Every restaurant owner knows that the devil is in the details – and that goes double when you’re looking to save money. Knowing what you have in your walk-in refrigerator keeps you from buying excess product, over-ordering produce, and it reminds you to use what you have.
Keep these tips in mind when you’re organizing your walk-in.
Label, Label, Label
Use food storage bags to organize and separate different food items, and clearly label each bag (with dates!) so that you and your employees know what’s in them. Also, label each refrigerator shelf with specific-to-your-restaurant titles (Dairy, Poultry, Summer Produce) so that unpacking product – and finding it later – becomes one of the easiest parts of your day.
Keep It Spacious
Follow the three-inch rule when storing food in a walk-in or commercial refrigerator. Keeping space in a fridge not only allows for cold air to better circulate, but it also gives you the chance to actually see what you have to work with before placing orders.
Keep it clean – and that means every single day. Do a quick wipe down of shelves every day, and a major clean out once a week. There’s nothing worse than finding a moldy box of lemons in the far corner of the walk-in that you forgot you had. Avoid that with weekly inventory checks during your big clean, and kill two birds with one stone.
Store Meat Down Low
Ideally, any meat that you have stored in a walk-in will be properly stored in sealed containers. But accidents happen, and so do leaks. Prevent accidental contamination by storing meat products on the lowest shelves in your refrigerators. If a marinade overflows, or a container breaks, you will be able to easily clean up spills on the floor, without having to throw out contaminated produce.
First In, First Out
Since you’re already labeling everything in your fridge, this one should be easy. When putting new items in the fridge, place them in the back of the shelves, and slide the older items up front. This ensures proper rotation, and helps you to use up products before their sell-by date.
Keeping your walk-in fridge well-organized will not only help to save your sanity, but will keep costs down and food waste to a minimum.