Restaurant Food Storage | 3 mins read

How to Store Food in Your Restaurant

how to store food in your restaurant
Dakota Sheetz

By Dakota Sheetz

1. Restaurant Storage and Storage at Home

Food industry professionals can implement and maintain a restaurant food storage system to increase overall business efficiency and bottom-line profitability while decreasing food wastefulness and foodborne illness transmission. Both food industry workers and individual consumers can use proper storage techniques to provide the highest quality and safest food products possible.

There are many benefits of proper food storage, both at home and in the restaurant world, including-

  • Optimal food shelf life
  • Control of temperature and avoidance of the danger zone
  • Improved food safety
  • Less food waste
  • Decreased food outbreaks and foodborne illness transmission
  • Avoidance of overstocking
  • A more efficient and organized storage system
  • Prevention of biological (eg. bacteria), chemical (eg. concentrated chemicals), physical (eg. wood splitters) contamination

2. Proper Placement

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Refrigerated food products require careful placement to ensure the highest quality and safest food possible. Ideally, various food groups would have separate food storage containers. However, if your home or restaurant is not able to accommodate separate storage containers, employ a food hierarchy to the best of your ability to avoid cross-contamination

The proper refrigerator hierarchy for food safety is as follows-

  • Top shelves- Ready to eat (RTE) cut or prepared foods that will not be cooked
  • Middle shelves- Fruits and vegetables that have not been cut or prepared
  • Bottom shelves- Raw meats, poultry, and fish. If cross-contamination occurs, these foods possess the highest amount of bacteria and are potentially the most harmful if improperly stored
  • Shellfish Exception- Due to the severity of allergic reactions, be sure to store shellfish separately from all other products
  • Consistent maintenance of the above-designated sections for food storage to avoid bacteria growth between different food types.
Some foods have particular sets of storage rules, for example, eggs and meat. Proper storage of these products is an important consideration for both domestic and restaurant storage systems. Below are tips on storing eggs as efficiently and safely as possible-

Keep eggs in their original carton to-
  • Protect them from damage
  • Prevent absorption of strong odors in your refrigerator
  • Prevent absorption of strong flavors of other foods in your refrigerator
  • Easily reference their best before date
  • Properly position egg to help keep the yolk centered
Proper placement considerations-
  • Place the carton in the main body of the refrigerator for a consistent, cold temperature. Do not store carton on the fridge door
  • Put leftover raw egg whites and yolks in airtight a storage box and refrigerate securely-cover leftovers as soon as possible. Ensure the storage container lid is secured for all food storage containers
  • Cover yolks with a little cold water to prevent them from drying out, remembering to drain any collected water before using egg leftovers
  • Ignore the sulfur smell from storing hard-boiled eggs, it is harmless and usually disperses within a few hours with no corrective action needed
Below are some storage tips for meat-
Proper storage of meat is an essential part of a domestic and restaurant storage system. Below are tips on storing meat as efficiently and safely as possible-

  • Wrap it- Raw meat contaminates anything comes into contact with so it must be handled with extreme care. Prevent cross-contamination by correctly wrapping and storing meat in secure food storage containers. Securely wrap meat in cellophane to prevent juice leakage and never leave raw meat open in your refrigerator
  • Mark it- Clearly label contents of storage containers, including important dates
  • Freeze it- If meat and poultry in its original package longer than 2 months, cover with heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap on freezer paper, or inside a freezer bag before placing in the refrigerator

3. Refrigeration Tips

Refrigerated food products necessitate closely monitored temperature control and other consideration.

Refrigeration tips include-

  • Storage at or below 39 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum shelf life
  • Installation of refrigerator thermometers. Remind employees to be mindful of how long they leave fridge doors open to avoid the danger zone
  • Regular cleaning and organization- shallow, well-ventilated shelves discourage mold and bacteria growth and maintaining that all ever storage container lid is sealed and airtight
  • Implementation of the FIFO (first-in, first-out) friendly system