How you pack the refrigerator at your commercial facility will inevitably have a huge impact on both your productivity and profitability on a day-to-day basis. The following are five big mistakes to avoid that could be making your refrigerator less organized and detracting from your company's potential:
Neglecting to put labels on your items
Labeling is of vital importance when you're trying to maximize the efficiency of any type of food service operation. If you're refrigerating food items, those items are most likely perishable. You need to label items not only to describe what they are, but also to indicate how long they will keep in your refrigerator.
For the highest possible level of organization, you should label both individual items and entire shelves. Group similar items together and label shelves accordingly so new employees can find items as quickly as possible.
Putting food down on the floor of your refrigerator
It's always a bad idea to store items on your refrigerator floor. This can lead to excessive moisture and contaminants seeping into your food. It can also make it more difficult to move around in a walk-in refrigerator and pinpoint particular items.
Placing meats that you're storing on shelves above other food items
Meats stored up high can lead to cross contamination issues because they can drip down onto other foods stored below. This is especially true if you're storing marinaded meat. Always store your meats on the lowest possible shelves and avoid storing anything below.
Placing fragile food items near your unit's fans
Certain areas of a commercial fridge are better for fragile or highly sensitive items than others. Items like produce are very susceptible to fluctuations in temperature, humidity, and air flow.
It's important to keep fragile items away from your refrigerator unit's fan because they may go bad more quickly than they should.
Not instituting a strict FIFO policy
One of the most important aspects of the organizational regime of a commercial refrigerator is FIFO, or "first in, first out."
You want to use up older food items before you use up newer food items, so always put new items to the back and keep the oldest items to the front to make them more accessible.
Packing items tightly right up against one another
In a commercial refrigerator, it's always good to leave some space between items where possible. This doesn't just prevent cross contamination. It also makes it easier to maintain your organization and allows for more effective air circulation within your refrigerator.