One of the biggest fears of restaurant owners and managers is running out of food during service. If you run or manage a dining establishment, you want to serve all the diners their orders promptly without compromising on the quality of all the dishes that come out of the kitchen.
Having enough of your important ingredients in stock is crucial in ensuring you never run out of food during service time. Ordering the right amount based on your projections on a regular basis will is a good start. Storing all the ingredients properly is also essential in making sure you preserve their quality and that they are ready for use anytime.
To get the most out of your wholesale food delivery and keep all your ingredients fresh, safe, and ready for prep and cooking, follow the tips below for storing them correctly:
1.Place food items in a dark and dry storage area
Your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer should always be dark and dry since these conditions can maximize the storage time of food products.
Make sure the pantry where you store dry goods are away from direct sunlight. By doing so, you help regulate the temperature which, in turn, will slow down food degradation. In addition, keeping your food in a dark pantry will ensure they retain their vitamin A, D, K, and E content – nutrients that break down when exposed to sunlight.
The ideal humidity level in the pantry should always be lower than 15 percent. This will help preserve the quality of all your food products. Install a hygrometer in your pantry to ensure the ideal humidity level is maintained in this area. Air conditioning and using moisture-proof packaging will also maintain the appropriate temperature levels.
Ensure your fridge and freezers are placed in an area that is not exposed to sunlight as well.
2.Store food in the refrigerator according to cooking temperature
Storing foods that have to be kept frozen or cold properly in the fridge will help preserve their quality and freshness.
Place ready-to-eat and cooked foods on the top shelf of your fridge. Before storing them, wrap them tightly to prevent cross-contamination. Ready-to-eat meats and cheeses should be placed on the shelf below. Place them in containers or keep them tightly wrapped as well.
The three bottom shelves of your refrigerator should hold all raw foods. Put foods such as beef steak cuts that are cooked to 145 degrees Fahrenheit on the third shelf from the top. This also includes raw fish and shellfish.
Store raw pork, veal, and other meat that have a cooking temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit on the next shelf. Put ground meat, eggs, and other items that are cooked at a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit on the remaining shelf.
It is also best to place foods in airtight containers to protect them from drying out and preserve their quality and taste. This will also ensure the food will be free of contaminants from other foods stored in the same refrigerator.
3.Transfer opened food in airtight containers
Once food is exposed to air, it will start to spoil. You can delay this and increase the shelf life of food by transferring the content of opened packages into airtight containers.
Invest in a good number of food storage boxes or containers, ingredients, and food pans with lids that can be tightly sealed. These items will maintain food freshness. They will help keep your kitchen stay organized and clean as well.
4.Label all food products
Before storing your food supplies, write the date of each item’s delivery or purchase. Write this directly on the box or package or write it on a piece of masking tape and tape it on the surface. Include the expiration date in the label as well.
Do the same for all opened food items. Label them with the date they were opened and their respective expiration dates.
5.Follow the “First In, First Out” rule
Labeling all food supplies will ensure you and your staff use the products you got and opened first; this will go a long way in protecting food quality and ensuring food safety.
It is also important to follow the FIFO rule when new food supplies have been purchased or delivered. After labeling them, store the new products behind the older ones. This will ensure the older items are used first before their expiration dates and prevent food wastage.
Lastly, make sure your refrigerator and pantry maintain the right temperatures all the time as well. Always maintain cleanliness in these areas to keep pests and bacteria at bay.
When you own or manage a restaurant, follow the tips above to protect and get the most out of one of your most important business assets: food supplies.
Jad Asaad is the Marketing Manager at Horeca Trade LLC with more than eight years of experience in digital, online and offline marketing. He started his career in Beirut working in a creative agency and then moved to Dubai to further expand his career. He created and implemented award-winning high-impact digital and offline marketing campaigns that consistently generated revenue streams and improved performance in targeted segments.