A modern, professional kitchen is a hotbed of activity and potential chaos. With so many cooks in the kitchen, it is possible that kitchen items will be misplaced, things will get cluttered, and ingredients wasted. Without good planning, the overall functionality of your space could fall apart. One culprit of this problem may be the layout and design of your kitchen, but the real issue is likely disorganization and not using the available space to its full potential.
If you are looking for ways to maximize the storage space in your commercial kitchen and discover how to create better organization for your kitchen staff, a Kitchen Spot Expert is here to help.
Shelving units tend to be the bread and butter of kitchen organization because they can hold almost anything. From pots and pans to pantry items to vegetables in the walk-in fridge, shelves are a home for them all. Additionally, shelves come in a variety of options to perfectly fit your needs.
Some areas in a professional kitchen can’t accommodate a full shelving unit, which is where one or two individual shelves come in. You could add a small shelf above your cooking area to hold commonly-used spices or to keep the most-used utensils close at hand.
If you are taking over an existing kitchen space, it is likely that there will already be fixed shelving units somewhere in the kitchen. Shelves are a staple in the modern, professional kitchen. Such fixtures are found in walk-in fridges or in “pantry” areas to hold vital food and ingredients. Fixed shelves can be either built-in or bolted down to the area they are in, and there are usually multiple units next to each other to form longer shelves.
Sometimes you find that a certain area in your kitchen isn’t working because the organization isn’t ideal. Maybe you have pots and pans just shoved in some far corner, making them harder to get to when your cooks really need them. Perhaps you keep losing your favorite utensil because it gets wedged at the back of a drawer every day. A stand-alone shelving unit can solve these problems by creating additional space and organization so that all of these items can have a spot where they are easily accessible.
What to Look For
The most important thing to look for when choosing a shelving unit is the ease of adjustment for each shelf to easily accommodate all of the food, ingredients, and equipment that you need to run your kitchen as smoothly as possible. Additionally, you can choose to have wire shelves that create more airflow in the space, important for food freshness, or solid shelves that tend to be sturdier. You have the ability to choose which style will best suit your kitchen style and functionality needs.
While racks can be similar to shelves, they perform different functions. Typically, racks are used more for small storage and organization but can also be used for holding food when needed. Perhaps the most popular uses for racks tend to come in the form of spice racks and wine holders. Racks are a must-have item in professional kitchens because they make organizing smaller items that much easier.
Find the right racks for your kitchen space and look forward to making your kitchen more efficient and organized.
Vertical racks are a popular choice because they take up less space in the kitchen, especially if they are a countertop rack. You can use these racks to keep pans in order, organize pot lids, keep your cutting boards together, and more.
Horizontal racks can be used in exactly the same ways as vertical racks and can store and organize all of the same kitchen items. However, horizontal racks tend to take up more space, since the entire rack has to sit on the counter instead of just the base like with vertical racks.
Depending on the types of food you are making and serving, tall, moveable racks might be a great addition to your professional kitchen. For example, if you bake fresh bread for your customers, these racks are perfect for letting the bread rise or rest after baking. You can also use a movable rack for pizzas or pre-baked desserts that just need a finishing touch.
If you are adding moveable racks to your kitchen equipment, you should also consider purchasing a rack cover. These easy-to-use covers help protect prepared foods from being touched or contaminated in a busy professional kitchen. Most covers have a clear panel that allows you to easily see which foods are on the racks and how much space is left for other items.
While countertops and prep tables can take up a lot of space in your restaurant kitchen, there’s no need to sacrifice storage space for necessary equipment. Typically, commercial kitchen counters don’t have enclosed cupboards underneath them. So, to make the best use of that empty space, invest in under-table storage. Some options for this could be drawers or shelves that sit snugly under the counter or table to hold utensils or other prep items and keep them within easy reach.
Additionally, there are smaller ice machines that can easily fit in these areas so you don’t have to waste larger, more functional space on a freestanding unit.
Depending on the type of food you serve, you may have some additional specialty appliances that aren’t always found in every professional kitchen. Since these appliances aren’t standard, you may not have dedicated spaces for them to live. To keep everything organized with these additional items, consider storing them on your shelving units when they are not in use. This way they don’t take up essential real estate on your counters but are still easily accessible when you need them.
So you have your shelves and racks, but what happens next? Organizing a professional restaurant kitchen isn’t as simple as just putting everything on the shelves and hoping for the best. There are many additional items that can be purchased to enhance the organization and functionality of your kitchen, including storage bins, can rolls, and more.
Imagine heading into your walk-in fridge and seeing fruits and vegetables all over the floor because they rolled off the shelves. Prevent this from happening by purchasing bins for storage in your kitchen. In the case of your fridge or freezer, clear plastic bins are ideal for grouping like items together while still being able to see everything that you have. On shelves or rack in the rest of your kitchen, black or gray bins are common and can be used for everything from pots and pans to smaller kitchen utensils. By grouping like items together, it helps keep your kitchen more organized and running smoothly when everything has its own place.
As every food handler knows, canned food has an expiration date. So when you are buying canned items and adding them to your pantry, follow the first in, first out rule. This means that the cans you added last month should be used before the ones you added this month. To help with this, and keep the same foods together, consider a can roller.
These devices allow you to put your new cans in the back and as you pull a can from the front, everything will roll down so that you are reaching for the can that needs to be used next. Additionally, these can rollers help you to easily see how much of something you have so that you don’t restock something you already have.
Even with shelves, racks, and storage bins, kitchens can easily become disorganized. To prevent this, get labels. Whether you choose to use a label maker or make your own, labeling where everything goes ensures that you always know where to go for what you are looking for and where to put it back when you are done with it. This also helps everyone else in the kitchen know where everything goes so that it is easier to keep things organized and more functional.
Having your own professional kitchen means you can think outside the box and find storage solutions that truly work for you and your kitchen staff. Here are some extra things to consider when you are planning how to maximize storage space in your commercial kitchen.
Empty overhead space tends to be wasted space. Most commercial kitchens place everything at waist or eye level to keep things more ergonomic. However, for items that don’t need to be consistently used, consider moving them up. Empty spaces above fridges or other cabinets are perfect places to add additional shelves or other storage solutions.
In smaller kitchens, stationary storage units can hinder the flow of the space and ultimately get in the way during the mad rush of a professional kitchen. To help solve this problem, get moveable storage solutions. Shelves or carts with wheels can quickly be pulled to where they are needed and then moved back to be out of the way.
Be Clean and Tidy
The best way to keep your professional kitchen truly organized is to keep everything clean and tidy. As mentioned above, labels assign a place for everything and can help keep things tidy since everyone will know where things go and can easily put it back where it goes.
Professional kitchens also have to maintain certain health and cleanliness standards, so having a cleaning chart in place keeps the space clean, making it easier to maintain the flow and functionality of your kitchen.
To ensure that your employees are doing their part to keep the kitchen organized, lead by example and do your part to maintain the cleanliness and order of the space as well. When all parties agree to accept the responsibilities of keeping things organized, the kitchen stays cleaner, runs smoother, and functions efficiently.
Ready to Maximize Your Kitchen Space?
Organizing a professional kitchen doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow the simple steps above and invest in quality storage solutions to ensure that everything has a place. Whether you know what products you need to complete your storage solutions or need help figuring out where to start, a Kitchen Spot Expert is here to help.