Worried about upgrading your church kitchen or building a new one? Don’t be. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll take you through each of the stages involved and help you plan for a dream kitchen that your caterers and congregation will love. To download a printable version of this guide, click here.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the things you need to consider when planning your new church kitchen project, including:
Step One: What is the purpose of your new kitchen?
Before you do anything else, think about what your new kitchen will be used for. Ask yourself the following questions. Why do you need a new kitchen? Who’s going to be using it? How many people will the kitchen need to serve regularly?
Talking to your congregation can be a great place to start. Do they always wait a long time for food or coffee after a service? Do they enjoy being in your kitchen, or can they not wait to leave it? Do your staff have what they need to cook food effectively? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you identify the pain points your new kitchen needs to address.
Struggling for inspiration? Think about visiting other churches to see how they serve their congregations. Or why not take a look at how Steelplan Kitchens has worked with three churches to build three very different kitchens in this case study.
Step Two: Choose your product
Many people opt for kitchen carcasses made from wood or MDF because they look cheaper on paper, but don’t fall for it! In the long term, they could end up costing you much more to repair and replace than a sturdy, semi-commercial kitchen made with powder-coated steel.
Wooden cupboards and countertops absorb water, oil grease and germs. They are more like to chip and crack, wear out very quickly after use, and tend to attract bacteria and pests that can be a nightmare to get rid of.
These materials aren’t suitable for a church kitchen. On the other hand, a powder-coated steel carcass from Steelplan Kitchens will stand the test of time. It’s chip and crack-resistant, extremely durable and non-porous, meaning it won’t soak up water and is much easier to clean.
Provided with a variety of colours and finishes, Steelplan’s semi-commercial kitchens keep the friendly, welcoming feel of a domestic kitchen while having the durability and long lifespan of a commercial kitchen. That’s why they are the best option for your church.
Step Three: What appliances do you need?
Desperate to get rid of that ancient fridge or achingly slow coffee machine? Here’s where the fun starts! Appliances are key to a well-oiled kitchen. The key is understanding how many times a week they will be used, how many people will be using them and why your kitchen needs them in the first place.
You could install an instant hot water boiler so that you can rapidly prepare a batch of tea and coffee for your congregation after a service. Or you could fit a commercial dishwasher with an ultrafast wash cycle so that you always have plates available. But remember to keep in mind the purpose of your new kitchen – you don’t need to fork out for high-end appliances if you don’t need them.
Not sure where to start with appliances? We’ve put together this guide that will help you think more about appliances and what you might need.
Step Four: Thinking about space
It’s really important to think about the space you have available. For some churches, space might be one luxury they just don’t have.
If that’s the case for you, don’t worry. From installing open drinks counters to mounting kitchen appliances, there are ways to get around a smaller space and sometimes it just takes a different perspective. Steelplan has already helped several churches with smaller spaces, as you’ll see from these case studies. We’ve also rounded up five things to consider when updating a small kitchen.
If your church is a listed building, there may be certain restrictions in place but this might not be a problem, as you’ll see from our online guide. You might need to speak to an architect about your project if it will involve major works such as plasterwork, changes to ventilation, plumbing and wiring. On the other hand, for smaller jobs like adding a new appliance or cabinet, this may not be required.
Either way, you’d be surprised by how affordable it can be to work around problems in small spaces and listed buildings. Steelplan has supplied functional kitchens in all kinds of churches, big or small, listed and non-listed. We’re experts at finding solutions to your problems, no matter how big they might seem, so don’t be afraid to get in touch.
Step Five: Visualise what your church kitchen will look like
Finding it difficult to picture your brand new church kitchen? Steelplan’s full virtual 3D tour can really help. Using our tool, we’re able to map the finished product onto your kitchen layout so that you can see how your new kitchen will work in action.
Want to see more? We’ve rounded up some of the incredible virtual 3D tours we’ve already put together for clients on our website.
Step Six: Compare quotes
When you’ve figured out what you want from your church kitchen, it’s time to consider putting your project out for tender. We understand this might be a stressful step, but just remember: you don’t have to settle for less than your dream kitchen.
Want to find out how to make sure you get the kitchen that meets your specification when tendering the project? We’ve put together a handy guide on our website. Even better, this includes a full specification list at the end of the article – all you need to do is copy and paste it into the tender submitted to contractors, and hey presto – you are ready to go.
The key thing to remember is this: If your committee requires you to collect quotes from multiple kitchen companies before you can move forward on your project, make sure you know your kitchen specification (i.e. what you require) ahead of time. Otherwise, when you put the project out for tender you will end up receiving quotes from different companies for kitchens that are wildly different from each other.
We design and install semi-commercial powder-coated steel kitchens, while other kitchen providers will offer kitchens made using MDF – but these aren’t even close to being the same quality. Your committee may want to go with the cheapest kitchen quoted, even if this isn’t the best option for your church – but as we said before, the cheapest kitchen on paper will end up costing more if you need to replace everything a few years down the line. When comparing quotes, think back to what you need, what your congregation is saying and how you can achieve it.
Step Seven: Raising funds for your church kitchen
We know that raising funds can be one of the most stressful aspects of embarking on a new kitchen project. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on funding to help take you through the entire process, from pitching to grant providers to building local support through community fundraisers.
Communicating with your congregation is key so that you can spread the word and get people excited about your kitchen project. Whether it’s through coffee mornings, fairs, bake sales or BBQs, fundraisers are a great way to bring people together while raising money.
To get people involved, you need to keep them in the loop. As we discuss in this blog, social media can be a powerful tool for spreading the news about your project, but there are also more traditional methods such as putting flyers through the door, attending local fairs/town hall meetings, or sending email newsletters (which, as we mention in the blog, is easier to set up you think).
Step Eight: Making the most of your new kitchen
Let’s imagine your brand new semi-commercial kitchen is up and running. Congratulations! Now how can you go about putting that kitchen to use in a way that will benefit you, your congregation and local community?
An easy-to-use semi-commercial kitchen will allow you to host events such as weddings, conferences, committee meetings, concerts, community meals and more. Community cafes are increasingly popular at churches, creating a place where local people can gather and socialise even outside of the regular Sunday service while providing another source of revenue.
Some things to think about include: whether is a demand for a local social space, how many people you are looking to serve with the café, whether you will work with professional staff or volunteers, and how you are covered under employer’s and public liability insurance (see this blog for more information on opening a community cafe).
So there you have it, our step-by-step guide to planning your church kitchen. Let’s recap the key points below:
The inherent strength of metal and a combination of the benefits listed on this page mean that a steel Kitchen will far exceed the life expectancy of a standard wooden carcass kitchens in semi-commercial environments.
The polyester powder coated steel is impervious to water. No more swollen chipboard or rotting MDF.
The metal is fire resistant and the powder coat finish formulated so that no toxic fumes are emitted in the case of fire.
Unlike wooden/chipboard cabinets the Steelplan Kitchen carcass does not contain any material that may sustain, harbour or encourage insects or bacteria.
The powder coated finish means that the units can be kept to an extremely high level of cleanliness and hygiene at all times. Essential when used in health locations.
It looks great! The hidden steel backbone is dressed up with a choice of doors to produce whatever look and feel you want.