Shelving is necessary in commercial kitchens to maximize storage space, keep inventory off the floor, and organize everything from ingredients to dinnerware. When selecting shelving, it is important to match the shelving to the application.
Shelving in a walk-in cooler, for example, is exposed to water and food acids. It must support moderate to heavy loads while enduring heavy wear and frequent cleaning. Shelving used to store paper goods, in contrast, remains dry and is not exposed to food acids. It does not need to support heavy loads and endures only light wear with infrequent cleaning. Selecting the right shelving for the job will ensure long trouble-free use and may save money.
For commercial kitchens, there are several popular shelving solutions.
- Wire Shelving – Open wire shelving is an industry standard. It is durable, adjustable, and provides for optimal ventilation. Zinc electroplated wire shelving provides good corrosion resistance at a lower price point than traditional alternatives such as chrome or stainless-steel wire shelving. Also available is zinc plated wire shelving coated with non-toxic epoxies, nylon, polyesters, or co-polymers. These provide additional corrosion resistance. Many feature antimicrobial coatings as well.
- Polymer / Metal Reinforced Shelving – This style of shelving features removable polymer overlay mats supported by a metal frame. The mats are solid or louvered and removable for easy cleaning or replacement. Most can be washed in a commercial dish machine. Less costly than all-metal shelving, they are virtually corrosion free. Mats typically feature antimicrobial coatings.
- Polymer / Composite Shelving – All-polymer / composite reinforced shelving is inexpensive and completely corrosion free. Modern technology provides solutions that hold up under extreme conditions, with excellent weight bearing capabilities, and a favorable price point. Some include antimicrobial surfaces.
- Tubular Aluminum – All welded tubular aluminum shelving is great for heavy duty and custom applications.
In addition to these, there is a wide variety of traditional solid, embossed, or louvered steel shelving available. Additionally, there are hybrids that combine one or more of the materials and technologies mentioned above. Most manufacturers offer a great selection of stationary, mobile, wall mounted, and cantilever shelving. Some also offer high density track shelving for applications where floor space is at a premium.