For any restaurant owner, the importance of good kitchen hygiene and well-organised cold storage cannot be overstated. With well-planned cold storage, perishable commodities may be kept fresher for longer, and staff needs can be met more swiftly.
In disorganised cold kitchen storage, a staff member’s time to find a food item will be longer, and the heat entering the room will be greater, resulting in increased energy usage to maintain the temperature and, eventually, shorter equipment life.
Whether you’re just starting out in the hospitality industry or have been reorganising your commercial kitchen’s cold storage for decades, you can always do better. Let’s examine why cold storage organisation is so important before diving into our tricks.
Why is Organising Your Kitchen’s Cold Storage Important?
Serving spoiled food is a surefire way to harm your business’s reputation and, in worst-case scenarios – get a lawsuit against your restaurant. Therefore, kitchen hygiene and food safety must be your top priority. The shelf life of perishable goods can be extended by maintaining adequate airflow, and expiration dates can be easily identified if the cold kitchen storage is well organised.
Being well organised has a positive effect on staff productivity. Employees no longer have to waste time searching fruitlessly through piles of goods to find the items they need. There will be a direct impact on productivity and profitability if employees have to waste time searching for items in disorganised kitchen storage.
Last but not least, a neat and tidy kitchen storage area makes for happier employees. When things are in their proper places, employees are more likely to be dedicated to their tasks, which in turn helps to lower turnover rates.
Now that you know how important it is to keep your cold storage clean and organised, let’s jump to the tricks which can help you do the same for your restaurant’s kitchen storage.
Tips to Organise Your Cold Storage
Having clearly labelled shelves not only makes it easier for workers to find what they need during busy times but also motivates them to return everything to its proper location at the conclusion of their shift.
As soon as the food is placed in your cold storage, it should be dated and labelled with manufacturing and expiration dates. This will speed up the purchase of supplies since employees will be able to easily determine which food products are about to expire and, as a result, order more of them before the current stock runs out.
2. Colour Coding the Boxes
Labelling your food products can undoubtedly help your staff quickly locate what they need. However, your employees still need to get closer to the boxes and navigate through a couple of them while reading labels to get the desired item.
To accelerate the process, use colour-coded boxes to segregate different types of goods and keep them separate with a signboard indicating which colour represents which type of food. You can, for example, keep red for meat and green for vegetables and fruits. Your employees will be able to simply identify the boxes without having to read the labels and reach for the product they need.
3. FIFO Inventory Method
Attach labels to your food products with the name of the item, expiry date and manufacturing date as mentioned earlier. Put all of the newest products on the back of the shelves. Pull out the old stuff and put it in front. Any products that have been opened should be consumed first if they are still edible. First-in, first-out (FIFO) guarantees that products are rotated often enough to keep stock fresh and safe to eat.
4. Fresh Food Away from Direct Cold/ Heat
Keep perishable food products like fresh greens and delicate fruits like berries away from the refrigerator’s internal fan. It’s best to keep perishables like fresh fruit and vegetables away from any sources of direct or indirect heat or airflow. The contents in sealed containers are more likely to remain undamaged. Freezer burn occurs when food is kept too close to the freezer’s fan.
5. Do not overstock
Because a cold storage facility has so much storage space, people frequently try to cram it with extra food supplies even when they don’t need them. Overstocking food can make it difficult for your staff to locate a specific food item in a freezer room. It can also make air circulation difficult, which can eventually degrade the food stored in the cold room for an extended period of time.
6. Breathing Space
Make sure there is enough room between food boxes when storing in bulk to allow cool air to flow. Increased airflow allows for more even cooling across the space. It’s recommended to leave three to six inches of space between food items and the walls of the fridge and freezer, and between each individual item.
Maintaining well-organised cold storage with good kitchen hygiene will help your team find what they need, keep food safe, and extend its life. Invest some time and effort in the better organisation to increase the service life of your appliances and the quality of the meals you provide your customers.
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