Refined and whole grains are important ingredients in the majority of dishes. That’s why every restaurant pantry consists of different flours and grains. A lot of establishments choose to invest in larger storage in order to benefit from the lower prices of buying bulk grains. If you’re considering finding wholesale suppliers for your venue’s grain products, this blog article will answer some of your questions about grain storage.
How Restaurants Store Grains
Most types of grains have the same storage requirements. They should be kept in a cool and dry place. Let’s dive into the most popular grain storage ways.
Their role is the same as the air-tight containers used at home to store oats. However, their size is significantly larger. Some of them can be more than 100 gallons. They can be made out of plastic or metal, depending on the types of products that are stored inside.
Pantry or Other Dry Grain Storage Area
Some grains are stored in large grain bags or sacks. They can either be put on shelves, cabinets, or even in separate storage rooms. If the grains are not in air-tight containers, they shouldn’t be kept together with other products or sources of moisture.
Large dispensers can be used for grain storage in restaurants that need quick access to these ingredients. A good example of that is breakfast restaurants. Additionally, smaller dispensers can be used for venues that offer a breakfast buffet. Fans of whole-grain breakfast options are guaranteed to enjoy them.
Refrigerators and Freezers
Quinoa is a good example of an ingredient that can be stored raw in a fridge and lasts there for years. A freezer or a fridge can be an excellent grain storage solution for a variety of grains. It’s recommended that you still keep them in an air-tight container and label them with the date of freezing.
Key takeaway: Restaurants should keep their pantries properly maintained and stored. They should be cool in temperature and with low humidity. Various technology solutions can help a restaurant keep track of all pantry items and their expiration dates.
Requirements for a Restaurant Pantry
In order to guarantee the optimal workflow in the kitchen and the long shelf life of products, grain storage and pantries should be constructed following some of the good practices:
- Temperature and humidity. Many items stored in a pantry are sensitive to temperature and humidity. That’s why the area needs to be properly ventilated, with cool and constant temperature, and with humidity controls.
- Lighting is important. In a restaurant’s kitchen, time is a huge factor. That’s why the time spent in finding ingredients can be the difference between a bad and a good customer experience. Make sure the lights in the pantry are bright enough.
- Labeling is key. Labels of pantry items should include not only the name of the product inside but also the expiration date.
- Location and size matter. The pantry should be near the kitchen for efficient workflow and easy access. Additionally, its size should be corresponding with the size of the venue. Larger restaurants require bigger pantries.
- Plan the shelving. The storage units in the pantry should be stackable. Additionally, the shelves should provide easy access to the ingredients. Consider the weight of the items - if the pantry is full, the shelving should be sturdy enough to support the weight of all items.
How to Maintain a Restaurant Pantry and Grain Storage
Store Similar Items Together
Grains should be stored closely with other grains. That way, the staff will have an easier time finding the needed products. Additionally, this increases the safety as it reduces the risk of cross-contamination.
Perform Regular Temperature Checks
Ideally, the temperature in the pantry should be checked daily. Items that need to be kept in a fridge should be stored at temperatures below 40°F.
Incorporate the FIFO Method
The first-in-first-out method (commonly referred to as the FIFO method) is the preferred restaurant inventory management method. Thanks to it, products are rotated consistently and there are no old products that expire while new ones are used in the restaurant. This helps maximize profits and reduce the waste of your restaurant. Additionally, the FIFO method lowers the risk of health hazards for your customers which can be disastrous for your brand reputation.
It’s recommended to have modern restaurant technology solutions to help you track the purchase and expiration dates of every product in the pantry. Softwares such as BlueCart are ideal for this and they also offer many additional features. BinWise is also a good solution for tracking bar inventories.
Regular Moist and Pest Inspections
A restaurant manager should find a B2B pest management company to schedule professional inspections in the venue and around it. This is especially important for restaurants close to rivers and other large water bodies. If you notice droppings, webs, dead cockroaches, or other signs of pests, take immediate action.
Regular checks for moisture should be done as well. Look for mold in the corners of the pantry and on the walls. Make sure to store food at least 6 inches above to protect it from any moisture or dirt.
Thorough Cleaning and Wiping
The pantry should be sanitized at least twice a week. This means wiping down all shelves and walls. Additionally, to prevent the spread of germs, ensure the daily cleaning of the floors.
Other Regular Checks
Incorporate regular grain storage checks in your business processes. They should be on the quiet days when your staff is not overwhelmed with orders. These checks should include an inspection of the expiration dates and an examination of the proper labeling. Furthermore, any clutter and items that don’t belong in the pantry should be removed accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Restaurant Pantry
A business owner from the restaurant industry will tell you that the kitchen and the pantry are the heart of every restaurant. Let’s dive a little deeper into some of the frequently asked questions regarding a restaurant’s pantry.
What Does Pantry Mean?
The word derives from the Old French “paneterie”. This is where the modern French word for bread comes from - “pain”. In medieval times, storing food was essential in order to survive during the winter months. That’s why families had multiple storage rooms in their houses. A larder was used to store meat, a buttery was used to store alcohol and drinks, and a pantry was used to store bread and grains.
What’s the Difference between a Pantry and a Larder?
Traditionally, pantries were used to store bread, and larders were used to store raw meat and dairy products. Nowadays, the two terms are used interchangeably.
What Grain Storage Solutions Do Other Businesses Use?
Businesses that sell bulk grains usually store them in large grain silos. They can store hundreds of tons of grains. Silos are not very common in areas with high-humidity weather. Another solution for grain storage is silage bags. Wholesale grain vendors and farmers can use them to store their produce. These bags are huge. They can be up to 500 feet long and are kept either in storage areas or directly on fields.