipped to handle those chores when necessary. Between the ballroom, 17 meeting rooms, and three board rooms, the banquet kitchen may serve up to 1,200 people in a meal period, and most cooking is done right there. The kitchen is a long rectangle, with ovens and other cooking apparatus on one wall, rollin freezers on the other, and work tables in the center.

The banquet kitchen is designed for speed. They can put out banquet meals very quickly, so people at every table in the room can eat at the same time. All three kitchens are set up so that there is no wasted motion. There are no extra steps.

Admiral Aims At Remodelers

Admiral, which will use its own company name on the products, has targeted main distribution of the European-styled line through custom kitchen remodelers, not traditional retail appliance outlets. Dealers who have branched out into the kitchen remodeling arena on a serious basis will be considered.

To be called the Continental series by Admiral, the offerings will include not only appliances but cabinets and may even encompass Continental-Kitchenwall and floor coverings.We think there are a lot of people out there who’d love a custom-designed kitchen, but who don’t want to spend $30,000, explains Dowd. While describing the Continental series at high end. We’re positioning it to be much more affordable than something like Sub-Zero (Sub-Zero is a manufacturer of high-end, builtin refrigerators.)

More Reading

Current plans call for the line to be shown next March in St. Louis at the National Kitchen & Bath Show, with distribution set to begin shortly thereafter. The Continental line will mark the expansion of Admiral’s joint marketing agreement plan with Zanussi. In March, Admiral began distributing compact stackable home laundry equipment from Zanussi, and it will introduce an 11-cubic-foot refrigerator in September.

These products are offered through the company’s national distributor network. But Dowd says new distributors may be sought for the Continental series. Says Dowd about plans for handling the Continental line: “It doesn’t necessarily exclude our present distributors. But, in all cases, we’ll make sure they’re truly qualified to do this product justice.’
Dowd describes the Continental styling as “sleek, with a minimum of protruding knobs and buttons. There are generous radii on corners.’

Perhaps the most unusual of the new pieces is the refrigeration system, a modular four-unit setup in which a pair of stacked refrigerators is placed alongside a pair of stacked freezers.

Each unit has a 7-cubic-foot capacity, providing total storage space of 28 cubic feet. The built-in system is flush with surrounding cabinets.

The system’s advantage

  • It’s complete modularity. Instead of the standard two-refrigerator, two-freezer configuration, buyers can opt for three refrigerators and one freezer or vice versa. Any of the units can be deactivated to save energy.
  • The Continental dishwasher will feature an all-stainless-steel interior, automatic detergent dispensers and flush-mount controls.
  • The line’s cooktop is a model that combines two gas and two electric surface elements for versatility. Says Dowd: Many cooks prefer to have both fuels, depending on what they’re cooking.

Rounding out the line will be wall ovens and a slide-in range with cover both available in gas or electric. The units have standard porcelain interiors and black-glass oven doors. To achieve a unified, total kitchen look, Admiral is talking with several European cabinet manufacturers about supplying wood or laminate cabinetry for the line. Other possibilities include wall and floor coverings, says Dowd, but plans for offering these are more uncertain.

Admiral has attracted considerable attention in recent years for its personality refrigeration products, which include the A la Mode ice cream-maker refrigeration and the quick-freezing Ultra-freeze freezer. Dowd says the Continental line will not be next year’s “personality’ products, which, he explained, are developed internally –and which are cloaked in secrecy until their debut.
When asked if the acquisition of Zanussi by Electrolux would affect introduction of the Continental line, Dowd responds, I would hope not, but I could see that it could cause some delays. But I prefer to think not. Commenting on the currently available Zanussi laundry equipment, Dowd says sales have exceeded expectations.

Wendy’s Prototype For Profit

Two prototypes, phases I and II of a four-part program, have been built in Cincinnati and are performing well above projected volume levels. Each phase represents a refinement of its predecessor; phase III will be built in Atlanta this year; plans for phase IV are being developed.

Wendy Kitchen

In both prototypes, kitchens have been designed for optimum product and personnel flow. Many of the improvements made in the prototype stores were dictated by Wendy’s expanding menu, which now includes such items as fresh salads, specialty sandwiches, dinner platters, and stuffed baked potatoes. We’ve come a long way from the days of hamburgers, chili, Frostys, and fries, and have upgraded our technology and design to coincide with that progress.

Having enlarged its menu to offer consumers more choices, Wendy’s has also had to add more equipment to produce breakfast, dinner, and additional lunch items, and has had to incorporate added storage space into its design.

For instance: The prototype back-of-the-house is more than 200 sq. ft. larger than the original (1,564 sq. ft. vs. 1,344), in part to accommodate increased storage space. Moreover, dry storage areas have been fitted with moveable track shelving to maximize utilization of space. Walkins are 34 percent larger to handle the prototype’s larger inventory and volume, and glass doors allow reachin as well as walk-in access. Likewise, the kitchen itself has been designed for maximum efficiency and productivity. We were concerned with designing for efficiency and effectiveness, because saved steps are saved seconds, and that’s the name of the game.

The entire kitchen is geared around a separate line-concept for the drive-thru/pick-up window. Functioning autonomously, crew members manning the pick-up window need not move back and forth between the main production area, making for speedier drive-thru service. In fact, speed of drive-thru service is carefully monitored by a device which measures the exact time it takes to complete an order. The pick-up line has been reconfigured to eliminate dead spots, so that a crew member or manager standing in front of the window can look in either direction and get an unobstructed view of the front counter, the line, the back production room, and the line of cars.

Because Wendy’s markets its burgers “hot off the grill’ and prepares sandwiches to order, the cooking centers have also been designed for maximum efficiency. The centers (pressure fryers, ovens, and ranges) are positioned as a unit in the front of the store, rather than scattered throughout the kitchen. Multi-purpose holding cabinets are situated under the improved, twin track bun warmers above the grills and front sandwich station which can be used as steam or dry cabinets, with or without ventilation. Temperatures can also be adjusted according to what item is being held.

The fry station is outfitted with a freezer, eliminating problems caused by partially thawed fries; this system has been particularly useful during rush periods. In addition, counter prep space has been significantly enlarged to handle the increased volume.

The Cincinnati prototype design also features a new decor which incorporates booth seating, greenhouses and skylights, more subdued lighting, and other innovations.

As part of the company’s overall strategy, this research and development project in Cincinnati should help Wendy’s meet its salesbuilding objectives.

  1. Improvements to the cook center/sandwich line include twin-track bun warmers and multi-purpose holding cabinets.
  2. Wendy’s new interior is a more open, airy design with wood and brass trim and hanging plants.
  3. The Cincinnati prototype features a modern, attractive greenhousedesign.