Every restaurant is going to need ample storage space for dry goods. This will include food items, spices, kitchen utensils, pots, pans and everything else you need to run your foodservice business. Dry storage equipment will include everything from shelves, drawers and cabinets to work tables and isolated pantries.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and health inspectors on state and local levels have very strict rules when it comes to dry goods storage. A lot of restaurant owners don’t think as much about their dry goods as they do meats and veggies that need to be refrigerated or frozen at specific temperatures to maintain freshness. Your dry storage should be just as important to you, as well.
Here are 7 things you should keep in mind when planning your dry goods storage system, according to Kohn-Megibow Company (KMC):
Maintaining Proper Temperature
Food storerooms should be kept dry and well ventilated, usually at room temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees. Pay close attention to what each item requires in terms of storage so your kitchen and storage areas can be set up appropriately.
Rotating Dry Food Items
It is a good idea to date all foods and label all food containers in a detailed fashion. Keep them in a rotation with the oldest ingredients (assuming they are still fresh enough) being used first. Pay close attention to any expiration and “sell by” dates to ensure you are not using stuff that has outlasted its shelf life.
Keep the Humidity Low
Almost all dry foods will do best when the humidity is as low as possible. Less than 15% is usually ideal. Use sealable storage containers rather than cardboard boxes or paper bags to help seal in the freshness and keep humidity out.
Keep the Critters Out
Another big reason to use storage containers and have an organized dry storage system is to prevent the entry of insects, birds or rodents. This is a major concern for any restaurant and sometimes they can infiltrate your dry goods without you knowing it for awhile. Do everything you can to keep the vermin away or you could be serving contaminated food and be facing a shutdown from the health inspectors!
Avoid Direct Sunlight
You will also want to keep dry goods out of direct sunlight as much as you can. This deteriorates the materials and can lead to oxidation, which actually affects the food’s overall quality and nutritional value.
Keep Dry Goods Off the Ground
Most dry goods should be stored at least six inches off the floor and away from the outer walls. This helps reduce risks of condensation caused by temperature differences between multiple surfaces.
Have Enough Storage Space
Between your dry goods storeroom, your shelves and your storage cabinets, you want to make sure you devote enough restaurant space to provide ample dry storage. Plan out your dry goods storage system and equipment just like you would your cold food storage areas. Think about quantities and convenient access for your kitchen staff, so you have everything you need when your restaurant is at its busiest.
For all your restaurant’s dry goods storage needs, you can count on KMC. We have new and used cabinets, shelving systems, sealable containers, work tables and all the other dry storage equipment that your restaurant needs at bargain prices. Come out to one of our bi-weekly used restaurant equipment auctions for the best deals on all the kitchen items you need! Contact us today or visit the Kohn-Megibow website for more information.