April 24, 2024

A Closer Look at the Rise of Central Production Kitchens in the UK

The UK restaurant industry is a tough environment where only the most efficient survive. With tight margins and intense competition, innovation isn’t just beneficial; it’s essential. Central production kitchens are at the cutting edge of this innovation. These off-site facilities streamline food preparation, offering a solution to the challenges UK restaurateurs face.

With the UK restaurant market valued at £18.7 billion in 2023 and the fitted kitchen market resilient at £5.28 billion, central production kitchens are set to change the restaurant landscape. In this article, we’ll explore how these kitchen facilities not only meet today’s demands but also pave the way for a more streamlined and successful future in dining.

What are Central Production Kitchens?

Central production kitchens, also known as central production units (CPUs), are spacious facilities located outside of restaurant premises intended for mass food preparation for various restaurant branches. These kitchen amenities use scale economies to lower food preparation expenses, make recipes consistent, and create more space in individual restaurants for customer-facing tasks such as front-of-house service and improved dining experience. 

Why Consider a Central Production Kitchen for Your UK Restaurant?

There are many advantages to central production kitchens that may be especially appealing to UK restaurant owners dealing with a difficult economy and a known shortage of chefs, including: 

Reducing Food Costs

Central production kitchens have the potential to greatly lower costs for restaurants by buying ingredients in large quantities and simplifying preparation procedures. Although each business varies, data indicates that restaurants generally have a food cost percentage of 20-40%. CPUs have the potential to lower this figure, enhancing the profitability in a competitive market such as the UK. 

Creating Consistent Quality

CPUs enable precise recipe standardisation and portion control. This guarantees that all dishes, no matter where they are prepared, adhere to the same rigorous standards of quality. In today’s tough competition, UK customers place greater emphasis on quality than before, with 68% claiming that food quality is the top factor for a satisfying restaurant visit. Central production kitchens can support restaurants in establishing trust and loyalty with customers by ensuring consistent quality, thereby improving brand reputation in the long run.

Streamlining Operations

Centralised kitchens help restaurants save important space in their own facilities. This enables restaurant owners to enhance their layouts for a customer-focused experience by enlarging seating spaces or integrating open kitchens for a more interactive ambience. Consolidating food preparation in CPUs can also simplify staffing needs, potentially leading to a decrease in the number of chefs required in each restaurant location. 

Cutting Down Labour Costs

Many UK restaurant owners are worried about the lack of experienced chefs. CPUs can ease this burden by consolidating food production and allowing a smaller team of skilled chefs to operate in a centralised location. In turn, this can lead to cost savings on staff wages and benefits. 

Enhancing Scalability

CPUs provide a scalable solution for restaurant businesses. As your restaurant group expands, your central production kitchen can adapt to meet the growing demand, eliminating the need to invest in additional kitchen infrastructure for each new location.

Is a Central Production Kitchen Right for You?

While CPUs are a great option for numerous restaurants, they might not be the best choice for every type of business. These are some aspects to think about before changing, such as:

Menu Complexity

Central production kitchens are best suited for restaurants with standardised menus that travel well. Dishes that require last-minute preparation or delicate finishing touches may not be ideal candidates for CPU production. 

Delivery Logistics

A central production kitchen’s viability depends on a reliable delivery system. Ensuring that food reaches its destinations fresh and on schedule is paramount. The key lies in a dependable refrigerated transport network that upholds the quality from kitchen to customer. 

Minimum Order Requirements

CPUs typically have minimum order requirements to make their operations cost-effective. Smaller restaurants may not meet these minimums, making them less suitable for the central production kitchen model. 

Ready to Explore Central Production Kitchens?

The emergence of central production kitchens marks a major change in the restaurant industry in the UK. Restaurateurs can achieve a competitive advantage, lower expenses, and maintain uniform quality by adopting this cutting-edge method, allowing them to allocate more resources toward delivering an unforgettable dining experience to their clientele.

If you’re a UK restaurant owner wanting to make operations more efficient, a CPU might just be the solution. At Foodstars, we provide everything necessary for a seamless switch to a central production kitchen. Our experts will offer professional advice, starting from the beginning of the feasibility studies to creating a menu that is suitable for transportation in our modern kitchens. We will take care of organising logistics and choosing vendors, guaranteeing a smooth integration with your current activities. When you partner with us, you get to concentrate on what is really important: providing an excellent dining experience for your customers.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how a central production kitchen can benefit your restaurant in the challenging UK industry.

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