For any successful establishment, the kitchen is one of the busiest and most chaotic areas. With cooks frantically preparing numerous dishes, waiters rushing through to pick up orders and supplies stuffed in every open corner, the kitchen easily gets crowded and unorganized. If this sounds like your kitchen, maybe it’s time to take care of that extra tight storage space and maximize it with the right kitchen supplies.
Go Vertical. With so many foodservice supplies available to you, why not take advantage of space-saving stackable products. A great example is Libbey’s Practica bowls and stackable glasses. These are durable, attractive and practical to help create more space in the kitchen.
Get Creative with Shelving. Don’t be afraid to try a variety of shelving options such as wall mounted shelves, wire shelving or bar racks. Create a home for your aluminum pots, sieves, or anything you can hang from a hook on an extended bar rack or simply nail small 3-compartment racks on the wall and use it for holding cooking utensils. Utilize labels for each compartment to make items easy to find and store. This will help clear counter space and keep the kitchen organized through those busy times.
Store & Stack Containers. For every commercial kitchen, food storage containers and boxes are a must. What have become popular among food storage items are the color-coded options. For example, Carlisle’s StorPlus collection are stackable color-coded containers and boxes that keep ingredients fresh, easy to see and organized. Stack and store each container on a shelf or rack to maximize space and allow staff to move about freely in the kitchen.
By utilizing these storage tips, your commercial kitchen will become more efficient, saving time and reducing costs. Reap the benefits with these simple solutions to everyday storage clutter!
Shelving and Storage Solutions for Every Commercial Kitchen
Selecting storage racks or shelving units can be challenging as there are many options to choose from. From slotted racks to mobile shelving one thing is certain - picking the right equipment can make a difference to the success of your kitchen operation.
Outfitting a new commercial kitchen, or renovating an existing one? Chew over these tips first.
Dunnage Racks Dunnage Racks are designed to be space-saving, helping to bring efficiency and organization to the kitchen. For health and safety reasons, regulations often dictate that food must be stored at least 6" off the floor. Dunnage racks can do exactly, offering a means of food safety and protection. For perishable products, choose slotted dunnage racks for maximum air circulation.
Mobile Pan Racks
Mobile storage is essential when the environment demands quick changes and easy storage. Mobile pan racks are a perfect blend between storage and transportation. Each rack is distinctly designed with many different sizes and capacities. Before buying, have a plan for the items to be stored and an estimate of how much storage capacity is required.
Cantilever shelving is ideal for storing oversized and bulky items. Shelves are supported on the back side leaving the front area completely open for large products. According to Tom Campion, President of NAFEM, "Cantilever shelving systems out there now remove the 'front leg,' creating a truly open area to put product up, rotate it and take it down. In a walk-in it's really great, and with the new LED lighting systems you have terrific visibility - no more dark corners."
Wall Mounted Shelving Wall mounted shelving is a simple and effective storage solution. They utilize little space yet hold many products. In particular, wall mounted pot racks can easily hold and display a variety of cooking and prep pots without hindering space, allowing your employees to move more freely in a fast-paced environment. Larger wall mounted shelves are a great investment as they reduce clutter and increase efficiency.
Considerations for New Commercial Kitchens
As many a seasoned restaurateur knows, a chef's workspace can quickly become overcrowded by fancy gadgetry and appliances. While bringing a more modern look to the back of house, these accessories, designed to impress, are often unnecessary and take away much-needed space from food prep and line execution.
Outfitting a new commercial kitchen, or renovating an existing one? Chew over these tips first.
Start with the Basics
Begin by purchasing large must-haves, such as commercial ovens and ranges that are NSF-certified. These are items that no restaurant kitchen can function without. Evaluate your menu and determine the number of ovens needed (commonly two or three). And while ranges with four burners may be sufficient for smaller establishments, larger restaurants will require six to eight burner units. If the menu calls for healthier versions of traditionally fried foods, opt for ranges with griddles.
Invest in Extras
Carefully assess what non-essential yet labor-saving extras will help your kitchen run more smoothly. Smaller equipment, such as microwaves, mixers and food processors, can intensify flavors and enhance the appearance of the finished dish. Tip: be sure to maintain adequate space to incorporate supplemental devices.
Stock Up on Supplies
The right kitchen tools will lessen prep time and speed up productivity. Stock up on basic utensils and smallwares, such as ladles, graters, spatulas and whips.
Expand Your Budget
Looking to save a few bucks without sacrificing quality? Not all commercial equipment must be purchased. Consider leasing items or a rental program for equipment that is typically expensive but short-lived, such as ice machines, dishwashers and coffee makers. If cosmetic damage is not an issue, look for great deals on equipment in slightly imperfect condition.
Less is More
Above all, aim for efficiency by using the fewest number of equipment pieces to tastefully execute the menu. Develop a bare-minimum list, and then consult a commercial kitchen contracting expert before purchasing, leasing or renting. Look for pricing options on high-quality equipment that meet budget constraints, and ensure that enough capital remains to buy utensils and other supplies.
Understanding Energy Star
Looking to make a positive impact on the planet and your bottom line? According to the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), restaurants and commercial kitchen facilities consume about 2.5 times more energy per square foot than standard commercial buildings. Yet, by opting for energy-efficient kitchen equipment, foodservice operators can reduce their collective carbon footprint and work towards more sustainable food service while substantially lowering utility costs.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finds that approximately 70% of Americans recognize the ENERGY STAR label. These products reduce pollution by using less energy, which makes them better for both the environment and your operational budget. The CEE states that,
ENERGY STAR, a joint program of the U.S. EPA and Dept. of Energy, identifies and promotes products and practices that are the most energy efficient. ENERGY STAR-qualified products, generally in the top 25 percent when tested for efficiency, are voluntarily marked by manufacturers with the ENERGY STAR label.
ENERGY STAR products provide energy-saving solutions for consumers. Products that earn this label exceed the EPA's minimum standards for conserving energy. The federal government imposes strict efficiency guidelines, which are reviewed and revised annually. With these guidelines, ENERGY STAR helps identify and certify the highest quality products, including energy-intensive commercial kitchen appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens, and ice machines.
When purchasing foodservice equipment, remember that all appliances have two costs: the purchase cost and the operational cost. Though energy-efficient products may cost more to purchase, they are less expensive to operate and save customers money over time by lowering energy and utility costs. And it's important to note that not all energy-efficient products are created equal. When purchasing equipment for your establishment, be sure it bears the ENERGY STAR symbol, as it is the highest rating a product can earn.
ENERGY STAR Resources for Foodservice Operators
Information that will help you save money and the environment.
Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency: Your ENERGY STAR-rated equipment may be eligible for tax credits, but note that not all models qualify. SustainableFoodservice.com provides a listing of resources on upgrade rebates.
Foodservice Equipment Rebates: The Foodservice Technology Center offers California residents a rebate guide on energy-efficient food service equipment.
Rising food costs can have a quick and significant impact on restaurant profits. Finding effective ways to control costs is key to protecting your investment and maintaining a positive cash flow. Follow these quick tips to manage costs and ensure your culinary fare is not breaking the bank.
Closely monitor dishes leaving and returning to your kitchen. Both varying and inflated portion sizes can lead to increased food costs. Set guidelines for portioning meats, cheeses and produce- practice with your kitchen staff to establish consistency on portion sizes.
Invest in digital scales and slicing equipment for accurate measurements.
Pre-portion grains, pastas and soups using calibrated measuring equipment. Using standardized measuring tools, such as cups and spoons, will prevent side dish portion sizes from fluctuating.
Choose popular produce that is in season, and enhance your menu by reflecting what's current. Purchasing in-season means your restaurant's grocery bill will be lower, and it will keep your menu fresh and please your customers' palettes.
Reduce waste by creatively making use of leftovers and extras. Run daily specials from the previous day's well-stored leftovers and use vegetable off-cuts for pastas, soups and purees.
Purchase goods in bulk, such as pasta, rice, grains, coffee and tea. When bought in larger quantities, the cost per unit for these items decrease greatly, leading to substantial savings over time.
Is your restaurant feeling a bit lackluster? Take inspiration from these trends to give your commercial kitchen and menu a boost.
Locally-grown and sustainable. Food and beverages alike are getting an eco-conscious makeover. Customers are favoring organic and sustainable dishes. In response, restaurants are using ingredients harvested from nearby farms and bars are stocking alcoholic beverages produced with organic and biodynamic methods. Some are even going "hyper local" and choosing establishments that do their own gardening and butchering.
Balanced nutrition. From kids' to adult menus, healthy is in. For many parents, they are patroning establishments where French fries are disappearing- replaced by fresh fruits and vegetables. And while adult-sized portions are getting smaller, the dishes do not lack in taste, as big, bold flavors are on the rise.
Sophisticated spirits. From micro-distilled wines to artisan liqueurs to culinary cocktails, upscale adult beverages are the next wave of the foodie movement. The trend is even finding its way to fast casual eateries, where even non-alcoholic beverages are getting a special twist.