Proper Food Storage | 4 mins read

Proper Food Storage Rules for Your Restaurant to Live By

proper food storage rules for your restaurant to live by
Dakota Sheetz

By Dakota Sheetz

The Importance of Food Storage to Your Business

Proper food storage is an essential building block for any successful food-based business. Some examples of how implementing and upholding proper food storage practices boost overall business efficiency and bottom line include-

  • Ability to purchase and maintain an ideal inventory
  • Foresight to buy food products in bulk to secure the best value
  • Menu planning based on available products to decrease wastefulness
  • Peace of mind that even if there is a rush, your team will have the products they need to serve your customers
  • Decrease both labor and food costs
  • Best use of on-site space, especially if storage capacity is limited
An organized food storage system that all team members understand will save your business money and time. Taking an organized and proactive approach to your business's food storage will decrease stress levels, food outbreaks, and food waste.

The Different Types of Storage

Food industry professionals must educate themselves on the different storage requirements required for specific types of food. Below are tips for some of the most common types of food storage-

  • Dry Foods- Dry foods are often overlooked because of their long shelf-life and perceived durability. However, dry storage areas are more likely to develop foodborne illness through chemical and physical contamination than colder storage areas. Unfortunately, the storeroom for dry foods is often an afterthought in foodservice facility designs, and the area designated for storage is sometimes in an inconvenient or unsafe location.
Several essential points for proper care and control of the dry storeroom, include-
  • A dry, cool location to decrease swelling and spoilage of canned food
  • Store dry foods at or below 46 degrees Fahrenheit to keep them fresh longer
  • A secure, clean, and well-sealed area free to protect dry food from vermin, rodents, or foodborne illness
  • Adequate ventilation to control humidity in order to stop mold and harmful bacteria growth
  • FIFO (first-in, first-out) friendly system to use older food products before newer products
  • The area should be well lit
  • Never store food on the floor. Dry foods should be stored on shelves at least 6 inches above the floor
  • Avoid injuries by allowing sufficient room for employees to move around the dry storage area and provide proper lighting
Refrigerated and frozen products require careful consideration and closely monitored temperature control. Refrigerated storage requirements include-
  • Keep refrigerated foods at or below 39 degrees Fahrenheit to help them stay fresh longer
  • Install refrigerator thermometers and monitor temperature throughout the day. Remind staff to be mindful of how long they leave refrigerator doors open for
  • Designate and maintain sections for food storage to avoid bacteria growth and foodborne illness contamination between different food types
  • Ensure the refrigerator is regularly cleaned and every storage container is organized. Shallow, well-ventilated shelves will discourage mold and bacteria growth
  • Using the FIFO (first-in, first-out) system
  • Storing raw products below cooked and RTE (ready to eat) products
Frozen storage requirements include-
  • Store frozen foods at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum shelf life
  • Install fridge thermometers and monitor temperature throughout the day. Remember to remind staff to be mindful of how long they leave fridge doors open for
  • Keep food safe by covering food in plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn. Freezer burn results from loss of moisture which negatively impacts both food flavor and texture
  • Ensure the fridge is regularly cleaned and kept organized with rotating FIFO (first-in, first-out) system

The Proper Temperatures

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Similarly to different storage types, specific food types will have specific requirements in order to decrease both unnecessary food waste and foodborne illness. Below are some key storage tips to adhere to for specific food items-

  • Eggs- Keep your eggs in their original carton to protect them from damage or absorption of surrounding food's odors and flavors. Additionally, the carton provides an easily referencable "best before" date and help keep the egg positioned with the yolk centered
  • Meat- Raw meat contaminates everything it touches, so to prevent cross-contamination and foodborne illness, ensure you correctly wrap and store all meat products. Never leave meat unwrapped in your refrigerator or freezer, even for short periods of time. Clearly label meat so that staff members can easily locate content and best by dates
  • Produce- Separate fruits and vegetables to avoid spoilage. Many fruits should be stored on your kitchen's countertop, while no vegetables should be. A helpful rule of thumb to consider when storing produce states that anything whole will last longer than anything cut, and anything cut or peeled should be stored in the refrigerator