Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JAN 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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58 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • JANUARY 2018 functional by design Dry and Refrigerated Storage I n many foodservice facilities, when it comes to space allotment, storage often gets the leftovers. Dining and food production areas — the revenue generators — are the priorities, and storage can seem like it simply eats into square footage that could otherwise be directed there. But a lack of sufficient, efficient and well-planned dry and re- frigerated storage can lead to chaotic conditions in the back of the house, impacting everything from safety and hygiene to labor and purchasing. These areas require smart planning, and the right design and equipment choices can enhance these spaces, even when small. "If you don't have a facility that will support your menu and enable you to present a consistent, quality product in a reasonable amount of time, customers may try you once, but they're not going to come back. Especially with the labor situation all operators face, it's critical to have a physical plant that takes a lot of the responsibility away from the individual worker," says Jerry Weinberg, C.E.C., a veteran design, operations and equipment consultant at Fayetteville, N.C.-based Thompson & Little Inc. "Certainly that applies to food production, but also to storage. Employees need to be able to access products in a timely, safe and efficient man- ner. If that's provided for, the restaurant will flow well, and the operator will be better equipped for success." Weinberg takes a collaborative approach to designing storage areas, starting with the operator and/or chef and, depending on the nature of the project, bringing in the architect and engineer as well as the building and health departments. And, he adds, it's all based on three critical drivers: form, flow and function. To that end, the evaluation of the menu and product mix, operating hours, and number of seats represent the first step in designing storage areas, Weinberg says. Together, those numbers provide an estimate of the maximum potential volume that storage areas will need to support. With takeout and delivery growing fast, the need for careful assessment of the potential volume of off-site business also continues to grow when considering storage needs. The foodservice operation will require additional food product beyond what the number of physical seats might indicate, of course, but takeout packaging is bulky and can consume significant dry storage real estate. Go with the (Product) Flow From there, storage design planning begins at the back door. The flow of incoming product to finished product ready for service should drive the configuration of this space as much as possible. "When we design kitchens, we always design from the back forward within the designated footprint," says Jim Richards Jr., partner at PES Design Group in Sarasota, Fla. "We plan it out in terms of how product will need to flow from receiving into storage, prep, production and service. The location of storage needs to be such that it's easily acces- sible from the receiving door but also from where the cooks need to access products." Weinberg adds that configuring storage areas close to the receiving door makes it convenient for staff to check in product and also eliminates the need for vendor personnel to pass through the back of the house. "You always want to avoid unnecessary traffic in the kitchen," he says. "It's important for safety and sanitation, but it also minimizes opportunities for theft." An efficient, well-designed storage area prevents back-of-the-house chaos. By Dana Tanyeri STORAGE SPACE PLANNING: WHAT TO CONSIDER ● Menu style and product mix ● Number of seats ● Maximum anticipated daily volume ● Percentage of takeout and delivery expected ● Desired frequency of deliveries

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