How to properly store your restaurant food

Correct storage of food in a restaurant environment is crucial to the success of the business. Incidents of food poisoning are serious enough to warrant the closure of a business. Even if the closure is only short-term, it can still be devastating.

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It is essential for restaurant staff to be qualified. As well as taking an approved course, more information about food hygiene standards can be found here (AUTHORITY URL: https://beta.food.gov.uk/).

Let’s look at three different elements of storing food.

1)      Stock rotation
Key to food hygiene is the rotation of your stock. Simply put, operate the ‘first in first out’ system and little can go wrong. In cupboards, new products should be put at the back of the shelf. Use by dates should be clearly displayed. In this way, you will avoid food waste.

2)      Food storage and labelling
Sticky labels can be used if food is decanted into containers. Leftover food will come into this category. Labels should include a use by date. Polycarbonate containers are transparent, showing the contents. They are shatter-proof and airtight, and withstand temperatures between -40˚C and 100˚C.

Polypropylene containers are cheaper but not transparent, and withstand temperatures between -40˚C and 70˚C.

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Stainless steel containers are durable, and suitable for use at high temperatures. They are available with lids.

Preserve jars are suitable for jams, preserves and biscuits; ingredient bins are useful for bulk items such as flour and grains.

3)      Temperature
A thermometer is an essential kitchen item in the restaurant. You will need one in the main kitchen area, as well as in the fridge and freezer. Food is susceptible to food poisoning bacteria growth at above 8˚C. Fridges should be kept between 1˚C and 4˚C, although the legal requirement states below 5˚C. Freezers should be kept at -18˚C. It is also crucial to not crowd your fridge and freezer. There are guidelines on how to stack your fridge, which include storing raw meat at the bottom of the fridge, which is completely different from the norm in the design of the domestic fridge.

It is useful to have a separate fridge for drinks; bottle coolers are an excellent investment and can be purchased from: https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/commercial-bottle-coolers/double-door-under-counter-bottle-coolers.

Don’t ever think hygiene is a minor aspect of your business: it could be the key to its success or failure.