Storing food properly in your restaurant ensures the safety of both your staff and your customers. Proper restaurant food storage can also cut costs lost on spoiled or damaged food. Here are some ways to make sure that your food is stored safely and properly, so that you keep your restaurant running smoothly.
Train Your Staff
Your staff should be properly trained and well versed in food storage. This training should include where to store different types of food (meat, dairy, fish, vegetables, etc.). Your employees should know what temperature each item of food needs to be kept at in the fridge and freezer. Keeping a temperature log and filling it in throughout the day is an important aspect of this. Furthermore, your staff should know how to properly sanitize and clean your storage areas to prevent cross-contamination, and they should also adhere to proper hygiene and safety standards.
Follow the FIFO rule: first in, first out. This means newer food should be placed behind older food in storage so that spoiled food is never served to your customers. This also prevents against unnecessary waste and will save your restaurant money in the long run.
Make sure that all food that is delivered to your restaurant has a ‘use by’ date. This helps with FIFO and ensures your customers are receiving food that is safe, fresh, and of good quality. Each and every item of food stored in your restaurant should be labeled.
Training your staff and requiring them to keep a temperature log can help with vital temperature control. Refrigerator temperatures should be at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 degrees Celsius. Your freezer temperature should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit or -18 degrees Celsius. Keep notices up and around your kitchen to remind employees of this. Refrigerators and freezers should have thermometers inside them so that their temperatures may be checked regularly.
Use Airtight Containers
Food begins to spoil the second air comes into contact with it. Use airtight containers to increase the shelf life of your food. Airtight containers will also prevent the spread and growth of bacteria and contamination of your food.
Store Meat Low
You should have designated spots in your fridge and freezer for each food item. Meat, in particular, needs to be kept on a bottom shelf so that any juices do not drip onto other foods, resulting in cross-contamination. These standards need to be adhered to even if the meat is stored in an airtight container.
Fridges and freezers should never be overstocked in order to ensure they are functioning at their best. If you follow FIFO and maintain correct storage procedures and dispose of any out of date food, you should be able to prevent overstocking.
Keep it Clean
Cleanliness is one of the most important aspects of safe food storage. Shelves and storage units should be cleaned and sanitized properly throughout the day in order to prevent contamination and the build-up of bacteria. Your employees should be well-versed in cleanliness standards and procedures.
Following these tips for correct and safe restaurant food storage will keep your customers and staff happy and healthy. Read our blog on choosing the best food scales to learn more about properly weighing your restaurant’s food.