Find the Right Rack for Your Storage Needs

Simplify Storage with the Right Restaurant Rack

Organization is essential in any business, but perhaps nowhere more so than in a busy foodservice environment. Everything from ingredients to pots and pans needs a place to be put away where they can be easily accessed. While generic shelving can help store many items, specialized restaurant racks can help maximize the space you have for equipment storage, and keep food products and ingredients safe.

Pan Racks

Usually seen in high-volume kitchens, pan racks, also called bun racks, allow pans to slide into slots on the rack for easily storing and transporting prepped or cooked food. These racks are available in sizes capable of holding full- or half-size pans, and a few universal pan racks can handle both. The depth of the pans you will be storing is also important, as that measurement will determine the slide spacing you need. Pan racks are made to hold either steam table pans, which are supported by their wide flanges, or sheet pans, which are supported by the bottom. Specialty models are also available that hold items like serving trays and dish racks.

To find the pan rack that will best fit your needs, you need to consider how you plan on using it. Most come on casters, but if you know yours will remain stationary, you may prefer one on legs. Roll-in-height models are compatible with roll-in refrigerators or freezers, and some half-height models have a work surface or oven stand on top to allow you to make the best use of the space you have. While most pan racks are made of aluminum, some plastic models are available, and are well-suited to mobile operations like catering. Alternatively, some aluminum models feature bumpers to prevent damage to walls and equipment. Pan rack covers are also available to protect food on the rack from debris, with solid and see-through options.

Dunnage Racks

Dunnage racks are an ideal way to store large, heavy items such as bulk flour or rice, frozen food, or boxed ingredients. These racks are low to the ground, limiting how far heavy items need to be lifted while keeping them far enough off the ground to meet health codes. The FDA Food Code1 dictates that food products must be stored at least 6 inches off the ground, and most dunnage racks fall between 8 and 12 inches high.

Dunnage racks are available in a variety of sizes to meet your needs, ranging from 12 to 60 inches long, and are made out of aluminum, plastic, or wire shelving. When choosing which design will work for you, consider whether the items you will be storing keep best when exposed to plenty of air circulation. If so, you'll want to choose racks with louvers that allow air to flow through and promote consistent temperatures and discourage moisture buildup. Some dunnage racks come on casters and with a handle, allowing you to easily move heavy objects, and others are able to interlock with each other, allowing you to put together the pieces you need for a customized size and shape.

Keg Racks

Keg racks are sturdy, heavy-duty shelves made for storing heavy kegs. These racks are made out of either aluminum square tubing, which will not rust, or chrome-coated steel, which can handle more weight. Rubber or plastic mats can help protect the chrome from chipping, and are much easier to clean in case of a leak.

Keg racks can hold as few as 4 to as many as 10 kegs, but never have more than two shelves durable enough to hold kegs. Some units have a third shelf on top to help maximize storage space, allowing you to store lighter items there.

Commercial Wine Racks

Commercial wine racks are made to store wine bottles on their sides, keeping them visible and easy to access. Storing wine bottles in this position also preserves the quality of the wine by keeping the corks from drying out, which could cause them to shrink and allow in oxygen that can ruin the wine. The biggest consideration to make when choosing a commercial wine rack is the number of bottles you will be storing. Wine racks are available that store as few as 45 to as many as 216 bottles.

Another factor to keep in mind is where the wine rack will be stored. While most commercial wine racks are utilitarian in appearance, some are meant more for display purposes and can be used front-of-house. A security cage wine rack is lockable to keep your wine safe. Many of the security cage racks also come on casters, making them simple to move into or out of a storage area or walk-in cooler.

Can Racks

Can racks feature slightly slanted shelves, taking advantage of gravity to feed cans to the front of the unit for easy retrieval. Some units are front-loading, with a chute that wraps around onto a lower level so it can be loaded and removed from the front while still following FIFO principles. Many of these are available on casters for easy transportation, but adjustable feet are also available for easy installation.

Determining which can rack your establishment needs depends on how many and what size cans you need to store. Generally, canned goods are available in three sizes: No. 10, No. 5, and No. 303. No. 10 cans are the largest, holding 1234 cups and measuring about 618 inches in diameter, while No. 303 cans are the smallest, holding approximately 2 cups of food and measuring 336 inches in diameter. No. 5 cans, which fall in-between those sizes, hold about 7 cups and are 518 inches in diameter. Made from aluminum or stainless steel, racks are available in sizes ranging from the 6- to 7-foot-tall full-size racks to the smaller, low-profile, 30 to 45 inch racks. Full-size units generally store between 300 and 400 No. 303 cans, 200 and 300 No. 5 cans, or 150 and 250 No. 10 cans. Meanwhile, low-profile units typically store between 150 and 200 No. 303 cans. Most can racks can only hold certain sizes, so be sure you check each unit's compatibility with what you will need to store.

    1. Food Code 2013. FDA. Accessed May 2016.