What Steps Should a Church Take if the Want to Construct a Commercial Kitchen onto their building?

church commercial kitchen

Commercial kitchen design isn’t the sort of topic that occupies the minds of churchgoers. However, for some pastors and administrators, a commercial kitchen is one of their church’s most important components. If they have one, a commercial kitchen takes a lot of time and effort to maintain and manage.

If they don’t have one, it will take even more time and effort to add one to your church. The question you have to ask yourself is whether or not the benefits of the kitchen are worth the resources you have to spend to establish it.

What Type of Kitchen Does Your Church Need?

Before you settle on a commercial kitchen design, you must first identify the type of kitchen you want. Many churches are quick to conclude that their premises require a commercial kitchen, especially large churches with massive structures. However, this isn’t always the case.

The type of kitchen you will construct will depend on the purpose you want it to serve. The type of kitchen also determines the legal requirements you have to meet. Of all the kitchen types, commercial kitchens are the most troublesome where the law is concerned. They are expected to satisfy a multitude of health and safety codes before the authorities can give you the green light to open them.

This is why church administrators are encouraged to ensure that they actually need a commercial kitchen before they construct one. As was mentioned before, the need will determine the type of kitchen. For instance, some kitchens do not prepare food.

The cooks use the facilities to heat and assemble food that was transported from elsewhere. These are called warming kitchens. If your food is prepared in another location, your church can get by with a warming kitchen that will heat and assemble the food.

However, just because the food is prepared in your church doesn’t mean you need a commercial kitchen. Commercial kitchens only enter the picture in situations where the church wants to serve food to the public. That doesn’t include their congregation.

Churches can serve food to the public for any number of reasons. Some of them feed the homeless for free. Others contribute food to poor schools in the area that cannot afford to feed their students. You also have churches that sell food to the public.

A church that serves food to its congregation can technically classify its facility as a residential kitchen. This isn’t always the case. But in many regions, your local authorities will ignore your church activities if your congregation is the only recipient of the food your serve.

If your church serves food to people besides the congregation, the authorities will classify their facility as a commercial kitchen, and they will expect the kitchen to meet all the relevant requirements as a result.

Church administrators are expected to consult code officials before they take any concrete steps to construct a commercial kitchen. A code official will provide guidance on whether or not a church facility counts as a commercial kitchen.

Though, it should be noted that the assessment made before you begin construction might vary from the assessment your kitchen will receive once it is finished. At the end of the day, your church shouldn’t aim for a commercial kitchen design unless they are convinced that it is absolutely necessary.

Once you consult your local authorities, you might be surprised by the number of requirements a commercial kitchen is supposed to meet, not to mention the expenses attached.

How To Construct A Commercial Kitchen in your Church?

You cannot add a commercial kitchen to your church without proper planning. The process will most likely involve the following:

1). Purpose

As was noted before, you should take a moment to determine the purpose of your kitchen. Even if you have already decided to construct a commercial kitchen, the commercial kitchen design will depend heavily on the purpose the facility is supposed to play. You should also account for the number of people the kitchen will serve.

2). Expert Assistance

You don’t have to understand how commercial kitchens work. You can just hire experts. That includes experienced architects and contractors that can be trusted to create a plan, produce a budget, and construct the kitchen.

You cannot add a commercial kitchen to a church by simply inserting a few cookers and countertops. You have to consider factors like ventilation, drainage, and plumbing. A professional can analyze your building to identify the best place to construct your kitchen.

If you have already identified a space for the kitchen, an expert can also find a way to install the kitchen despite challenges concerning the power, plumbing, drainage, and ventilation.

3). Features

A kitchen requires certain features and attributes to pass inspection. That includes doors, windows, a drainage system for the sinks and washers, and fire detection and suppression systems, to mention but a few. You must also adjust the lighting to meet the relevant safety standards.

Your contractor will inject all these considerations and more into your plan before settling on a budget. However, this is why it is important to make a plan. A commercial kitchen might be more difficult and more expensive to install in some places than others.

For instance, if the space you have chosen doesn’t have any ventilation and plumbing systems in the vicinity, you have to spend a lot more money to add those systems to the room you have selected before you can construct the kitchen.

You generate a budget by simply considering the cost of installing the kitchen and its features. You must also consider the additional components your kitchen needs to operate and which you must add to your church beforehand.

Some churches have abandoned their plans for a commercial kitchen because their costs ballooned significantly, exceeding their original budget.

4). Design

Once you resolve all the budgetary and construction complications, you can settle on a commercial kitchen design. If you have the financial means, you can also include a seating area for your congregation.

5). Location

You are expected to select a location before you settle on a design. However, sometimes, the commercial kitchen design you have selected can compel you to change the location. At the very least, once your contractor reveals the look of the kitchen and the components that must be added to support it, you should take a moment to reconsider the location.

First of all, if your budget has grown because the room you selected doesn’t have the amenities needed to support a kitchen, make an effort to identify a new location, preferably one that can support the kitchen’s plumbing, drainage, and ventilation needs.

Secondly, you cannot ignore the fact that the construction of a commercial kitchen is an inconvenience for you and your congregation. Any additional drainage, plumbing, and ventilation systems that must be installed will interfere with the business of your church. In some cases, your contractor may encourage you to close the church altogether until the project is complete.

But that is only one part of the equation. You should also take a moment to consider the impact a fully functional commercial kitchen will have on the operations of your church, especially if the kitchen is expected to remain in operation during church services.

You cannot afford to position a busy kitchen in a location that would cause its activities to disrupt your congregation during a sermon. This is particularly true for kitchens that feed the public. If you expect large crowds to stream in and out of the kitchen at all hours of the day, even on Sundays, you should find a room that is distant enough to prevent the activities of the kitchen from becoming a distraction.

Crowds are not your only concern. You have to keep in mind the noise and the smells that commercial kitchens generate.

6). Licensing and Inspection

You cannot operate a commercial clinic without a license. To get a license, the health department in your area has to inspect your kitchen. You can have your commercial kitchen design reviewed before you start construction.

The health department will keep you from making mistakes that may prevent you from securing a license down the line. Once your kitchen is complete, it has to be inspected. If it passes the inspection, you will get a license. Though, you have to pay several fees along the way. You must renew the license every year.

Is a Commercial Kitchen a Viable Asset?

Commercial kitchens are so expensive to construct that no one would fault you for taking a moment to question whether it is a viable investment for your church. If you have already decided to add a kitchen to your church and your congregation has asked you to justify the cost, commercial kitchens have three benefits:

1). Ministry – First of all, commercial kitchens are a great ministry tool. As was noted before, you can use them to feed the homeless and to make food for struggling organizations like schools.

2). Fellowship – You can use your church kitchen to create lasting bonds between your church members by organizing lunches and dinners. It is so much easier to plan such events when you have facilities inside the church to prepare the food. You don’t have to leave your function’s food-related requirements in the hands of an external party.

3). Revenue – Commercial kitchens are a great source of additional revenue for churches. Because they are so expensive, not everyone that wants a commercial kitchen can afford to build one. As such, you can rent your church kitchen out to other organizations on the days when you don’t need it.

Some companies would happily pay a fair monthly or annual fee to use your kitchen on a regular basis. if you don’t want other people to use your kitchen, you can sell the food you make. You might be surprised by the amount of money you can make from a fully functional commercial kitchen.

Factors to Consider When Constructing a Commercial Kitchen For Your Church

Commercial kitchens are not always the same. However, they tend to share certain attributes which you have to take into account as you consider commercial kitchen designs, including:

1). Size

Commercial kitchens are larger than normal kitchens. This is a given. For instance, they are expected to accommodate at least 50 seats, with each seat occupying 0.5 square meters. Keep this in mind as you consider potential rooms and locations.

2). Lighting

Everyone understands the importance of installing proper ventilation. You need a specific number of openings and they should be protected to prevent insects and rodents from using them to enter your kitchen.

But few people realize the important role that the lights play. Because kitchens are designed to produce food, which is a sensitive product, they must be brightly illuminated. Ambient lighting isn’t enough.

3). Floor

The floor should be smooth and easy to wash. The edges should incline towards a gutter. The walls should be just as smooth and washable. They require a light color.

4). Equipment

Your commercial kitchen design should include slots for your equipment. The average commercial kitchen requires a variety of tools. That includes stainless steel tables that will hold the food as you prepare it.

You need a cooktop with several burners and individual knobs that control them. Naturally, you can’t have a kitchen without a sink. Some people prefer stainless steel sinks. Others favor ceramic. As you might have guessed, one isn’t enough. The vegetable and meat sections are not supposed to share a sink.

Other notable tools include a dishwasher and a fridge. The commercial kitchen design you select should take into account the traffic the kitchen will receive. Think about the number of people the kitchen will accommodate and the way you expect them to flow in and out.

You should clearly mark the routes leading people into the kitchen and out of it. Don’t forget to account for the rooms that connect to the kitchen. That includes the pantry and the storage room. Their presence will affect the flow of traffic.

As you can probably tell, commercial kitchens are quite complicated. Your church needs all the professional help it can get to construct a kitchen that can serve the purpose you have in mind without exceeding your budget.