An organized restaurant storeroom can improve efficiency, reduce waste and make restocking a smooth process. For best results, educate all staffers about storeroom configuration and set-up to ensure familiarity and improve ease of use.
Use an Organizational Chart
Designate areas, shelves and bins to specific products and clearly label the areas so they’re easy to identify. Think of a grocery store aisle that lists the main food categories on overhead signs. Create a written diagram that can be laminated and placed on the storeroom door as well as printed and given to new restaurant hires to orient them with your establishment.
Organize by Category
Most restaurant storerooms house dry goods, non-perishables and items with long shelf lives, like canned goods. Bar supplies are kept under lock and key. Store items by category, including spices and condiments, baking, grill, paper goods, cleaning supplies, hostess stand, table and linens. Label everything and store all items with labels facing forward for easy identification.
Put Dated Items in Front
When restocking the storeroom, place new items behind older ones, especially if they have expiration dates. This is especially vital with refrigerated storerooms or cold storage coolers, which should be organized by category as well, such as dairy, meat, eggs and vegetables. Perishables should always have clearly marked expiration dates to guard against spoilage and waste.
Grab and Go
Some restaurant items are used more regularly than others, so designate a separate section toward the front of the storeroom where you keep a variety of high-use products. This could include napkins, condiments, go-boxes, receipt books, disposable gloves and cash register tape. Check and restock this section at the start of every shift to ensure wait staff members have what they need to quickly turn tables and provide a good customer experience for diners.
Maintain Healthy Storage
Keep foodstuffs away from potentially toxic non-food items in storage. For example, even if you use toilet cleaner and ketchup on a daily basis, keep them separate from each other. Your local health department may have specific guidelines you’re expected to follow in terms of food storage to remain compliant with health codes and regulations.
While it may be efficient to store liquor and bar supplies with your other restaurant supplies, you may find it easier to track your inventory and protect against theft if you maintain a separate area. This might include a locked section of the storeroom or a storage cabinet in your bar. Limit access to bar supplies, which should be categorized according to brand soft drinks, liquor type, import and domestic beers, mixers and garnishes.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.