Getting your commercial kitchen organized can be made much easier with the right knowledge and the right tools. Whether you have a walk-in in disarray, or a dry good storage area that leaves a lot to be desired, the following tips can get your restaurant back on the right track.
Tip #1: Get everything off the floor
Nothing should be stored on the floor as a basic food safety precaution. This goes for both coolers and dry storage. One common work around is to use pallets under items on the floor, but this doesn't lend itself well to good organization. Instead, invest in a shelving and container system for lifting everything off the ground. The shelves in this system are sized for easy use with plastic storage tubs and heavy duty plastic storage bins that are also designed for the system, which allows you to maximize your space.
Tip #2: Use the right containers
Not all commercial storage containers are created equal. Some storage options are intuitive – like how liquids, like sauces and soups, are usually stored within lidded buckets. Others may require more creative solutions. For example, if your restaurant makes use of pre-made and pre-measured packets of dry storage items, consider having a unit that uses open shelf storage bins. The packets are transferred to the labeled bins when the food order arrives, then cooks can simply grab a packet when they need one instead of sorting through boxes or pulling items off of shelves to get to them. For lidded containers, make sure lids fit tightly to make sure spills don't occur.
Tip #3: Give everything a little bit of space
Space is especially important in your cooler. You want to place your storage containers so that there is a couple of inches of space on all sides. This ensures that the cold air can pass around the items and keep everything at a consistent temperature. Outside of the cooler, space is vital so that containers can be removed from shelves without the danger of knocking down neighboring containers.
Tip #4: Streamline your labeling system
Date and time labeling is a standard food safety requirement that also helps you avoid spoiled or wasted product. Unfortunately, methods for doing it usually require either writing directly on your storage bins or using layer upon layer of stickers. Fortunately, your storage bin provider may have a solution to this issue. There are dissolvable food labels available that quickly wash off in warm water. You can also find commercial bins with a clear window section that allows you to slide a label inside. Since it is never stuck to the bin, you don't have to worry about cleaning it off.
Talk to a container and storage consultant to find the best products for organizing your commercial kitchen.