It’s Saturday night and every table is filled with customers. Waiters hustle around to promptly serve their guests, as the patrons delight in another fine dining evening.
These are the notable things about a restaurant. A sign of success is perhaps the packed house and smiling faces, but the truth is that a lot of the real work takes place beyond the commotion. Even before the chefs light up their first stove, there is an incredibly important amount of work that goes into making any given day at a restaurant successful.
Whether in a large warehouse or stockroom, food storage at a restaurant is fundamental to a restaurant’s success. Proper food storage not only ensures that clients are getting the best and freshest food for their buck, but also that the restaurant has created a safe and sanitary dining experience.
Keeping a well-organized food warehouse or storage place is critical, and by adhering to some general rules, it’s easy to keep your restaurant’s storage guidelines to bar.
Why Restaurant Food Storage is Important
There are a few very important reasons why storing food at your restaurant is more than placing items in the fridge. Everything from having the right foods in the right types of storage containers will influence not only how long your food will stay fresh, but on if it can remain fresh at all.
Improperly stored items can shorten the shelf life of your stock, which ultimately means you’ll end up losing money by not getting the most out of your inventory. If losing money wasn’t bad enough, if these spoiled items are left to contaminate other foods or if they make their way to a consumer played it became health issue via foodborne illness or food poisoning. But all risks aside, practicing proper food storage will make for an overall better product for your customers, which will always have a positive influence on your business.
Rotating your food stock can be a bit like playing musical chairs but FIFO (first food out) technique allows you easily keep track of how long something has been in stock. All food should be stored ideally in polycarbonate food containers that are labeled with their contents and a visible marking of their “sell by” date.
The idea is that the first food in, which will have the quickest approaching expiration date, should be the most exposed. This works as a rotation whereby newer items with later expiration dates get added into the mix while ensuring that the older items are on their way out.
Food rotations touch on this subject a little bit, but the importance of labeling your storage units is key if you want there to be any type of organization in your warehouse or stockroom. Simply put, you and anyone working will have no way of knowing what’s what. This becomes even more important when considering that certain items have different temperatures and conditions to be stored under than others.
Whether you’re using the FIFO method or some other organizational structure labeling, your dates should be key for all items you store.
Meat storage is in a league of its own in terms of how it’s stored.
Typically, it should be stored in bottom shelves or storage racks in fridges because placing it up top creates a situation where meat liquid can drip over the rest of the produce. In the case of raw and ready to eat foods, it’s always best to have a separate storage place.
You can take all the precautions of placing the right foods in the right packages and even in their proper place in the fridge, but you’ll still have issues if your temperature is not regulated.
Food, when kept at improper temperatures, will increase the likelihood of bacterial growth. It’s a legal requirement that food is kept below 5°C. -18°Cis a good temperature for frozen foods.
Even if you have the proper labels, locations, and temperatures, how you arrange it all will have an effect. The food still needs proper air circulation to make sure there are not bacteria friendly hot spots
The Best Ways for Food to Stay Fresh
It’s clear that there are many risks that can result from not properly storing your restaurant's food, but there certainly are reasons why this makes for a better dining experience. The fresher ingredients will always have great results not just in the meals but in the customer’s satisfaction. It’s always better to take these steps now than to have a health complaint later.