If you have a restaurant, catering company, market, or any other type of small business that requires dealing or working with food, you will know just how important it is to have an efficient and proper system in place for organizing ingredients and other stocked items. If you don’t have this, or if there is a lack of communication with the workers in your place of business, this can lead to stock expiring, food going bad if it is not properly refrigerated, and even items being refrigerated that should not be.
All of this can cost you when it comes to time, money, and even energy. Let’s take a look at this situation a bit more closely.
Now, we all know that commercial freezers come in all different sizes and even shapes. They are primarily used to freeze or keep cool cooked and or raw foods for inventory preservation and daily production. You can get them in all sorts of styles including chest and walk in freezers. These come in a variety of sizes and can be placed inside or outside of a building and they may even have condensers that are remote.
It is important that you keep them organized so that you know what is where and which foods should be cooked first as well as the expiration dates on the foods. Having the proper organization can assist you in maintaining both safety and efficiency as well as helping you to decrease the amount of food that is wasted. Also, organization will allow for the proper circulation of air. You need to make sure that you don’t have any boxes, containers, or packages blocking the circulation fans. There should also be a minimum of 3 inches between containers and between the containers and the walls of the freezer to allow for air circulation. Proper organization can also improve efficiency and what business can do without improved efficiency?
When it comes to your inventory of food, FIFO – first in, first out – can be a phrase to live by. Put all of your new stock to the back and make sure that your older stock is in the front. Keeping things organized this way helps to reduce wasted food since these items will get used before the newer stock. It is also a fantastic idea to make sure that everything is labeled and easy to read with the relevant dates, like the use by dates, so that your employees will be able to clearly see what needs to be used first.
Another useful idea is to label the shelves so that you will be able to tell when something has been put in the wrong place or if you happen to be out of stock on something. By labeling the shelves, your new employees will be able to familiarize themselves with the inventory and organizational plan much more easily.
Sanitation and Food Safety
Keeping raw and ready to eat food separate in your freezer is critical to minimizing any sort of cross contamination. Additionally, raw meat should always be stored on lower shelves so that it won’t drip onto other food items. Make sure to store delicate and fragile items farther away from the cooling fans too, so as to avoid freezer burn.
It is always a good idea to keep containers of food off the floor. This assists with circulation while also eliminating the risk of any sort of pests being able to snack on inventory. Having food on the floor can also be a sanitary concern, because of the risk of them coming into contact with cleaning products.
Finally, maintaining proper organization in your cooler can assist you in avoiding issues with the health inspectors while it also saves you money from wasted food and higher energy bills.
Don’t skimp when it comes to making sure that your cooling equipment is maintained properly. This is another way to be more energy efficient. Maintenance on these things should be done on a quarterly basis. Every year, you should schedule maintenance with one of the qualified service HVAC providers in your area so that they can come out and lubricate the fans, clean and inspect the exchangers and evaporators, and check or even replace belts when needed. They can also check for any leaks with the compressor and the refrigeration lines. Gaskets need to remain tight and doors need to be able to properly close.