When you are a successful restaurant, pub, bar or cafe owner, prioritising the organisation of your commercial fridge and freezer probably falls quite low down on your to-do list, but it is actually a job you should be doing monthly at a minimum.
A poorly arranged refrigeration system can make your fridge work harder than it really should, which in turn, will cost you more money on utility bills and on repair costs when the compressor wears out too quickly.
Top of any food or drink outlet’s agenda should be health and safety and by teaming this with organisation of the shelves, you can ensure your food is fresh, maintains health and safety standards, improves staff productivity and prevents wastage.
- Label your shelves and your food so when replenishing stock, staff know where items should be stored quickly and easily without any confusion. This not only helps with organisation but with inventory. This is particularly helpful in busy periods when items have been removed and need returning, and is even more productive when organising various foods into different categories.
It is also worth while taking the time to clearly label use-by and best before dates, as well as a note of when the item was opened so that all detail is obviously clear
- Allow air to circulate around produce (whether fresh or pre-prepared) to avoid “hot spots” and encourage cold air to circulate around each product to maintain an even consistent temperature. Whether in a fridge, freezer or a walk-in cold store, always ensure that produce is 3-6″ away from the walls of the unit and other food items
- Storing food items 6″ off the floor is common practice to prevent pest infestation and improve sanitation, dunnage racks are particularly handy for storage and maneuverability of heavy items in cold rooms
- Ensure all fresh produce is not stored near internal fans as food can become damaged particularly green leafy vegetables and fruit. In freezers, fresh produce can suffer “freezer burn” if placed too close to the fan ventilation systems so avoid this as the produce quality will be compromised. Instead store boxed produce or items in sealed containers closest to the fan
- Always store raw meat, poultry and fish on the lowest shelves just in case the items thaw, marinade leaks from the container or an accidental spill occurs. To avoid cross contamination, cooked meats can be stored on the higher shelves. By storing the raw items at the bottom, it ensure there is no contamination from uncooked meats. If using this method in a cold store with free standing racking or dunnage racks, having 6″ space off of the floor allows for the mess to be easily mopped up
- Arrange food appropriately by having all newer food with a longer shelf life placed at the back of the cool unit and those with a closer expiry are at the front. When new produce is added to the cooler, ensure the stock is rotated to avoid wastage whilst ensuring that anything that has already been opened is placed towards the front
If you’re thinking of updating your commercial refrigeration units, do not hesitate to contact our dedicated Cooling department to discuss your needs.