Proper organization of your walk-in cooler or freezer can help you maintain efficiency and safety as well as decrease food waste.
Follow these tips to help you organize your cooler and keep it tidy so that accessing the food your employees need is simple and easy.
ORGANIZATION ALLOWS FOR PROPER CIRCULATION
When organizing commercial walk-in coolers, make sure that there are no packages, containers, or boxes blocking circulation fans. In addition, there should be at least 3 inches between each container as well as adequate space between each container and the wall to allow proper circulation to flow around the cooler. Proper circulation means better cooling of your products with hot spots less likely. Good circulation leads to lower utility bills.
Make sure you don’t stack food containers all the way up to the ceiling – this will also allow for good circulation. In addition, overloading shelves with too much inventory can overwork the cooling mechanisms in your walk-in. This causes increased energy bills.
ORGANIZATION REDUCES WASTED STOCK
When it comes to inventory, “first in, first out” are words to live by. Place new stock in the back and keep old stock in the front. Keeping older stock in the front helps reduce food waste since these items are getting used before newer stock. Make sure to label all items in large text with any relevant dates, such as the use by date, so employees can clearly see which items need to be used soonest.
The practice of labeling shelves is also helpful as it allows you to see when something has been placed in the wrong area or is completely out of stock. Labeling shelves also helps new employees become familiar with your business’ inventory and your cooler’s organization plan.
ORGANIZATION MAINTAINS FOOD SAFETY AND SANITATION
Keeping ready-to-eat food and raw food separate in your walk-in cooler is essential to minimizing cross contamination. In addition, raw meat should stay on lower shelves to avoid drip down onto other items.
Understanding the different areas of a walk-in cooler can help you decide where to place certain types of food. Walk-ins are often cooler in the rear of the unit and warmer by the door, where warm air is able to occasionally enter. When storing more perishable items in walk-in coolers for meat and dairy products, should stay in the back of the cooler while produce can remain by the door. Keep fragile and delicate food items away from cooler fans. Storing foods close to fans can cause freezer burn.
Keep food containers off the floor. Not only does this help with circulation but it also assists in eliminating the risk of pests snacking on your inventory. Food on the floor can also cause a sanitation concern, as cleaning products are more likely to come in contact with them there.
The last thing a business owner wants to deal with is health code violations and the fines that come along with them. Cooler organization can help you avoid problems with health inspectors while also saving money that food waste and high utility bills can deplete.