How much room do you need to set up a commercial kitchen for your business? 100 square feet or even 1000 square feet? Many people prefer large food trailer sizes because it usually means a spacious storage room for kitchen equipment, supplies, and ingredients. Is that true? In fact, a 7.2'x6.5' small food trailer works as a standard kitchen with sufficient room for cooking, cleaning, and even serving, if it is properly designed and arranged. That is why an efficient food trailer layout is emphasized in the process of customizing for our clients. So, how to create a food trailer layout to maximize the trailer space for storage and cooking? Here are some useful food trailer layout ideas our professional designers give to our clients.
Best Food Trailer Layout Ideas to Optimize Your Space
Each inch in a food trailer is valuable when designing the food trailer layout. The room your trailer gives is limited, no matter how large it is, 10ft or 20ft, and there are endless amounts of kitchen equipment and appliances that you want to mount to your food trailer. You can not have all of them in your food trailer. That is a truth you have to admit it. However, an efficient food trailer layout gives you a neat mobile kitchen that is equipped with everything your business needs and provides plenty of storage room. Not only can it keep things comfortable but simplified the cooking process. Therefore, you can offer the best service and food to your customers. Now, consider the following food trailer layout ideas when customizing your trailer:
Have a Detailed Plan First
The layout is crucial in running a successful food trailer business, so the step of food trailer interior design is of great importance in food trailer customization and production. It is not something hard for those restaurant owners or entrepreneurs who have experience in the mobile catering business. They know exactly what they need. However, starters may face lots of challenges in deciding on their food trailer layouts. Many mistakes are made. One of the typical examples is adding too many kitchen appliances to the trailer because of a long menu. Actually, that only results in a mess in your mobile kitchen and burdensome work when dealing with a dozen orders. So, how do starters figure out the best food trailer layout? First, you should have a detailed plan for your business. But, how? Ask yourself the following questions. It helps you organize your thoughts clearly and rationally.
1. What is your business type?
Your business is crucial to the food trailer layout and design because it not only affects your choice of kitchen equipment but has something to do with the working areas in your food trailer. A standard kitchen has a particular space for food preparation, refrigeration, cooking, cleaning, and storage. Does your concession trailer need all of them? The answer is NO! Some of these areas are indispensable for the mobile food trailer business, such as the storage room and sink for cleaning. However, how about a mobile coffee trailer business? Why does a small coffee trailer need a cooking area with a gas stove and griddle when you specialize in espresso? Hence, figuring out your business type is a key step for your food trailer layout. Ice cream, BBQ, bubble tea, or Thai food... What are you going to serve?
Some inspiration can be taken from the following functional mobile food trailer floor plans for hot mobile catering businesses types:
Coffee: Workbench, horizontal refrigeration room, and 3 compartment sink
Fast Food: Workbench, horizontal refrigeration room, salad prep table, fryers, griddle, commercial range hood, and 2 compartment sink
BBQ: Workbench, grills, 3 compartment sink, and porch
Hot Dog: Workbench, beverage dispensers, fryers, griddles, gas stove, commercial range hood, and 3 compartment sink
2. Do you prepare food in the commissary?
Since a food trailer has limited space, many food trailer owners tend to cook in a commissary, a kind of shared commercial kitchen, so they can have more storage room in their trailer and save a lot of money on buying kitchen equipment. If you prefer their approach, your food trailer layout will be rather simple and spacious, including plenty of countertops and storage room.
3. Do you need a refrigeration room in your trailer?
Some businesses can not operate without a fridge, such as the ice cream trailer business. Therefore, consider whether you need a refrigeration room or not when designing your food trailer layout. Generally, an under-counter fridge or freezer is recommended because of its space-saving design. Of course, it is not your only choice. There are various models you can have, from salad prep fridges to drink coolers. If you don't know how to make your decision, check out this page for advice. It focuses on refrigerators and freezers designed for food trailers and teaches you how to choose the best one for your trailer.
We advise against asking for a large refrigeration room blindly, even if you have a large demand for kitchen inventory. You don't need to carry all ingredients and supplies with you during daily operations. Deciding which one you should stock up on according to the sales is a much wiser approach for saving room in your food trailer.
4. What are the local health codes for the sink on the food trailer?
A water sink is required by health codes and regulations in most countries. That's why you can see it in the above food trailer floor plans. But, have you noticed these are some differences? 2 compartment water sink, 3 compartment water sink, and NSF-approved 3 compartment sink with a hand sink... Yes, these sinks are different in type. More compartments, more room they take up. Some try to make more room for storage by installing the sink with fewer compartments regardless of the regulations, which results in a failure in the application of permits and licenses for their trailer. Therefore, you should consult with your local health department on the food trailer regulations prior to selecting any water sinks.
Choose the Right Workbench
As you can see in the food trailer layouts above, the workbench is an integral part of a food trailer. Each food concession trailer manufactured in our factory is equipped with stainless steel workbenches unless its owner specifically requires an empty one. These benches come in many models. The basic one, also the cheapest, is just a rectangular stainless steel table fixed on the interior walls, giving you a wide counter space. What about the room under the counter?
There is an upgraded version of the stainless steel workbench that provides a lot of storage room. It has many cabinets under the countertop for storing disposables, supplies, and other necessary items for your business, making sure everything is organized and easily accessible in your food trailer.
If you put a high value on stability and safety, another version with a design of enclosed storage is a better choice. The cabinets under the table have a door that avoids things from falling out. You have options for the cabinet doors - hinged doors or sliding doors. The former is useful in any application for storage and can minimize the difficulty of cleaning the cabinets, while the latter requires no extra space when you open them due to their sideways operation. Make your choice according to your needs.
Expand Your Service Table
The front stainless steel table gives you a spacious countertop for serving your eaters. How about expanding it a little to have more counter space? Drop-down concession serving shelves are essential accessories for our mobile food trailers. They can be mounted to the concession window for extra space. With a large weight capacity and strong steel frame, it is a strong small table for serving food and placing necessities, like napkins, spice bags, and disposable cutlery. Of course, you can put menus, flowers, and other light ornaments on them, creating an impressive atmosphere for dining and a unique food trailer look. Accordingly, you have more counter space and storage room for important items in your food trailer.
Have a Wall Shelf
When it comes to the storage room in a food trailer, all we're talking about are tables and cabinets. Do you know you can have extra space if you use the walls in your trailer efficiently? Just have a look at your food trailer. These walls are blank and bare. Why not hang something on them to save some room on the counter?
Stainless steel wall shelves are a perfect solution for increasing storage options in a small food trailer. According to our food trailer designer's advice, they are usually fixed on the wall near the cooking area for easily accessible spices, seasonings, and utensils, which facilitate your cooking process and improve your working efficiency. A double wall shelf is available to couple with the need for more storage units. In addition to walls, the space above the concession window can be utilized efficiently to add more storage room.
If fryers, griddles, or other cooking appliances that generate greasy fumes and cause the oil to splatter are the equipment you frequently use in your concession trailer, wall cabinets are a better solution. Their compartments provide a safe and clean enclosed room for storage, protecting things from being stained when you cook. Hinged doors or sliding doors. You always have a choice when working with ETO on your food trailer design.
What if these wall shelves are too high and I can not reach the things in them? Don't worry about the height. Commonly, the average height between the wall shelve and counter is about 18-20 inches. Storage space is easy to access without the need of standing on tiptoe.
Forget about the Regular Commercial Kitchen Equipment
Your choice of kitchen equipment affects your food trailer layout greatly. Can I use my kitchen equipment in the trailer? That is a question put forward by many clients when our designers discuss the solution of food trailer layouts and designs with them. Most of the time, the purchase of new kitchen equipment designed for food trailers is recommended. Let's face the fact. Commercial kitchen equipment used in your kitchen or restaurant is not fit for your food trailer. Bulky and cumbersome, it covers too much room in your trailer, making the walkway narrow. Why have a vertical fridge when an under-counter fridge can give your large refrigeration room and counter space?
In the process of customizing your food trailer, there are tons of compact and portable kitchen equipment that are suitable for your food trailer models. Gas griddles, deep fryers, and Bain Maries... These models have a countertop design, making them the best choice for anyone with limited counter space. Despite their small sizes, they have all the functions you need to complete various work in cooking, just like these big kitchen appliances in your kitchen. Equipping their food trailer with new kitchen equipment is costly for some entrepreneurs, but it is an invaluable investment.
The advances in cooking appliances are so quick that there is a group of new products with dazzling features coming onto the market every year. Toasters, waffle makers, and omelet makers... These appliances perform perfectly when making a specific food. But, is it necessary to have them when a gas griddle can do all the things they can? To be honest, your mobile kitchen doesn't need any specialized equipment. Just take a look at the kitchen in a restaurant. No chef makes French fryers with air fryers. These so-called smart appliances are actually a waste of your money and countertop space. So, why not focus on these multifunctional cooking appliances? Not only can they improve your efficiency in cooking but save space in your small food trailer.
Here are the top 5 multifunctional cooking appliances most clients choose for their mobile kitchens:
Commercial grills: As a necessary appliance in BBQ trailers, they have a grill pan with a high thermal conductivity that can leave tempting grill marks on food. Considering they are driven by electricity and propane, no bright frame and smart smoke is generated when cooking. In addition to BBQ, you can use a grill to make great burgers, steaks, roasted corn, pizza, chicken, and so on.
Griddles: With a large heating plate, they can deal with ingredients in a large batch, so you can cook for more eaters at once. Besides, they provide versatile cooking options for you. Breakfast food, fried rice, crepe, toasters, corn cakes, cheese sandwiches, salmon. You can make many kinds of dishes with them. Equipped with a grooved plate, they are an alternative choice for grills. If the space in your food trailer is limited, you don't need to have them both.
Deep fryers: Since fried food is the love of most eaters, deep fryers are a good investment because they allow you to make fried food easily and quickly even if you are devoid of excellent cooking skills. Their timekeepers will remind you to lift the basket, avoiding the occurrence of food turning black.
Ovens: Ovens are not a choice for pizza makers and bakers only. They have extra features for defrosting, heating, warming, roasting, and baking. A small countertop gas oven can make main dishes and desserts in your small food trailer.
Gas stoves: What a skillful cook can do with stoves and pans? Everything! In most mobile catering trialers, gas stoves are functional cooking appliances for making all types of dishes and food. Chinese food, Thai food, Indian food, and sponge cakes... Gas stoves give you a chance to show your talents and skills in cooking.
Find a Good Enclosure for Your Generator and Gas Tanks
The cooking appliances in your food trailer are driven by electricity or gas, so generators and gas tanks are things you have to take with you for smooth daily operation. Where do you keep them? In your mini food trailer? How about having a specific enclosure for them so more storage room you can have in your trailer?
At ETO, stainless steel generator cages and gas tanks are available add-ons for all food trailer models. Tightly welded on the trailer tongue, they provide individual enclosures for keeping your generators and gas tanks safe and aesthetically, without taking up any interior storage room.
Find the Best Food Trailer Layout at ETO
When your food trailer business starts, you will realize the value of every inch in your mobile food trailer. Therefore, your food trailer layout should be given priority when designing your mobile units. The food trailer layout design ideas we mentioned help you to make the most use of the room in your food trailer. However, it is not advisable to adopt any of these ideas discretionarily without the guidance of experts. There is no food trailer layout template that suits everyone.
So, consult with our professional designers to obtain the best food trailer layout design ideas that work for you and get a 100% custom solution for maximizing the storage room in your food trailer. Check out our food trailer models and recent custom projects.