How to organize your restaurant's warehouse
The warehouse is one of the most important spaces in your restaurant. At this time, your restaurant may be dealing with the unprecedented emergency COVID-19 taking over the world, which means you might have extra time to organize your warehouse and inventory your supplies. Read on to learn how to better organize your inventory and control environmental factors, so that your staff can use this space efficiently and effectively.
Apply the rule of first in, first out
Using ingredients before they expire can be one of the biggest challenges for your kitchen, depending on how your warehouse is organized. To make sure your food doesn't spoil before it can be used, try organizing your warehouse according to the first-in-first-out rule. This rule, also known as "FIFO," means that whenever you receive new supplies, you place the new products behind your existing stock to ensure that the oldest items are used first.
When your employees go to the warehouse to pick up ingredients, they will retrieve the old stock because it is easily accessible. As a result, you can reduce food waste in your restaurant. This method of organization can be tedious when storing a new delivery, but it can save you money and time.
Label all your ingredients and supplies
When organizing ingredients in your storage space, treat your warehouse like a supermarket. Create a standardized labeling system for your entire stock, so your employees can find what they're looking for, even in a hurry. To avoid confusion, put all your labels on top or under each product on the shelves. These labels not only help your staff members find things, but they also act as reminders of what your kitchen needs when reordering supplies.
Use restaurant shelves
While it's easy to overlook them as an important feature in your establishment, shelving can be a big help or hinder the functionality of your warehouse. Before equipping your warehouse, make sure you know all the different types of shelves restaurants that are available to you.
Organize your supplies by category
Also consider placing valuable equipment and ingredients in a locked cabinet or separate warehouse that only certain employees can access. This is particularly useful with bar supplies. You can help prevent theft by storing your liquor, mixes, and trimmings behind a locked door or security shelf rather than under your open bar.
Find the best design for your warehouse
While grouping your supplies by category is a great way to organize yourself, it's also important to consider the overall layout of your space to optimize flow and ease of access. For example, making your shelves accessible from both the front and the back can help when it's time to load new stock into the FIFO system. Likewise, heavy equipment and ingredients that are used frequently should not be stored in the back of your space. Before setting up your warehouse, think about what your kitchen staff will retrieve most often and prioritize the positions of those items in your layout.
Consider placing your most-used supplies at the front of your warehouse. If your restaurant offers take-out meals, place your take-out containers near the door, so you can always be prepared to pack your customers' food.
Make a map of your warehouse
Once you have found the best layout for your warehouse, draw a map and post it where everyone can access it, such as the door. This can be particularly useful if you have a large storage space. When an employee wants to get in and out quickly, they can consult the map before searching the shelves. New hires will appreciate this guide too, as it might save them the trouble of asking another staff member where an item is when they have trouble finding it.
Train your employees
Because your warehouse is a space that many, if not all, of your employees will use, it is imperative that you walk all new hires around the area. Consider training some of your employees to receive deliveries. Making sure all your staff know where to put new stock can save you trouble if a delivery arrives when you can't be at the restaurant.
Control the temperature, light and humidity in your warehouse
Temperature, light and humidity are three of the main factors to prevent food from spoiling in your warehouse. Here's how these conditions can affect your supplies and how you can control them in your storage space.
The ideal temperature for a warehouse containing dry goods is between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The hotter your space, the faster your food, especially canned goods, can spoil. It is beneficial to keep a thermometer in your warehouse, so that you can always control the temperature and prevent it from spoiling.
Light and Shade
Not only does light affect temperature, it can also oxidize food. Oxidation greatly affects fats and pigments. When fat is oxidized, the nutritional value of the food degrades and the food eventually turns rancid. When pigment oxidizes, food can lose its natural color and appear discolored or gray. This can ruin the appearance of your food and can cause customers to be upset with your food. As a result, it is better to keep your warehouse dark. Ideally, food storage rooms should be window-free and have artificial lights that are only on when an employee is present in the room.
Moisture can create environments where mold and bacteria flourish. Since both can be harmful to your ingredients and supplies, it's best to keep your warehouse humidity levels in check. In some cases, moisture can even cause your shelves to rust and damage the food on them. Use a dehumidification system if your warehouse has excess humidity, and be sure to empty and clean your dehumidifier regularly.
Because many restaurants are closed at the moment due to the coronavirus, one task that can be done without interruption is to organize and disinfect your restaurant warehouse. Remember to clearly label all your supplies, prioritize the locations of frequently used items, control environmental conditions and use the oldest stocks first . When you find the best layout for your warehouse, staying clean and organized can help your restaurant save time and money.