Organisation is second nature for some of us, while for some of us it takes time, effort and a whole lot of perseverance.
It’s well known that keeping yourself and the environment around you has its benefits, especially in the workplace, such as increased productivity, decreased stress levels and heightened efficiency.
This is no different when it comes to organising your modular cold room.
Why You Should Organise Your Walk In Cold Room
If you’re running a busy food business, you need to coordinate staff, ensure food quality, provide efficient service and look after your customers among a never ending list of other duties. Organising a cold room might be at the bottom of your priority list, but it’s actually more important than you realise.
Before we get onto the HOW, here are just some of the reasons WHY you should keep your modular cold room organised:
Food Safety First
The single most important aspect of running a food business is food safety, and with unorganised and messy cold storage, this is compromised. Refrigeration functionality can be impacted and circulation won’t be sufficient, so your food could become unfit for consumption without you even realising. Aside from ensuring food safety for customers, thorough circulation can also help your business’ finances and convenience by prolonging the shelf life of your produce.
Oh So Satisfying
Let’s face it, even if it’s taken every inch of our motivation to find the energy to organise something in our lives, the end result is oh so satisfying, and the same goes for organising a modular cold room or freezer. While the initial task might seem daunting, especially if you’ve let your standards slip, the final reveal will give you uncapped levels of satisfaction. So, do it for the pleasure and contentment – if not for the safety of your entire stock.
Imagine this, it’s your busiest shift, all is going well and then your stock at kitchen level runs out. You receive five burger orders all at once but there you can’t see any burger patties in your commercial kitchen; to the cold room it is.
You’re scrambling around the fridge looking for the stock, but old boxes are blocking shelf access, food is not in date order, the burgers aren’t where they are meant to be and you can feel the pressure mounting as your customers become agitated awaiting their meals. A tidy, organised modular cold room can completely eradicate this problem.
Stock takes and food rotation monitoring are two of the jobs we enjoy the least as food business owners, but staying on top of your organisation game means both of these jobs can end up quick and easy tasks that require no time at all.
Tips for Organising Your Cold Room
Looking after a cold room is generally low maintenance, as long as you stay on top of the cleaning and sanitising as you go, you’re not really required to do much else. However, organising your cold room to make the most of the space and keep your produce fresh takes some more consideration.
Here’s some of our best tips for maximising space and enhancing stock shelf-life in a modular cold room:
General Cold Room Planning
Label Your Shelves and Food
It might seem fairly obvious, but as soon as produce enters your modular fridge or freezer room, you should date it and label it with any preparation dates and expiry dates, too. This will make the process of ordering stock much quicker and it will help to reduce any food waste in the restaurant.
Labelling your shelves helps staff to find items easily, which is beneficial in rushed periods, but it also encourages staff to put the items back where they found them at the end of a shift, which helps with the long term maintenance of an organised cold room.
Group Similar Food Categories Nearby
Another hack that will make your life so much easier when it comes to finding foods or produce in a rush is organising food categories together. The most logical method of categorising your food is entirely up to you and dependent on the foods that you serve. For example, grouping fruit and vegetables together, storing all meats nearby or having a dedicated shelf for desserts will help to keep operations swift.
Never Overstock your Cold Room
One of the biggest contributors to a chaotic modular cold room is overstocking. Overcrowding of stock means it’s easier for boxes to be strewed across the room, produce becomes harder to find, and if you have a particularly small cold room, it also becomes difficult to navigate around. On top of this, jam-packed cold storage won’t work effectively and it will impact airflow and compromise the power of the refrigeration unit; potentially ruining your stock!
Accessories to Make Life Easier
Always check with your supplier to see if they include accessories or added extras in the cost of renting a cold room. If you do decide to buy your own fittings, stainless steel shelving is a must. Cold room shelving units will single handedly have the biggest impact on the organisation of your modular cold room. Other accessories that will just help to make your life a little bit easier are cold room LED lights and strip curtains.
Cold Storage Food Organisation
Implement FIFO Rotation
The FIFO rule (first in-first out) is a favourite in the world of commercial kitchens and food business, but although we’ve all heard of it, it’s important to make sure it’s properly followed. FIFO does what it says on the tin, the food that goes in first, must be the first to come out – this is where your labelling comes in handy. Using produce in this order helps to minimise food waste and prevent over-ordering.
Mind the Gap
You should keep food 3 to 6 inches away from the walls and insulation panels of the walk-in refrigeration unit. This will encourage airflow, maintain a consistent temperature and help to avoid “hot spots” in the fridge that ultimately spoil your food. You should also apply the same rule to walk-in freezers.
Store Fish, Meat and Poultry at Ground Level
Store all meat products on the lowest shelf (still 6 inches off the floor) to prevent cross-contamination. If your meat products begin to thaw or marinade leaks onto the product below, you’re in trouble – so store meats on the bottom shelf to avoid disaster.
Warm Produce is a No-No
For similar reasons for having to store food 6 inches away from surfaces and the ground, you should never store warm produce in a walk-in freezer or cold room. This will ultimately impact the temperature range of your cold storage and could end up in lots of spoiled or non-consumable food if the fridge can’t keep produce chilled enough.
Regularly Monitor Temperature Controlled Units
If you’re in a modular freezer and cold room combined and you have the ability to switch temperature ranges between chilled and freezing, it’s easy enough to monitor the temperature at the start and end of every shift. It’s only a small task and it’s worth every extra second if it means you don’t have to dispose of a whole stock load that has perished in the incorrect temperature… the stuff of a business owner’s nightmares!
The temperature controller of Dephna’s commercial cold rooms allows you to choose three conditions:
- Ambient – Store at room temperature; between 15°C and 25°C
- Fridge – Store between 2°C and 8°C
- Freezer – Store below -15°C
If you are looking for a hygienic and reliable modular cold room in London, we offer adaptable spaces with 24-hour access and complete flexibility to suit your food operations. Our range of modular cold rooms is also on the same sites as our catering kitchen spaces and delivery kitchen rentals for extra convenience for our clients. To start exploring your options, enquire now and book your visit.
Keen to stay up-to-date with some of our hacks, tips and food industry news? Check out the latest in our Kitchen Talk.