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Hi, I'm David. I'm in the process of starting a new venture, and need some advice. I'm starting a catering company to cater to 4 golf courses, and hope to expand into other offsite catering after a year or so. I'm looking for a space to put a central kitchen to cook everything, and truck it out from there. We will be serving about 1200 people per weekend. Im having trouble visualizing how big of a kitchen space I'm going to need, and am having trouble finding anything online to help calculate the size of said space. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. 
 
Thanks in advance,
 
Chef David
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You need 1500 square feet.

Plus or minus 1000.  :D

 

Much depends on your menu.  Are 1200 people all getting the same plated meal, all at once?  Or is it smaller snacks with more variety that people may or may not buy? - I.e. sit-down banquets for 1200 actual butts in seats, or concessions bar for 1200 potential customers.  What are the max numbers you've done out of previous kitchens?  Can you imagine extrapolating those?  Are you baking a lot of bread and making everything from scratch or using more convenience products,, frozen items, and mixes?

 

As with so many things, it's not the space so much but how you use it.  You'll probably want a decent sized walk-in, but how many ovens and burners do you really need?  You can get a lot done with 12 burners and  couple of ovens.   Do you need a grill and a deep-fryer?  Find some spaces that you think you can afford, then start sketching out equipment.

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You are very brave. Sounds like you have never worked for someone in the same business before. May be I am wrong.

 

Legal liabilities, Health laws, local building codes, financial and time investments -------------!!!!

 

dcarch

 

 

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You might try to visit som other caterers and see what they have, then tweak to your needs. For the most part, everyone under estimates the amount of storage needed for dry goods, and most companies would love to have just one more storeroom.

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PastryGIrl, I have done 2-3000 people events. I work in the catering department of a university. It's about 1200 people over the span of a couple days. I will have a central kitchen, and truck everything to the sites in hotboxes etc. All events are off site. I will not be doing any bread baking, but most everything else is made from scratch. dcarch, I'm not sure what you mean.

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36 minutes ago, ChefDavid84 said:

dcarch, I'm not sure what you mean.

 

I misunderstood your first post. It sounded as if you had never done this before. I am glad you clarified.

 

Every year, I go to more than one golf outings, some small and some big, some hamburgers and hot dogs, and some fine wines and lobster cocktails.

 

Most golf courses have their own commercial kitchen setups. Have you consider using theirs?

 

Most outings involve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts. Will you be doing all?

 

dcarch

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, ChefDavid84 said:

PastryGIrl, I have done 2-3000 people events. I work in the catering department of a university. It's about 1200 people over the span of a couple days. I will have a central kitchen, and truck everything to the sites in hotboxes etc. All events are off site. I will not be doing any bread baking, but most everything else is made from scratch. dcarch, I'm not sure what you mean.

 

Ok, so how big is your university kitchen?  What would you change?  I thought every chef was constantly planning their dream kitchen!  I know I am :)

 

Are there any commissary kitchens you can get started in?  Because there is also the question of real estate.  What is available & what can you afford?  How far from these customers and your home are you willing to travel every day?  You can't just put a commercial kitchen anywhere ... 

 

2 hours ago, Lisa Shock said:

You might try to visit some other caterers and see what they have, then tweak to your needs. For the most part, everyone under estimates the amount of storage needed for dry goods, and most companies would love to have just one more storeroom.

 

Things always seem to expand to fit the space available - more space means more stuff! 

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PastryGirl: the university kitchen was huge. it was the central kitchen for the entire campus. There are no commissary kitchens close. All 4 courses are within 10 miles of each other. I would ideally like to find some warehouse space to convert to a kitchen. Build a large walk in, and install some equipment. I'm in a pretty rural area of Ohio.

 

dcarch: The gentleman who hired me owns all the courses. One of the recently acquired courses has an 80 seat restaurant that I have reopened. Its going very well, but the kitchen space is big enough to serve the restaurant, but little else. They outsourced all of the catering up until now. We are moving it all in house in order to capitalize on all the built in business. 90% of the outings are lunch at the turn, and buffet dinner. We will have a few nicer events with plated dinners, but not much. After this first year, we would like to expand the catering to any and all off site events that come our way, not just golf outings. So, I'm taking the expansion of business into account  when thinking of kitchen size as well. My boss is a very successful man, and will spend whatever we need to in order to make it happen. I was just looking for a little direction from some of my fellow chefs.

 

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51 minutes ago, ChefDavid84 said:

My boss is a very successful man, and will spend whatever we need to in order to make it happen.

 

well in that case, the higher end of my previous number :)

 

 

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1 hour ago, ChefDavid84 said:

The gentleman who hired me owns all the courses.

 

The Donald T? :D

 

Do you do weddings?

 

dcarch


Edited by dcarch (log)
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You should have a grasp of which equipment, and how much of it, you need in order to execute your menu in a given volume within the necessary time frame. From that, you can look up the square footage of each given piece, add 'em up, and then rough out an allowance for working space in between them. That gives you a rough amount of floor space, give or take. Add in what you need for walk-in coolers and a freezer, and you should be good to go. 

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I once shared a kitchen with a catering company; the kitchen was the cafeteria  in an office building that once had approximately 500 staff in place and they offered breakfast and lunch.  (we rented it after the building was converted to different use but the kitchen was still operational)  The caterer was a full service catering company; the largest events they did were bag lunches for 1000; and gala dinners for 700.  The kitchen was 3000 square feet; this  included an 8x10 dry storage, the two huge walkins (one cooler, one freezer, both were about 10x8 or  10x10 as I recall.  There were four double stacked convection ovens, a steam kettle, a tilt skillet and a flat top.  We also had a 6 burner range and another 10 burner too.  There were two dish pits; one wall had a huge three bay with very long drainboards and the other part was the automatic dishwasher.  I don't know that this is helpful information for you but I would venture that you need that much space at least.  If these golf courses have buildout capability, you might want to consider adding social events (weddings) at some point in the future; but you will never regret building a bigger kitchen then you think you need if you have the space to expand.

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