Starved for Space? Look Up | Creative Ideas for Using Vertical Space in Kitchens

Kitchens often contain a lot of items, from raw ingredients to tools and equipment. Nowadays, kitchen sizes are shrinking as operators save on expensive commercial space and allocate more area to front-of-house operations. This leads to cramped kitchens where necessary items take up valuable space, affecting efficiency.

To solve this, consider using your often overlooked vertical space. Here are three creative ideas to maximize vertical space in high-volume kitchens:

1. Get the overflow out of the way

Vertical storage can help manage overflow. Install hooks or shelves on walls or even from the ceiling to store ingredients and tools that are not in immediate use. This method clears counters and workspaces, making the kitchen more organized. Moreover, adjustable shelving units can be tailored to fit various items, ensuring no space is wasted. For instance, hanging pots and pans can free up lower cabinets for other essential items.

(Check out more tips on kitchen workflow.)

2. Turn a wall into a spare tabletop

Walls can serve as valuable real estate in a kitchen. Mount frequently used tools such as knives, cutting boards, and spice racks on the wall near workstations. This keeps tools within easy reach without taking up counter space. Magnetic strips for knives, pegboards for utensils, and racks for spices are practical solutions. Plus, these additions save space and improve the workflow by keeping everything you need at arm’s length.

3. Take a cue from manufacturers

Picture an assembly station in nearly any manufacturing plant. Let’s say the company builds widgets. The manufacturing plant likely has setup that widget-assembly station for maximum efficiency. Every screw, bolt, fastener and component — and the tools needed to assemble them — have been positioned within arm’s reach of the worker. If it took two steps to reach a tool or 100 steps to refill a bin of parts after every 15 widgets, the assembly process would slow down dramatically.

Organize kitchen stations like an assembly line, inspired by manufacturing processes. This setup minimizes the steps needed to complete tasks, increasing efficiency. Every tool and ingredient should be within arm’s reach of the station where it is used.

AyrKing’s Protein Rails, for instance, can expand your cold holding capacity without increasing the kitchen’s footprint. These racks can hold standard food pans and fit seamlessly onto prep tables or breading stations, making them ideal for high-volume operations.

AyrKing designed these rugged stainless steel racks to hold standard food pans, (you can order them with CoolCheck pans™ for ready-to-go cold holding) angled toward the worker for ease of access.

Incorporating these strategies into your kitchen design can significantly enhance efficiency and productivity. Vertical space utilization can turn even the smallest kitchens into well-organized, functional areas that support high-volume cooking.

For more detailed tips and innovative kitchen solutions, check out Protein Rails from AyrKing.

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