The organization of the modern grocery store has changed immensely in recent years. Grocers have come to compete against restaurants and other foodservice operations by offering to-go premade meals. This switch to a more restaurant-style model requires different storage processes than a traditional back-of-house design. The experts at Metro can help you turn your back-of-house operation into a more active restaurant-style storage area to solidify your grocery store as a tremendous to-go food operation.
Tip # 1
Know the regulations. Before starting a restaurant-style or to- go operation in your grocery store, make sure you are fully versed in food service regulations. Your walk-in and prep areas need to be set up to all industry standards in organization and cleanliness. This will require proper food prep supplies, including regulation coolers and freezers, tables, a dishwashing area, and other restaurant areas that the average grocery store might not initially have set for food production.
To get correctly set up in your back of house, partner with a storage supplier with a background in grocery and restaurant supply. They will give you a proper idea of utilizing the space for both the restaurant and prepared food portion of your business and as grocery.
Tip # 2
Get the right tools for the job. When designing, make sure that proper tools are used in each food prep area. In coolers, storage solutions should be water and humidity resistant. Options for this space include epoxy wire and plastic. Both options are resistant to rust and will maintain their structural integrity. Coolers should be kept organized with the use of dividers for easy access to supplies. Every cooler can also benefit from a staging area. This can be built with the use of dunnage racks and carts upon order delivery.
Next in the kitchen prep area, you must supply your team with proper areas for food preparation. This would include industry- grade prep tables. Prep tables should be easy -to-clean and NSF approved for use in a foodservice environment. For a more confined prep area consider a table that can be adjusted and placed under countertops or rolled to other areas.
For order staging, be sure that there is an organized area where to-go meals and orders can be put together properly. Order staging areas should come with storage areas for all the supplies you would need to properly finish orders. An order staging area can be extremely beneficial to make sure that orders are made properly and efficiently.
Tip # 3
For an efficient back of house be sure that your grocery and premade food operations remain separate. Even though they are under the same roof, each should be run as an individual business. The premade portion and grocery portion of the business each require different processes and regulations. Viewing them as different businesses can help to keep your needs and goals clear as you address both aspects of your business.
Keeping their supply needs separate can help make inventory easier and more efficient for staff at the end of the day.