Receiving Area and Storage Equipment
The Receiving Area
Now that you know why a commercial kitchen is designed the way it is, you are ready to examine how food flows through a commercial kitchen. All products in the food flow begin with the receiving area. After they are received, they are stored.
Receiving involves more than just getting in an order of food or supplies. Receiving means checking that the food and supplies that were ordered were received in the right quantity, or amount, at the right price. Foodservice professionals need to know what to check for when they receive orders. Many times, problems happen when food and supplies are received. This is a big responsibility that should not be overlooked.
When you receive shipments of food, you should follow these steps:
- Check the purchase order against the actual shipment. A purchase order is a document asking a supplier to ship food or supplies at a predetermined price. Ensure that the order is correct and complete. Note, or make a record of, any missing items.
- Check the invoice to make sure it is accurate. An invoice is a bill from a supplier for providing goods or services. Make sure that the food prices are correct, and that you were invoiced only for the items you ordered. Note anything that is incorrect.
- Inspect the food items for quality. Reject any that do not meet quality standards.
- Complete a receiving record. A receiving record is a numbered record of everything that was received at a business during a particular day. The receiving record should include the quantity of each item received, the item price, the date delivered, and the supplier's name.
- Move the food items to the appropriate storage area. Each form of food, for example, frozen, fresh, packaged, canned, and dry, must be handled and stored differently.
The type of receiving equipment you will use is determined by the size of the foodservice operation. Most operations have scales, thermometers, and dollies.
Receiving areas should have two types of scales: a platform scale and a counter scale. A platform scale has a platform to hold large or heavy items to be weighed. A counter scale usually has a platform, too, but it is small enough to be placed on a counter. Both can be used to weigh boxes. Some foodservice operations also have portion scales. A portion scale is a scale used to weigh cuts of meat.
Thermometers are used in the receiving area to check the temperature of frozen and fresh foods. These thermometers use infrared technology to check the temperature of food. They do not make direct contact with food products. Frozen foods should have a minimum internal temperature of 0°F (18°C) or below. Fresh foods should be kept at 41°F (5°C) or below. Food items that do not meet these safety standards should not be accepted.
Dollies are used to move items from the receiving area to the storage area. A dolly is a small wheeled cart that can help move heavy boxes from place to place. Dollies help foodservice professionals work more efficiently.
In addition, a good receiving area should have a table large enough to hold boxes for inspection. Keep a box cutter handy to open the packages and boxes.
Food can be stored in refrigerators or freezers, on shelving units, or in storage bins and containers. The storage equipment you use depends on the type and amount of food to be stored, the space available, and the type of foodservice operation.
Food must be stored properly to prevent it from spoiling and causing foodborne illness. When you store food items, follow the first in, first out (FIFO) rule. This means that all food items should be used in the order in which they were received. Mark each item with the delivery date. Older items should be moved to the front of the storage area. Newer items are placed at the back.
Foods that will be stored in the freezer must be covered well in airtight wrapping to avoid freezer burn. Freezer burn, light-colored spots on frozen food where surface drying has occurred, can ruin foods. As with all food products, frozen foods should also be labeled and dated.
Refrigerators and Freezers
Fresh and frozen foods are stored in refrigerators and freezers. Commercial refrigerators and freezers are used to keep fresh and frozen foods, such as vegetables, fruits, dairy products, fish, and meats, at the right temperature until they are used. There are three main types of commercial refrigerators: walk-in, roll-in, or reach-in units. There are also lowboy refrigerators and freezers. A lowboy is a half-size refrigerator that fits under the counter in a work station.
Receiving Strategies Receiving involves more than simply getting in an order from a supplier. What do you think are some other considerations when receiving food?
Glass and Aluminum Containers Glass is not recommended for storage containers because it can shatter. Aluminum is also not recommended because it reacts chemically to acidic items, such as tomatoes.
When a business needs to buy equipment, the first step is to identify the types of equipment that are needed for an efficient kitchen. Things to consider include type of restaurant, budget, space available, and menu items. Once the types of equipment have been identified, the features of that equipment should be decided upon. Smart business owners and managers compare prices, features, and maintenance service contracts before buying.
Equipment is expensive. Business owners must consider long-term business needs, and regulations and codes related to food storage before purchasing equipment. A purchase must provide the business with value over the long term.
Equipment Cleaning and Maintenance
It is important to keep storage equipment clean. Clean equipment protects against bacteria growth. When you clean storage equipment, there are general guidelines that you must follow.
Continue reading here: Preparation and Cooking Equipment
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