Kitchen storage techniques to reduce restaurant food waste

Cooking and serving dishes made with the best possible ingredients is the goal of many kitchens. Creating the most delicious meal that keeps customers coming back and telling family and friends starts in the back of the kitchen–before any cooking or preparation begins.

Food storage techniques for kitchens aren’t just about organization. They’re pivotal to ensuring the safety, quality, and memorability of the final product. Learn more about the best food storage practices by reading the article below.

Temperature & moisture control

In maintaining the freshness and shelf-life of ingredients, temperature plays a crucial role. Most of a restaurant’s food typically gets stored in a walk-in cooler or freezer. The cooler should stay between 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Freezers should remain at a temperature of around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to check the temperature and door seal daily. It’s also worth having a technician come in on a regular basis so they can look into the finer details of your cooler. You don’t want a whole cooler spoiling if it cops out on you unexpectedly. Regular technician visits can help prevent that.

Always store food in a cool, dry, and dark location. Don’t ever store food (especially produce) in direct sunlight. And keep an eye on humidity levels. Humidity should remain below 15%, and food should be stored in moisture-proof containers. Not only does this help protect your inventory, but it prevents spills.

Using the FIFO method

Restaurants should always operate using the FIFO–or “first in, first out”–method. This food rotation and organization principle involves using food first that has been in storage for the longest. It’s simple and somewhat commonsense, but it’s also one of the best ways to reduce food waste. A strict organization method is key in executing this method. It’s also helpful to repurpose certain ingredients and include them in your menu. 

Food & storage labeling

When properly stocking food in a restaurant, labeling is the most important factor in keeping food safe and secure. A label on a food container tells kitchen staff important information, such as how long a product has been in the restaurant, when it was cooked, and when it needs replacing.  

Labels can tell kitchen staff when it’s time to reorder or replace certain items as well. And by including a place for employees to write their names, labels can help other kitchen staff know who to follow up with in case they have questions about a certain food item or ingredient. To find food safety labels that help your kitchen stay organized and efficient, check out NCCO’s variety of solutions. Whether you need labels for prep ingredients, labels you can customize, or labels that tell staff and customers which surfaces have been sanitized, we have you covered.