Constant buzzing and activities define a popular restaurant kitchen. After enduring the pandemic, more and more people are coming out of their houses to enjoy restaurant meals and their favourite dishes. Taking this business opportunity, more and more restaurants are opening. There has been a visible rise of restaurants serving authentic east-Asian cuisines not just in Tier 1 cities but also in Tier 2 cities. The surge of the cloud kitchen restaurant model has completely changed the precedent dining experience and restaurant business strategy.
All these factors aligned together and aimed to win customer loyalty has to lead to intense competition. This has resulted in rising in restaurant automation and ways to solve the kitchen storage problems. Kitchen storage solutions refer to efficient management of restaurant kitchen space to ensure that all ingredients are suitably stored and remain in proper order. Without paying adequate attention, kitchen items would get misplaced, inventory would waste or get expired, and the overall functionality of your kitchen would fall apart.
Tips for Managing Kitchen Storage Problems
1. Order Smartly
While managing a restaurant kitchen, you constantly have to ensure that you are not running out of inventory and at the same time avoid overstocking. Chefs and managers have to find a delicate balance between these two situations and be cautious about ordering items for their menu.
It is crucial to follow some basic rules for efficient kitchen storage management. Items with high and fast consumption rates should be ordered in bulk and stored effectively to avoid spoilage. The inventory with longer shelf life can be ordered based on your requirements. Making inventory management and storage plans before stocking helps reduce wastage of inventory and money.
2. Label Everything
Labelling all items and ingredients in your restaurant ensures multiple advantages. Labelling items with buying, opening, and expiry dates is one way to ensure effective kitchen storage management. Another way of keeping track of inventory expiry is by preparing excel sheets of all important data which can be shared with the staff. This way, the kitchen staff will promptly know which items are still good to use and past their expiry dates and be instantly removed.
Labelling also ensures that you always know where your items are kept, where to look, and return them. It makes the kitchen more functional and organized. Furthermore, it can be helpful also to have a ready list of items which specifies the shelf life of things, their storage place and other important information.
Labelling and tracking inventory on regular basis is a tedious task. Restaurants which serve meals with fresh ingredients, or have a farm-to-table kitchen setup, would spend a considerable amount of time keeping track of all the dates and data. The same applies to QSRs and large chain restaurant models where inventory is restocked in large batches every other day.
To provide simplicity to this inventory keeping process, employing a POS is the best solution! Keeping track of inventory with POS is simple; every time you restock, just feed in the stock purchase and expiry dates. The stock will automatically give you ‘low stock alerts’ and ‘expiry alerts’.
3. Efficient Kitchen Layout
There isn’t any proper way to design a kitchen layout that can work for everyone. However, creating your kitchen layout based on the size of your kitchen area, estimated sales/ customer footfall and estimated space for cooking stations, necessary equipment and ventilation can do wonders for your kitchen storage. It can improve staff efficiency and optimize your kitchen workflow. It is also crucial to create proper divisions between different stations like storage, cleaning, food preparation etc.
One way to improve your kitchen layout is to move non-essential stations like storage and cleaning to the back, while the food preparation area can stay away from them at the front of your kitchen. It is valuable for a larger commercial kitchen to keep all essential kitchen equipment at the end of the kitchen; all food stations can go on the other side with food storage stations and other stations in between.
4. Item and Ingredients Storage
One of the greatest riddles of kitchen storage is managing the storage of all your ingredients and items used to prepare the food. Besides labelling, it is helpful to arrange all perishable items and the ones close to their expiry dates in the front. You can store all root vegetables in cool dark places and freeze any meat you don’t plan to use.
It is essential to keep your ingredients separate based on category and frequency of use. The items must be visible and easy to differentiate for your employees. Checking your storage spaces like freezer, refrigerator, and pantry regularly to remove expired items and transfer the remaining things into smaller containers is another good practice that chefs and managers can adopt. A proper clean-up and re-organization of your kitchen area can help eliminate unnecessary items and make more space.
5. Add Multiple Shelving
It is vital to ensure that no space goes to waste in a kitchen restaurant. The key to solving the kitchen storage problem is by utilizing the entire kitchen space to its best capability. Shelves come in various options; you choose the ones that perfectly fit your needs. It is better to place the items you use at eye level and the heavy items beneath.
You can add extra shelving inside your cabinets to increase the number of things you can keep inside and install backsplash rails above your kitchen counter to keep spatulas, spoons, and hang pans at arm’s length.
6. Keep Clean and Tidy
Keeping a kitchen clean and tidy is the way to achieve organizational excellence. Having a clean kitchen makes the kitchen more organized and easy to work. The above methods of kitchen storage, like labelling ingredients, and checking the inventory regularly, provide a way to keep things in order and tidy.
We hope this blog helps in solving your storage problems in the kitchen. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Instagram for regular restaurant-related updates!