4 Important Questions for Mobile Kitchen Design


The first step in the design and build of a container restaurant is research. And the start of research is knowing the right questions to ask. We’ve been at the forefront of shipping container kitchen design, and we’re dedicated to making sure you are fully informed and prepared for the process. Begin by answering these questions.

Where do you want to be?

Location plays a huge role in what your restaurant will be, who you will be serving, and what menu items you’ll be serving. But picking the right plot isn’t just about the neighborhood you’re in or the competition from other establishments. Your location also determines the footprint, layout, and municipality regulations we must adhere to during the design and build process.

When rendering, we must consider and include the important details of your location. Are you up against a wall? Is there a tree that might cast shade, or cause damage to an upper deck? Will you need a smaller unit to fit the fold down walls into your activation area? The devil is in the details, and we make sure to shine a bright light on all the small details of your location. Knowing how things will look and where they’ll be placed is an important part of finding and diagnosing problems before your activation day.

What do you want to serve?

Utilizing a shipping container can offer an amazing amount of “cool factor” for an up-and coming business or a new venture for established restaurants. But, if you don’t know what you’re serving or which tenants will be occupying the space, you’re in for a rude awakening. Kitchen design is an art. And bad art is bad for business.

The menu you’re planning on preparing dictates a huge chunk of how we design. Different menus require different equipment, different sized kitchens, sometimes different MEP codes. If you’re planning on selling concessions, that’s a very different build than a 5-course gourmet meal.

How do you want to look?

The container aesthetic is notoriously polarizing. People love it or hate it. That’s fine, because our designers and engineers are experts at making first-trip ISO shipping containers look like mansions and modularly built structures look identical to new containers. The versatility that our best practices offer our clients extends far beyond the industrial aesthetic.

But how can you build a fully-functioning kitchen in a big box? Though traditional construction and kinetic architecture are built in strikingly different ways, designing is very similar.  We design with your ultimate objectives in mind, and how you look to your customers is an important part of that.

How should it flow?

Traditionally built restaurants usually have tons of space, and that makes designing for workflow a little easier. A conventional kitchen is set up in zig-zag pattern. This means that a cook or a server can access the equipment and tools (everything from butcher knives, to napkins) in a much smaller area. When you have limited space and large industrial equipment, the layouts are more limited. We’ve had the most success with linear patterns most emblematic of a line-service restaurant.

This goes hand-in-hand with your menu. To properly organize and optimize the flow of the kitchen, you’ll need to know what you’re serving, and how you want to serve it. If your filet mignon is accompanied by a dollop of Roquefort, you better make sure the refrigerator is closer to the service window than the fryer.

What now?

The best way to begin the process of building a shipping container restaurant is to jump in. Fill out our contact form below. We’re happy to answer questions, provide guidance, and get you to a place where you feel confident in your plans. Even if you choose another vendor.