According to Forbes, restaurants spend over 30% of their money on ingredients, making appropriate storage of refrigerated and frozen stock in walk-in coolers or freezers critical to bottom lines. It’s not enough to just stack your food boxes inside your walk-in cooler or freezer to keep your food fresh, as it can lead to various health and safety issues.
These issues, on the other hand, can be readily avoided with good planning and organizing skills. Restaurants can improve their food quality and safety while also reducing wastage and preserving equipment by adequately managing their storage space. Here are some suggestions for keeping your walk-in cooler or freezer organized.
1. Ensure Proper Spacing
To guarantee optimum airflow and cooling dispersion, walk-in coolers and freezing equipment must be appropriately spaced. Cooling will not be uniform across the cold storage area if there is insufficient airflow.
Inadequate air distribution frequently results in under-cooling of some items, which can spoil due to being too warm, or over-cooling of others, which can ice over or cause freezer burns, all of which can result in costly ingredient waste.
Space your products so that airflow passes smoothly on all sides of each product, which can reduce costly ingredient loss—a good rule of thumb is to leave a 2” gap on each side.
Items should also avoid contact with the walls and floors of walk-in coolers and freezers. Make sure there’s enough room between the shelf units and the walls. Also, make sure to install high quality values in your freezer, for efficient cooling. You can contact api 6d ball valve manufacturers, who are well-known for manufacturing premium quality valves which can be used for various purposes.
2. High-Quality Doors
Check to see if your walk-in cooler or freezer has a high-quality door. The first step toward greater energy efficiency is a well-built door. Your entry will leak chilly air if it is built of low-quality materials or poorly constructed.
Even if you have a high-quality door, you should visually inspect it regularly for signs of wear or damage. Gaskets, latches, strikes, and hinges should all be replaced as soon as they become cracked or worn.
3. Try to Avoid Cross-Contamination
Ingredient cross-contamination can be a severe health hazard, impacting an entire shelf or multiple shelves of food and resulting in costly food waste. Food items should be organized on the shelves according to their types.
To avoid cross-contamination, meats should be stored on their own shelf (or in their own space) and beneath the other food items. Foods that come into touch with meat or meat juices must be rejected immediately, and spills must be cleaned and sanitized as soon as possible to avoid further food safety risks.
Cross-contamination risks can be further avoided by categorizing and clearly identifying shelves in the restaurants. This will ensure that when items are stocked, they are positioned in a way that reduces the danger of contamination while also making it easy to get products when they are needed, saving not only energy and time but also making inventory reordering operations easier.
4. NSF Approved Shelving
The National Sanitation Foundation’s (NSF) standards and certification serve as the gold standard against which all commercial foodservice equipment is judged. Today, NSF certification requirements in food processing rooms are so standard in the United States that it’s nearly difficult to open a new restaurant or commercial kitchen without them. It is the industry’s most specific accreditation and is one of the most well-recognized marks.
NSF standards are employed in storage shelves as well as walk-in coolers and freezers. Restaurants may be confident that they’re operating a rust-resistant and easy-to-clean shelving choice in their cold storage when they choose NSF-certified shelving.
In addition, an NSF-approved shell is available in a wide range of configurations, including components and accessories for ease of product identification, such as posts, individual racks, and label holders. You can visit NSF.org for any additional information on your restaurant’s NSF regulations.
5. Rotate Your Inventory
Even when used on a daily basis, some items can be set aside and forgotten as various foods items are regularly used and replaced. These materials may eventually expire and need to be discarded, which is a costly but avoidable mistake.
Restaurants may ensure that foods are used before their expiration dates while reducing expired food waste by implementing a rotation system. To aid in maintaining a good rotation process, organize your components so that expiration dates are visible and older products are easily accessible. Another helpful technique is to use color codes for distinct orders or products to make expiration dates more visible.
By reducing food waste, a rotation system can save a lot of money, but it needs discipline. To keep the system running well, make sure that you have the appropriate resources on hand, such as labeling supplies, adequate storage containers, etc.
6. Product Organisation is Crucial
Product organization in walk-in coolers and freezers is essential for efficient and safe food preparation. Restaurants not only ensure food safety conditions but also eliminate waste, save time, and use less energy by properly spacing items.
This also promotes proper cooling. Grouping our items according to their types and employing sanitary NSF-certified shelving can prevent spoilage or cross-contamination. Also, make sure to use a robust inventory rotation system to filter product usage via expiration dates.
7. Energy Efficient Equipments
Using energy-efficient equipment is another way to increase energy efficiency. This may appear to be self-evident, but it is frequently neglected. Almost all glass cooler door manufacturers provide LED illumination, which is a terrific approach to increase energy efficiency.
LED lighting is not only low-cost to operate, but it also produces little to no heat and provides excellent product display illumination. If possible, purchase three-phase refrigeration equipment next. In the long term, it will be cheaper to run a three-phase than a single-phase if you are wired for it.
Moreover, you need to install good quality valves which can last long. You can consider installing ball valves for your freezer, as they generally have a thick valve body which makes them resistant to extremely cold temperatures. Click here for more information
As we can see, there are a variety of ways to increase energy efficiency and optimize your walk-in freezers. Some of these tasks should be completed before buying your walk-in cooler or freezer, while others can be completed afterward. A person can save a lot of money over the life of their unit with a little foresight and research!