Creating and maintaining an effective storage area in your business can be challenging, especially if you have limited space and lots to store, but purchasing a shelving unit can take your storage capacity to new heights. Unfortunately (and fortunately), there are all kinds of shelves, materials, components, and accessories to choose from when looking into buying a shelving unit. This guide will explain all things shelving-related and inform you on how to pick the perfect shelving unit for your commercial kitchen!
MaterialMaterial is one of the most important things to consider when buying a shelving unit. Is your location near salt water? Will you be using your shelves in a damp environment like a walk-in cooler or warewashing area? Maybe you intend to use it solely for dry storage. Whatever environment you’re planning to place it in, one of these common shelf materials will get the job done.
Chrome-plated wire shelving units are ideal for dry storage or heated environments including stockrooms, warehouses, garages, and retail applications. Designed to increase visibility and ventilation, chrome wire shelves may or may not come with a clear epoxy coating, but many of these units are NSF Listed. These units are prone to rust if used in a humid environment.
Epoxy coated wire shelving units are much more resistant to humid environments such as warewashing areas, walk-in coolers, or moist storage. Different manufacturers have different colors of epoxy coated shelves available, but all colors of epoxy will give you the same great protection against rapid corrosion. Two of the most common colors include black epoxy coated wire shelving, which is often used in retail settings or warehouses because of its subtle coloring, and green epoxy wire shelving, which is more characteristic of the food service industry.
Polypropylene / Polymer
Polypropylene or polymer shelving units are extremely corrosion-resistant and will not rust even in the presence of salt water or sea air. These units are generally constructed of metal with a thick outer coating of polypropylene or a polymer that makes them just as strong as regular metal shelving units. Another benefit to purchasing a polypropylene or polymer shelving unit is that the components are dishwasher safe and can be easily wiped clean. Many manufacturers offer longer warranties on this type of shelving unit, which is also an important point to consider if you’re planning to invest in a polypropylene or polymer shelving unit.
Anti-microbial shelves can be constructed of the any of the materials above, but they come with an extra layer of anti-microbial agent such as Microban built in. This layer protects your shelving unit from bacteria, mold, mildew, and fungi that could potentially contaminate food or cause unpleasant odors.
Because solid shelves have no openings on their surface, any size or type of item can be stored on them without the risk of it slipping through the rails or spilling onto the items below it. Solid shelves are also easy to clean and maintain since dust and grime won’t get trapped in between the wires. The downside to solid shelves is that they don’t breathe as well as vented shelves, which makes them best for dry storage, garage storage, or retail applications.
Vented shelves are a great option for any type of cold storage application because they promote air circulation through the unit for maximum product shelf life. They also offer greater visibility when trying to identify what items you have in inventory. The downside of vented shelves is that they are more difficult to clean and don’t prevent items on higher shelves from dripping or spilling onto items on lower shelves.
Triangle shelves are designed specifically to fit into tight corners so you don’t lose any valuable storage space. Generally, these shelves can be used with the same posts as regular rectangular shelves.
Stationary posts are not designed for transport. These should be used in areas that are consistently used for storage and aren’t often rearranged.
Mobile posts give you the option to easily move your shelving unit from place to place. Plus, having a mobile unit makes cleaning behind and under shelves a breeze since you can simply roll the unit away from the wall and roll it back when you are finished.
How do I know when to purchase a mobile vs. a stationary shelving unit?If you’re not sure whether you should go mobile or if a stationary unit will do, consider these few key questions:
Is your space limited? Because stationary shelving units cannot be moved, maintaining aisles large enough for an employee to walk down is essential when designing a storage area with stationary shelving units. On the other hand, mobile shelving units can be pushed together to save space when no one is working with them and can be rolled apart when an employee needs to access their contents. So, if space is limited, a mobile unit is for you.
How big is your budget? In general, mobile units are more expensive than stationary units. However, if you have your heart set on purchasing a mobile unit, check out Regency’s mobile shelving posts, which come caster-ready but won’t break the bank.
Who will be working around your shelving units? Before settling on a mobile unit, you might want to ask yourself who will be working in your storage area. Since they require manpower to move and maneuver, mobile shelving systems can be a source of risk, especially if you are storing or transporting particularly heavy items. To prevent possible injuries, it is important to train your staff on the safe operation of mobile shelving units.
Will your shelving unit be located in an area that is frequently cleaned? If you’re buying a shelving unit to be used in areas like walk-in coolers that will be cleaned weekly or monthly, then you should definitely consider purchasing a mobile unit. Mobile shelving units give you the flexibility to move your shelves so that floors, walls, and other important surfaces can be completely cleaned and sanitized.
Still unsure which type will work best for your business? Then perhaps the best option for you is to purchase a unit that can be modified without much effort, so you can easily change the configuration to adapt to new storage needs and add more flexibility in menu offerings. However, you should be aware that attaching casters to a stationary post in order to convert it to a mobile post is not recommended. Many stationary posts do not accept casters, and in the case of some manufacturers, adding casters to a stationary post will void your warranty.
Dunnage racks are perfect for storing bulk ingredients such as flour or sugar off of the floor. They come in a variety of materials, including aluminum and polymer, as well as in mobile and stationary models. Whether you need a heavy duty option or a standard unit, we have a dunnage rack that will meet the needs of your foodservice operation.
Keeping bottles of Riesling, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, and more is easy and inexpensive with wire wine rack shelving. Wine shelves are designed to hold bottles at the proper angle to preserve wine quality as well as allow air to circulate through the shelves to maintain consistent, cool temperatures.
Security shelving is a great option when you need to protect your employees’ valuables or sensitive items like high end liquor. These units typically lock, but still allow you to view their contents through their open wire walls.
Wall Mount Shelving
Ideal for creating storage space over stainless steel prep tables and other work areas, wall-mount shelving will allow you to keep ingredient canisters, spices, and other important prep tools organized. These shelves are often made of durable stainless steel and come in a variety of lengths and widths to fit your space.
High Density Shelving
High density shelving units are designed to greatly reduce the space required for a traditional storage area. In fact, it eliminates the shelf-aisle-shelf-aisle layout and creates a space with a movable aisle instead. This is accomplished by mounting your shelving units on a track system where they can be rolled from side to side depending on which shelf you need to access. For buildings with too much stuff and too little space, high density shelving can be a godsend.
Casters come in a variety of different diameters and can be made of several different materials, but they all have one thing in common. Their main purpose is to turn your stationary shelving unit into a more versatile mobile shelving unit.
Clearly labeling ingredients and other stored foods is the key to maintaining a functional storage area. Wire shelf label holders will not only keep your shelves organized, but they will also help your employees work more efficiently since they will know exactly where to go to find the item they’re looking for.
Sometimes a shelving unit alone isn’t a practical way to store all of the small items you need to keep track of. Wire shelf storage baskets attach directly to your shelving unit and are a great place to store cooking utensils, extra restaurant equipment parts, and more!
Similar to a whole shelving unit, wire shelf dividers are available in different finishes and sizes to suit your individual needs. These are great for breaking long shelves into smaller, more organized sections.
Shelf covers are designed to protect your shelves from water, dust, and other airborne contaminants. They come in different sizes, colors, and materials, with some being waterproof. Zippers or VELCRO® are used to close the cover, ensuring that it stays in place and keeps your shelving unit safe from pollutants.
Investing in a few wire shelf ledges will guarantee that whatever you’re storing stays on your shelves and off the floor. These handy accessories are ideal for keeping items from falling off the shelf and can often be stacked on top of each other to add additional height.
If you regularly store aprons, chef whites, or other uniforms at your business, then adding a wire shelf hanger tube to your shelving unit will eliminate hours of folding. Hanger tubes allow you to hang all clothing items in one convenient area.
"S" hooks are a convenient little tool that can eliminate the need to purchase a large number of shelf posts. By using "S" hooks to attach two wire shelving units together side by side, you can continue a line of shelving and provide easier access to corner storage areas.
Shelving components is a broad category that accounts for accessories such as post clamps, split sleeves, snap-on hooks, foot plates, and much more. These little components can make a big difference when trying to customize your shelving unit.
Regency Space Solutions offers a broad range of shelving units and accessories to fit your needs and your budget! Their shelves, posts, and other components are manufactured using only the highest quality materials, which makes them ideal for tough kitchen environments. Regency Space Solutions specializes in durable wire shelving options, offering everything from basic chrome wire units for dry storage to epoxy coated units that can easily stand up to humid environments. With the multitude of accessories available, customizing a Regency shelving unit is easy. Plus, if you're really stuck, they have shelf kits that come with all the components in one package ready to assemble!
Featuring a durable polypropylene construction, Cambro Camshelf shelving is a great option for businesses that are located near the ocean or in particularly humid climates since it is completely corrosion resistant. Camshelf shelving is a versatile option as well. With several different types of shelves, posts, and other accessories available, these easily adjustable shelving units can be built and reconfigured again and again.
Metro manufactures basic wire shelving units as well as shelving units with polymer shelves or shelving mats. Some Metro products come with anti-microbial technology built in for superior resistance to mold or bacteria. Popular Metro lines include: qwikSLOT wire shelving, Metro Erecta wire shelving, Metro Super Adjustable wire shelving, Metro Super Erecta, and MetroMax shelving.
Combining Shelving BrandsSo you bought Metro Super Erecta posts, but just realized that Regency’s shelves are cheaper than similar Metro shelves. Can you buy Regency shelves even though you already bought Metro posts? The answer is yes! When it comes to standard wire shelving, most brands can be mixed and matched. One brand of wire shelf posts can be used with a different brand of wire shelves. On word of caution, however, you cannot mix different types of shelves within the same shelving unit.
Assembling and Placing Your ShelvingWhether you’re creating a few extra feet of storage space or arranging shelves in your designated storage area, it can be difficult to decide how to place your shelving units in the space you’re working with. First and foremost, it’s important to store items in practical places. For example, a bulk bag of flour should be stored on a dunnage rack near the floor, while small items like ingredient canisters might be best stored on a wall shelf near your prep area. Walk-in coolers or freezers require special consideration as well. When placing shelving units in these environments, you will need to make sure that they don’t block air vents because it could cause warm pockets of air to develop.
As for your designated storage area, shelves should be arranged in a way that utilizes walls, corners, and any other available space, but still makes all items accessible. It’s also important to adhere to health code guidelines, such as storing food items at least six inches off the ground. Check out the video below to see how easy and beneficial it is to add wire shelving units to your storage area!