Success Story: North Carolina School District Revolutionizes Their Kitchen Storage with Metro

Every food service professional knows that rust is the last thing you want in a kitchen, particularly in a school cafeteria. That’s why when New Hanover County Schools faced this common but significant challenge with their existing pan racks, they turned to Metro for help.

Keep reading to learn how Metro hybrid side-load bun pan racks improved the efficiency of their kitchen operations and ultimately led to improvements in their shelving.

Metro hybrid bun pan rack improves efficiency

The Problem

New Hanover County Schools, a district with 50 schools across North Carolina, needed a Christmas miracle for their kitchens. Their old aluminum pan racks were less than ideal: they were prone to rust, difficult to maneuver, and loaded from the front, creating an awkward workflow for employees.

The school’s Director, Amy Stanley, wanted to give her schools a gift that would enhance their kitchens for years to come by overcoming their existing problems:

  • Rust Issues: The aluminum racks were prone to rust, compromising their longevity and hygiene.
  • Mobility Problems: Moving these racks around the kitchen was a hassle due to their cumbersome nature.
  • Loading Inefficiencies: The old racks’ front-loading design made it difficult for kitchen staff to transfer pans directly from the oven to the rack.

The Solution

The Director of New Hanover County Schools had a clear vision: new racks that would address these issues for all 50 of her schools. She was determined to find a rust-proof, easily movable, and side-loading pan rack to enhance the efficiency and functionality of the school kitchens.

When Metro representatives Frank Faulkner and Todd Barr initially visited the director in October 2023, they presented her with Metro’s innovative side-loading pan racks. Her eyes “lit up” as she realized this was the perfect solution to her problems.

She purchased 50 RS3K4S pan racks as a Christmas gift for each of her schools. The dealer, Cape Fear Restaurant Equipment, out of Wilmington, assembled the pan racks and delivered them to all the schools.

Metro hybrid pan rack improves efficiency and functionality

Why Metro?

Metro’s bakery racks are designed with the application in mind. Our racks are built to take a beating and hold large amounts of weight—two factors that are crucial in a busy school cafeteria environment. While the district was already using Metro products and familiar with the quality, what really sold them on this model was the design and features, namely its capacity and side-load option.

This product was eye-opening for Ashley Rozzi, Child Nutrition Assistant Director at New Hanover County Schools. “This was the first time we had seen a side load option, which was very intriguing,” she said. “We were also impressed by the number of trays the rack could hold, as it was far more than the capacity of our existing speed racks.”

Why a Hybrid Rack?

Metro's hybrid rack offers the the perfect balance of cost and performance. Previously, the district used aluminum racks that would sit in a walk-in overnight, leading to rust. Because the hybrid rack has stainless-steel slides and a Metroseal gray epoxy structure, it is naturally rust-resistant. This way, you get the benefit of stainless where you need it most, but without the heavy price tag associated with stainless. You also get corrosion-resistance that traditional aluminum pan racks can't offer. 

Why Side-Load?

For busy school kitchens, a side-load pan rack makes it easier for operators to unload the trays from combi ovens and reload them straight to the speed rack. Side-load pan racks help prevent burns and make placing pans more ergonomic.

The Impact

By switching from traditional aluminum speed racks to Metro’s Hybrid pan racks, the schools no longer need to worry about rust or corrosion buildup, even when leaving the racks in the walk-in overnight. The units are also much easier to roll around their kitchens compared to the previous units, thanks to Metro’s premium casters.

In fact, the School District was so pleased with its new solutions that a few months after their initial call, they asked Frank Faulkner to lay out shelving for one of its schools. After seeing pictures of SmartLever installations at a school in NC, New Hanover County Schools wanted to try it for themselves.

The SmartLever system provides the school with more space than its previous wire shelving. Now that they’ve seen it in their space, they love it; they see the benefits this system provides and would like to use it for future spaces.

“Our manager loves her new shelving,” said Ashley Rozzi. “She no longer needs to creatively stack items off the floor - she can fit it all!” According to Frank, who personally helped with the installation of the Smart Lever package, “the installation process went smooth and quick,” and of course, the customer’s satisfaction speaks for itself.

Metro Smartlever gives you space for everything

Find Your Own Success Story with Metro

Metro’s solutions within New Hanover County Schools have been a resounding success. Their problems with their old aluminum racks were effectively solved, and the new solutions have significantly enhanced their kitchen operations.

At Metro, we don’t sell products—we sell solutions. If you’re looking to improve the organization, efficiency, or quality of products within your facility, we can help. Metro’s solutions are also supported by local Metro reps, who can provide consultations to help you create top-tier foodservice solutions for shelving, workstations, holding, and beyond.

Have a success story to share? Contact us to learn how Metro can transform your space!