Commercial kitchens are designed for production and food safety. Whether your commercial kitchen is in your home or in a separate facility, it's a good idea to design it so you can complete your work as efficiently as possible. Regardless of whether you're making a few batches of cookies a week or supplying all of the grocery stores in your area, your meal prep kitchen will need to meet a list of requirements for cleanliness and safe food handling.
Licensing and Inspections of Commercial Kitchens
Commercial kitchens are inspected and licensed. The process of working with your local health department starts during the design stage, when an inspector reviews your plans to make sure they meet requirements such as suitable dish washing and refrigeration equipment. It's possible to get your home kitchen licensed as a commercial kitchen according to cottage kitchen laws that exist in many areas.
However, you'll still need to pay fees and have inspections. You must apply to have your commercial kitchen licensed when you originally design and build it, and you're also required to renew your license annually. Different health inspection agencies work with different types of food businesses. A retail food company will be licensed and inspected by a municipal or county health department, while a wholesale operation is typically licensed and inspected by a state or federal department of agriculture.
Food Service Equipment
Most commercial kitchens use professional equipment. Food service equipment is often made from stainless steel, which can be easily cleaned and sanitized. Professional refrigeration equipment is designed to cool foods quickly from temperature ranges where food borne illnesses are most likely to grow. Industrial stoves have more intense heat output than residential ranges, with the capacity to cook in volume.
Dishwashing equipment must either reach temperatures hot enough to sanitize, or there must be multiple sink compartments to wash, rinse and sanitize by hand. A licensed commercial kitchen may use equipment designed for home cooking, without industrial capacity, but your setup must still meet a list of requirements for sanitation and food safety.