Let’s talk about the importance of a well managed dry storage. As most know, a dry storage or pantry is where we store essential staples. This can include many types of products that are shelf stable and cross utilized. We’ve outlined a few simple tips that can elevate a basic pantry to a professional dry storage in the blink of an eye.
First, label everything. Especially if transferring ingredients from original packaging to new containers. Using food safe labels (or masking tape) and a permanent marker (or an easy-to-read pen), list important details. Come up with a simple system that is easy to replicate to limit confusion. Some kitchens write on the label the name of the product, the initials of the individual who transferred/handled it and the received date. Others might go a step further and include on the label the expiration date of the ingredient. This is dependent on what works best for each kitchen.
Keep a Detailed Inventory
On a clipboard, in a protective sleeve, or taped to the door, make a visible list of every ingredient. Like with labeling, each kitchens preferences will determine what to list. Include at the very least, the product name and the amount in stock. For more detail, add received and/or expiration dates. There can even be a section that lists items that need to be re-ordered or purchased. This can reduce the amount of trips to the store for forgotten ingredients.
Organize, Organize, Organize
Once the above list is complete, it is important to keep the literal storage of those items organized. Grouping by type of product will make it easier to find them. It will also limit overcrowding, which can cause ignored products to spoil. Lastly, it will make it easier to clean limiting issues with pests or mold.
To help with re-ordering and managing stock, put in place a periodic automatic replenishment (aka Par) system. Setting up Pars is an easy task. Determine what the minimum stock of each product should be then write it on the inventory sheet. For example, you determine that there needs to be at least 20 pounds (9.07 kg) of bread flour on hand at all times. This means that it’s time to buy more when the amount of bread flour becomes less than that quantity. By doing this, bread flour (and any other product) will never be out of stock.
This last tip is to follow FIFO, aka First In First Out, standards. All that that entails is using the item purchased first before opening a newer one of that same product. This practice mitigates waste, spoilage, and any food safety concerns.
Good practices pave the road to a successful business. Setting up an easily monitored dry storage system will greatly reduce frustration and make inventory management a breeze. To continue this discussion, or to clarify any questions, please feel free to contact us.