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Frequently Asked Questions about Foodservice Shelving in a Commercial Kitchen

Commercial kitchen shelves are the last thing people think of when designing their space yet they are the most important element of an organized productive kitchen. Choosing the right type of shelf to effectively organize your items will help you run a more efficient & cleaner work area. Proper organized storage of your ingredients, tools, linens, containers & dishes is vital especially in small footprints where kitchen real estate can be pricy. Being in Hawaii kitchens are small and you need to pick the right system to maximize every inch of available space.

With the many types and brands of commercial shelving out there, it can be a daunting task trying to figure out what style, materials, accessories or components you will need. Below are some questions we often get from our customers when they are considering shelving for their kitchens. Here we guide you on what they need to to know about choosing the best shelving system for their commercial kitchen:

Does the Material the Shelving is made of matter?

Depending on the application & area, the material you choose for your shelving will matter. Below are the different materials available and where these materials would be applicable:

Stainless Steel - For durability & moist environments, stainless steel is excellent. It’s also naturally corrosion-resistant. It works in nearly any type of environment, from wet to dry storage.

Antimicrobial - Any of the materials below can be antimicrobial when constructed. Essentially, an added layer of an antimicrobial agent is infused into the shelf during the manufacturing process to help prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew that can cause stains and odors.

Epoxy Coated is an ideal material for environments that get especially humid, such as in a walk-in or places where dishwashing occurs. Epoxy is also optimal for protecting against corrosion.

Chrome Wire is perfect for dry storage. They have great visibility and ventilation.

Polymer or Polypropylene is especially resistant to corrosion, and it’s even safe to be put in the dishwasher. Unlike other slatted shelving, these shelves tend to be easier to clean too. Removable shelf mats (available on our MAX & PRO series) are dishwasher safe and easy to clean. Instead of removing the entire system, you can remove just the mats which makes maintenance much easier for staff. These mats will never rust or corrode which will pass Health Inspection without any issue.

Should I get Adjustable or Standard Shelving clips?

This depends on your preferences or how often you think you'll be adjusting your shelves. The traditional standard clips sleeve clips are the most cost effective but more difficult to move at a later date. The levers are easier to manipulate and polymer shelving the easier to adjust than the rest. All types of clips are structured for strength & stability which maximizes the amount of weight load that the shelves can handle. Ingredients to pans can be very heavy so Metro makes sure their products are rigorously tested to handle more than the competitors.

Which should I get - Mobile or Stationary shelves?

There are two basic types of mounting and assembly pieces for kitchen shelving units: mobile (those that move) and stationary (those that cannot be moved). Which one you choose depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

For kitchens that are limited in size, mobile mounting may be ideal as units can be pushed aside and relocated when they’re not in use, creating more space. They are also handy when it comes time to clean behind the units. If you are using the systems for food storage, the units can easily be moved outside for routine cleaning. However, remember that most mobile units are more expensive and casters sometimes need replacing. In most Kitchens stationary is the preferred choice because most times you're not moving pieces around. If you're constantly shooting water at the base of your shelving, remember that depending on the material it can corrode.

How can shelving help me Maximize my space?

Organically place most used items in easy to reach places and keep certain items pertaining to the task closest to that area. Keep in mind that heath code guidelines must be followed when arranging your shelving. For example, food items must be stored minimum 6" off the ground. In a walk-in you must not block the refrigeration system and in food processing environments where water is constantly being used to wash the area, place your lowest shelf at 12" to avoid splashing on boxes or product. Also refer back to material selection once you determine where you want your systems and what you're placing on them.

What Material is best for Wet or Humid Areas?

In general when it comes to wet environments, we recommend Metro MAX shelving because it's easier to clean with its removable mats and the material makes it not susceptible to corrosion. At a minimum go with the epoxy coated NK shelving as its better protected against corrosion. Never put Chrome shelving in a wet or moist environment. It might save you some money initially but you will be replacing it all very quickly and spending twice as much money later on.

What Material is best for Dry Storage?

When it comes to dry storage, any shelving will work in a "controlled dry environment". Try to stay away from residential chrome shelving as most are not NSF & the coating not as well done as on commercial shelving. Being in Hawaii and having lots of salt in the air, if your storage is outdoors try and stay away from chrome in general. The moisture in our air will corrode your shelving especially when moving product on & off the shelves. The movement wears away the Chrome finish & makes material more susceptible to corrosion.

Plan ahead, buy smart the first time around so you're not spending more in the end.

For more information about shelf organization, the best types of commercial kitchen shelves available, or what shelving options may be optimal for your kitchen, contact PAC RIM REPS your local Hawaii Metro Foodservice Representatives today.

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