A well-designed cart, kiosk, truck or trailer is an absolute must if you want them to be efficient and safe. Careful planning in the design of the unit will save you money and time during the build-out phase and over time will increase your profitability.
A design is primarily dictated by the minimal space you have as well as your required equipment and budget. When designing your unit consider ergonomics as this will always be appreciated by the management and employees.
List Your Menu Items
Prepare a detailed list or menu of all foods you plan to prepare. Describe in detail the method of food storage and preparation. This is one of the most important steps in planning any type of unit and should be done prior to choosing equipment. You 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. Proper planning will avoid costly changes you could run into if these changes need to be made after the kitchen has been completed.
List Your Equipment
Create a complete list (including detailed measurements to fit the application) of all equipment you will require for food preparation, refrigeration, and storage. Every single item of equipment must meet commercial health code requirements called NSF. The size and amount of equipment, plus food preparation counter surface, will dictate the amount of space you must have.
If you are building a cart or outdoor kiosk, make sure you check with local government for size restraints. For mall kiosks you should obtain from mall management the planned location of development or LOD for short. When building a used truck or trailer be sure to take exact measurements of the size of the space set aside for the kitchen and serving areas. Make note of existing service windows, doorways, and electrical outlets. Make a sketch of the existing space, making note of the present flooring material, wall and ceiling surface and all heating, exhaust or air-conditioning vents. For a new truck, draw out a rough sketch of the dimensions and special features of the proposed construction of your mobile kitchen. Keep in mind weight and balance that is all equipment cannot go on the same side creating a dangerous situation on the road.
Floor Plan Your Design
Plan how you will use the space within your unit. Consider the equipment inside, ergonomics and the number of operators needed. Your unit should be designed for maximum labor efficiency, safety and functionality. Make sure that there is plenty of room to move about freely when carrying hot items 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.
Setup a Review for Your Design with us and others.
Contact your local city or state department tasked with reviewing all mobile units. Make an appointment to review your preliminary plans. Health and fire codes must be met. The unit may need to be remodeled to satisfy requirements. Regulations govern how far a unit must be away from any commissary sinks, restroom facilities, installation of vents, and the size and temperature capacity of tank type & instant hot water heaters. Make sure you receive a printed copy of all rules and regulations prior to designing the unit. Regulations vary from state to state. City or county.
If you do not have the skills to layout your unit incorporating all building and health department rules that apply, we are here to help.
Prior to purchasing equipment or commencing construction, in many municipalities the detailed drawings or blueprints must be reviewed and officially approved by both the health department, building department and fire inspector. In many cities across the country the blueprints must include:
- Electrical wiring schematics.
- Fire suppression equipment installation drawings if needed.
- Plumbing plans.
- Electrical installation plans.
- Complete list of all building materials used.
The Bottom Line
We hope these tips will help those of you who want to know how to design a well-thought out Carts, Kiosks, Trucks and trailers.