The right type of shelving can improve a kitchen's efficiency, workflow and ability to quickly serve customers.
Foodservice operators can choose from a variety of shelving unit types, including stand-alone stationary, multiple units mounted on track systems and wall-mounted or mobile, such as those configured as utility carts.
High density or active aisle type systems allow multiple shelving to slide left or right on tracks and allow operators to place more shelving in limited spaces due to more flexible configurations. These tracks are bolted to the floor, stabilizing the storage system or held down using the force of gravity.
Most shelves attach to posts with built-in or snap-on wedges that may include corner connectors. These can be easy to assemble, often without the use of tools. In terms of setup, the more complicated the shelving system is to construct the more operators will pay for installation.
Shelving materials include wire in finishes that incorporate zinc and chrome-plated epoxy coating with a zinc substrait, polymer and a hybrid of wire and polymer. There also are composite units and systems made of a steel core encapsulated by a thick polypropylene outer layer.
Lengths for these systems are available in 6-inch increments and range from 18 to 72 inches. Shelf widths are typically between 14 and 36 inches, with composite shelving offered up to 78 inches wide. Stationary unit heights can be anywhere from 24 to 84 inches high.
Foodservice operators can choose from a number of accessories for use with their shelving systems. Units with casters and bumpers are best suited for transporting items. Removable shelf plates or polymer mats for wire units clean more easily in the dishwasher or by hand. Color-coded signage can help prevent cross contamination. Some manufacturers provide removable labels that staff can switch easily as menus and ingredients change. The addition of shelf ledges will help prevent objects from falling off of the unit.
Other shelving options include tray racks, security cages, divider bars for food pans and drying racks.
When to Replace: Shelving