What Is A Central Production Kitchen, And Why Are Restaurant Brands Increasingly Adding Them To Their Operations?

What Is A Central Kitchen?

Medium-sized companies (5–20 units) are following suit to support expansion and keep costs under control.

Why Emerging And Thriving Multi-Store Restaurant Brands Increasingly Turn To Central Kitchens

Restaurant teams and franchisees can focus more on the guest experience.

Reduced overhead costs and increased profits

Better product consistency

High-volume production rates

Ultra-efficient kitchen operations

  • By centralising purchasing into your CPU, you can order food and supplies in large batches, increasing your restaurant’s purchasing power.
  • You can easily keep track of your purchases and inventory because everything is centralised. This allows you to optimise inventory and food waste management and cut down on costs.
  • Prep kitchens help you run a leaner human resources operation. You can hire and use staff more efficiently: skilled chefs prepare food in the central kitchen while restaurant staff focuses on plating the food to perfection and serving it well. This way of working will further enhance the guest experience.
  • Streamlined Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are another perk of using prep kitchens. With most of the cooking done in the central kitchen, restaurant employees in your units can focus on following the SOPs of putting together each meal and presenting it well to customers. As a result, they gain significant time by not having to prepare the entire dish from scratch and are less likely to make mistakes in portion sizes, for example.
  • Your restaurant kitchens need less storage space and smaller freezers to store frozen and raw materials, which allows them to maximise kitchen space to fit their unit’s specific production needs.
  • You can take advantage of increased kitchen operations efficiency to develop new menu ideas, virtual brands, and signature dishes and flavours for your brand.

Faster scaling

Extra business opportunities



Host kitchens

What Tech To Invest in?

Apicbase streamlines orders with production and inventory.
  • streamline internal ordering processing to eliminate mistakes;
  • align ordering, production, and shipping to facilitate stock counts;
  • automate food cost calculation;
  • keep track of inventory across your units;
  • monitor every step of the production, intake & shipping procedures;
  • ensure efficient food production to keep your food costs low;
  • create a uniform and centralised system each restaurant or unit can use to track KPIs and communicate with your central kitchen.

What Is The Difference Between Ghost Kitchens, Shared Kitchens, And Central Kitchens?

Ghost kitchens

Shared kitchens

Best Practices For Operating A CPU Kitchen

Produce and distribute high volumes without compromising quality.

Location, location, location

Develop a central kitchen strategy

  • Does your expected workload justify setting up a commissary kitchen, or is it more logical to rent a shared or host kitchen first?
  • What is your budget, and how much do you estimate your CPU will cost to set up?
  • Which products will you prep in the central production kitchen, and which ones should be cooked on-site to ensure the best customer experience?
  • What equipment, layout, and storage space will your kitchen need to meet demand?
  • How often will you provide maintenance, and how will you maintain a sanitary kitchen?
  • Which team will run the prep kitchen, and who will liaise with the different units and your brand’s HQ?
  • How will you transport your components and products to your restaurants?
  • Which systems do you need to ensure all processes run smoothly, not just in your central kitchen but across all your locations?

Kitchen layout and workflows are key

Video credit RATIONAL AG #TrendTalk

Keep on top of maintenance and repairs

Central Kitchens Present Multi-Unit Restaurant Brands With Ample Opportunities

Find Your Central Kitchen Partner



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Geert Merckaert

Geert Merckaert

I write about F&B Management Best Practices for Multi-Unit Food Businesses. My goal is to help you keep costs down, quality up and operations running smoothly.