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Food for Thought - Rapids' Blog
If storage organization was on your New Years list of resolutions for your restaurant, you are not alone. A survey taken of restaurateurs in December put kitchen and cooler organization as one of the top concerns for restaurant owners for the following year.
This is no surprise, as most restaurants are short on storage space. It's an age-old problem and comes with only one solution: making a plan and sticking to it.
Planning Your Food Storage Solutions For Your Restaurant
The first step in planning your food storage is to pull out your menu.
1) Rank the items on the menu in order of sales volume.
2) Create a spreadsheet with these categories: meats, produce, baked goods & bread, dry ingredients, plateware, and to-go containers.
3) Starting with the most popular menu item and working down from there, make a list of the products and ingredients needed to serve that menu item. It should include food ingredients and plating equipment.
4) Of course you will have duplicate ingredients. Once the ingredient is on the spreadsheet in order of popularity, there is no need to put it on there again.
Now that you have sorted your menu by sale popularity and by ingredient, you have a road map to organize your restaurant shelving. Ingredients used most frequently should be stored within easy access of the cooks while simultaneously prioritizing a few general restaurant storage rules.
After you have done the work of organizing, you need to make sure your employees understand your new system and stick to it. This is a frequently overlooked aspect of the process, and can cause all of your hard work to be for naught if your employees continue to store things the way they used to.
The General Rules of Restaurant Food Storage
Within your cooler, meats should be stored on the lowest shelf to reduce the chance of dripping juices contaminating other ingredients. Store meats on the lower shelves in food pans with lids to prevent spillage in your storage room.
To increase the shelf life of your produce and fruit, do not store it directly in front of the cooler fan or close to foods with strong odors.
Dry food should be stored in cool, dry areas with good ventilation. Humidity should be at 60% or lower. Make sure that dry food goods are not stored near any heating equipment.
To ensure that your cleaning equipment and cleaning chemicals never contaminate food items, you should store them in a separate area that is completely away from food items. It is best to have a storage space dedicated only for storage of your janitorial supplies. Sanitation codes require that you not store cleaning supplies above food items, food prep equipment, utensils, or table linens. For more on food storage safety visit Foodsafety.gov.
Epoxy shelving is sturdy metal wire shelving that is coated with an epoxy finish that makes it perfect for the moist environment of a walk-in or a humid kitchen. They are sold in different heights and widths, allowing for many storage option. They also come with adjustable shelves and the ability to purchase additional shelving to create more storage within a rack.
Camshelving units feature strong polymer composite technology, and in fact are one of the strongest among commercial kitchen shelves. The composite material is as strong as steel, can support loads of up to 600 pounds per shelf, and is up to 60 percent lighter in weight than steel. And, unlike most restaurant wire shelving, these units also easy to set up, adjust, and change configurations. Camshelving features a hygienic design, which is nonporous, wipes clean, and also features antimicrobial protection.
Camshelving units guarantee shelving for life. This means that Camshelving units are impervious to moisture, salt, and chemicals; the units also won't peel, dent, or warp, and will remain rust-free (the manufacturer is so confident in this claim that they offer a lifetime warranty against corrosion and rust!).
Dunnage racks are your best option for storing your heaviest items up off the floor within your restaurant, walk-in cooler, or walk-in freezer. Dunnage racks can be fabricated from aluminum or polypropylene, come in different lengths and widths, and some can hold up to 3000 lbs. Most come with connectors so that they can be placed next to each other in secure configurations. Sanitation codes require that product be kept 6-8 inches above the floor, and dunnage shelves solve that problem.
Beer kegs are heavy - that means the most important aspect of keg shelves is that they are exceptionally sturdy and durable. Rapids keg storage racks feature a reinforced perimeter and are constructed of heavy-duty aluminum; this guarantees that the Rapids brand beer keg racks can withstand the constant abuse of stacking both full and empty beer kegs on a daily basis, in the busiest and most demanding business establishments. They also have a lifetime guarantee against corrosion (which can be caused by humidity in your cooler), so you can have peace of mind when stacking your beer kegs.
Keg stackers are designed to help store your extra kegs that haven't been tapped yet. They can also be used to stack kegs while moving them to a different location, as full beer kegs need to be stored upright in order to protect the quality and flavor of the beer. A keg stacker allows you to stack multiple kegs upright and make use of the vertical space in your beer cooler.
Keg spacers, on the other hand, actually eliminate the need for keg shelving. A keg spacer works much the same way as a keg stacker, but is actually 7 inches tall with spacing that allows you access to tap the keg while still storing the kegs vertically on top of each other. Keg spacers also make use of vertical storage space in your cooler and will actually save space over keg shelving!
Make this year the year you finally organize your restaurant food storage to expedite both food preparation and shipment receiving. Well-organized kitchens that are efficiently laid out will save money in labor and food costs.
Sometimes the challenge of how best to organize kitchen and walk-ins for optimal efficiency is just daunting. You know it needs to be done, you have a vision, but not the time. In that case, it's time to call in professionals to take your dreams and turn them into reality. Rapids Contract and Design have years of experience, and they utilize the industry's latest technologies to aid in the design process. Client needs, expectations, and strategy provide the context for every project Rapids Contract and Design work on. Whatever it takes to realize your restaurant's full potential.
Visit Rapids Contract & Design Website to view their current and past projects.