The shrinking kitchen phenomenon is not going away, so it is proving more important than ever to maximise the space available back of house. Storage is a crucial part of this, so we investigated the tips and tricks shelving manufacturers have put into place to help.
At Cambro, it has the Premium Series High Density shelving system in its arsenal. This is designed to increase storage capacity by up to 50%. The system is composed of mobile shelving units that glide along a track anchored between two stationary end shelving units.
Claimed to be easy to install, as the tracking does not need to be fixed to the floor, Cambro representatives can help with the system’s specification by visiting a site with the dealer to measure up and devise the appropriate layout to maximise storage space.
Luke Carman, sales manager UK and Ireland for Cambro UK, advised: “Along with the ability to fit more storage into a compact area, the shelving is designed to withstand the toughest conditions and harshest storage environments, so it’s great for all types of storage area including walk-in coldrooms and freezers.
“Unlike conventional wire shelving, the Camshelving is made of smooth polypropylene, wrapped around a steel core, so it won’t rust, bend or warp, even under heavy loads. Not only does Camshelving come with a lifetime warranty against rust and corrosion, there is an antimicrobial protector imbedded into its shelf plates to inhibit the growth of mould, fungus and bacteria.”
Reporting that the shape and condition of the available space is often challenging, Carman stated that the shelving can be used on any surface, including tiled and uneven floors, and can be adjusted and configured to suit a site’s requirements.
Premium Series Camshelving is also available in a variety of sizes, allowing it to be tailored to a site’s needs, and shelving can be vented or solid. Cambro offers a free design service with 2D and 3D plans available.
Carman feels that dealers should prioritise storage solutions more than they perhaps currently do. “For example, operators report that in a store or walk-in coldroom with traditional shelving it’s easy for things to get overlooked. They can discover products that have been hiding for a couple of months and can no longer be used. But with Cambro’s Premium Series High Density shelving system it’s easy to access the food, easy to organise the storage and easy to rotate products, so nothing gets overlooked, cutting down on wastage and saving time in selecting the correct produce.”
Another big name in this area is EAIS. In terms of designing shelving for compact areas, sales director, Danny Boore commented: “When your company strapline is ‘the ideal solution’ you obviously need to be able to back that up. We are regularly being challenged by our customers to ensure that we maximise the storage areas within a site to its full potential.
“Over the last few years we have certainly seen a notable increase in customers ordering higher uprights/posts – up to 2,400mm high in some cases, along with additional tiers of shelves. This is something we also try to encourage as it’s an easy win and allows a site to increase its storage capacity whilst not increasing its footprint.”
He reported that another trend is to set the lowest shelf at around 900/1,000mm above the floor to allow trolleys/ingredient bins to be stored below the bottom shelf, within the shelving footprint.
According to Boore: “Another case in point came when we completed some successful trials with a distributor, for whom we manufactured some 900mm-deep wire shelving. This was for use within some large volume stock rooms and after its success it was added to our product range under the name Wideboy. However, still the most effective solution for maximising the storage capacity and where space permits, is our High Density systems which are available in a variety of styles and finishes to suit any application.”
Boore further detailed that EAIS recently worked with Simon Gillet from Intoto Design on a large project where trolleys had to be manufactured to accept both 1/1 GN trays and pans as well as 600 x 400mm patisserie trays at the same time. He detailed: “By designing a universal trayslide that could accommodate both size trays simultaneously we were able to reduce the total amount of trolleys required within the kitchen, which in turn allowed the site to operate in a tight workspace.”
EAIS has also designed shelving to house GN trolleys by creating gaps just big enough for the trolley which then has storage over the top. As a standard option on the GN trolleys, the manufacturer can offer them in a ‘space saving interlocking’ design. This allows the trolleys to be stored within themselves when empty – similar to a supermarket trolley – which can offer a claimed saving of up to 80% of a trolley footprint.
As EAIS’s workforce is experienced in the foodservice sector, this allows the firm to offer flexibility, as Boore detailed: “Our manufacturing facility allows us to accommodate regular bespoke requests from our customers, especially as we don’t like to say no to anyone. It is not unusual to see bespoke items going through our factory, in fact our production manager would argue that specials are our standard!
“Some of the requests that go through include manufacturing bespoke acute angled stainless steel shelving to fill a irregular shaped storerooms. Furthermore we have also designed and manufactured trolleys to fit within alcoves, trolleys made to accommodate a bespoke trays or shelving to be used in rooms with vaulted ceilings also.”
While he acknowledges that “it can be a very low value and non-sexy product, especially in the case of the shelving”, Boore underlined: “However that doesn’t mean that it offers a lesser role in any efficient kitchen. By maximising the storage it will allow clients to hold a greater amount of stock which in turn may reduce delivery charges from suppliers with less frequent deliveries.
“Increasing capacity could allow a wider range of products to be offered, and storing neatly can help prevent accidents in the workplace. It will also allow efficiencies to be made when deliveries are placed into stock, as well as resulting in less waste/damage of the product when being protected by being stored correctly. Plus good visibility of product will help product rotation and reduce out of date stock.”
He concluded: “Although individually they are all small benefits they will of course all be ongoing and multiplied if dealing with chains.”