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cafeteria dining room

For large group feeding facilities (cafeterias, hospitals, prisons), the support area takes on a complexity rarely seen within a table service or fast food restaurant. An institutional kitchen may require as much as 2,000 to 3,000 square feet of support area, because this is where serving lines are established in a multitude of combinations:

1. Straight service line

2. Shopping center system

3. Scramble system (or free flow)

The straight line is exactly what its name implies. In terms of speeding customers through the food line, it’s the slowest moving arrangement, because most guests are reluctant to walk past the slower ones. However, single or double straight lines are still the most common style in commercial cafes because they take up less space and the average guest is comfortable with the layout.

Since customers must go through all the food options, they are also more likely to create an impulse purchase.

The shopping center (also called the detour line) is actually a variation of the straight line. Instead of being perfectly straight, sections of the line are indented, separating salads from hot foods, etc. This makes it easier for guests to miss a section. On serving lines where burgers, omelettes or sandwiches are prepared by individual order, the bypass arrangement keeps things moving.

The free-flow or scramble system is designed so that each guest can go directly to the areas that interest them. (From time to time, you’ll hear it referred to as a hollow square program.) Food stations can be arranged in the shape of a giant U, a square with islands in the middle, or just about any shape the size of the room allow. allowed. This design can be attractive, but it is often confusing to first-time customers. You are most likely to discover this design in an industrial cafeteria, where employees eat every day and will soon become familiar with it.

Scramble systems offer fast service and minimal waiting. They also allow some types of show cooking, including grilled, sautéed, or sliced-to-order dishes. Airline food service kitchens appear to have the largest and most complex support areas. Several dozen workers line a conveyor belt schedule, assembling meal trays for up to 70,000 passengers a day. To produce this kind of quantity, prepared food is kept in hot carts, and much of the preparation is done ahead of time so the assembly process is quick.

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