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Different Types of Restaurant Shelving

Creating and maintaining your storage area efficiently in your business can be challenging, particularly if you have limited space and lots to store. Purchasing a shelving unit allows you to organize and increase your storage space. There are different types of restaurant shelving, materials, components, and accessories to consider when purchasing a unit, each with pros and cons. With this in mind, we walk you through each shelving option, its benefits, and where it fits in your commercial kitchen.

Shop All Restaurant Shelving

Use the following links to explore different types of restaurant shelving:

  1. Restaurant Shelves
  2. Shelving Materials
  3. Types of Shelving Mounts
  4. Types of Specialty Shelving
  5. Shelving Accessories
  6. Popular Shelving Brands
  7. Where to Place Your Restaurant Shelving
  8. How to Clean Your Commercial Shelving

Restaurant Shelves

There are two components to restaurant shelving units: restaurant shelves and shelving mounts. As the element that determines the shape of the overall shelving unit, choose a shelf shape that accommodates the size of your kitchen and storage space, the types of goods you plan to store, and your restaurant's environment. Below, we outlined the common types of restaurant shelves and their pros and cons for your consideration.

Restaurant Equipment

Triangle Shelves

Because of their unique shape, triangle shelves fit into tight corners to utilize every inch of your storage space. Since walls surround three sides of the structure, triangle shelves are very stable. Generally, these shelves use the same posts as regular rectangular shelves.

Restaurant Equipment

Solid Shelves

Because solid shelves have no openings on their surface, you can store any size or type of item on them without the risk of it slipping through the rails. This feature keeps things placed below the shelf safe from spillage. They are also easy to clean and maintain since dust and grime won't get trapped between wires. However, solid shelves don't breathe as well as vented options, which makes them best for dry storage, garage storage, or retail applications.

Restaurant Equipment

Vented Shelves

Vented shelves are ideal for cold storage applications 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. However, vented shelves are challenging to clean and don't prevent items on higher shelves from dripping or spilling onto items on lower shelves.

Shelving Materials

A key consideration for restaurant shelving units is the material. The environment of your establishment and storage space affects the longevity of the shelves, so choosing the correct material ultimately saves you money. For example, a location near salt water or a particularly damp environment causes metal shelves to corrode. Check out our list of common shelving materials for insight on which option works best for your kitchen.

Restaurant Equipment

Stainless Steel Shelves

Stainless steel shelves are one of the most durable and versatile shelving units. This material can withstand the wear and tear of a busy kitchen and remains solid in wet or dry conditions.

  • Naturally corrosion resistant
  • Ideal for any setting, including food storage, walk-in coolers, and warehouse use
Restaurant Equipment

Antimicrobial Shelves

Though their base can be any material, antimicrobial shelves have an extra coating of an antimicrobial agent. This coating, such as Microban, prevents the growth of microbes that cause diseases.

  • Protects shelves from bacteria, mold, mildew, and fungi
  • Reduces the possibility of food contamination and unpleasant odors
Restaurant Equipment

Chrome Wire Shelves

Ideal for stockrooms, warehouses, garages, and retail applications, chrome-plated wire shelving units work best in dry storage or heated environments. Their durability allows them to withstand bumps from other equipment without being damaged. Additionally, many units are NSF Listed.

  • Designed to increase visibility and ventilation
  • Prone to rust in humid environments
Restaurant Equipment

Polypropylene Shelves

Also known as polymer shelves, polypropylene shelves are corrosion-resistant and will not rust even in salt water or sea air. They are made with metal with a thick outer coating of polypropylene or a polymer that makes them just as strong as regular metal shelving units.

  • Durable and easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher
  • Longer manufacturer warranties available for these units
Restaurant Equipment

Drop Mat Shelving

If you need extra protection against spills, drop mat shelving combines epoxy-coated wire shelving with removable polymer drop mats that help keep the area clean. Just like epoxy shelving, these units are resistant to rust and suitable for moist or humid environments.

  • Detach mats from shelves and place them into a dishwasher for easy cleaning
  • Ideal for busy storage areas requiring frequent cleaning
Restaurant Equipment

Epoxy-Coated Shelves

Similar to chrome wire shelves, epoxy-coated shelves have additional protection from humidity and damp environments. The coating prevents rusting, making these shelves ideal for warewashing areas, walk-in coolers, or moist storage.

Types of Shelving Mounts

The key to understanding the types of shelving mounts revolves around knowing your existing space. Whether you have ample storage space or need to maximize every corner of your busy kitchen, different posts fit with certain environments. Since this element determines a great deal about the design of your kitchen and storage room, carefully read through the pros and cons of each type of shelving mount before buying.

Restaurant Equipment


As the name suggests, stationary posts remain in one spot and do not work for transport. Because of this, use them in areas designed for storage that you don't intend to rearrange.

Restaurant Equipment


Mobile posts allow you to move shelving units and rearrange your space. Plus, the ability to move your shelf makes cleaning behind and under it simple. When cleaning, roll the shelving unit away from the wall and move it back when you finish.

Stationary Shelves vs Mobile Shelves

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? In areas with limited space, mobile shelves can be pushed together to save space during off-hours and rolled apart when employees need to access their contents.

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 posts, which come caster-ready but won't break the bank.

Who will be working around your shelving units? Since mobile units require effort to move and maneuver, mobile shelving systems can be a source of risk, especially if you are storing or transporting heavy items. To prevent possible injuries, train your staff on the safe operation of mobile shelving units.

Will your shelving unit be located in a frequently cleaned area? If you're buying a shelving unit for areas cleaned weekly or monthly, consider a mobile unit to simplify the cleaning process. Mobile shelving units provide a flexible workspace, allowing you to move your shelves so floors, walls, and other surfaces can be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

If you're still unsure, consider purchasing an easily modified unit. This model allows you to easily change the room's configuration to adapt to new storage needs and add more flexibility to menu offerings. However, attaching casters to a stationary post to convert it to a mobile post is not recommended. Typically, these posts do not accept casters, and adding casters will void your warranty for some manufacturers.

Types of Specialty Shelving

If you own a particular kind of restaurant, consider the various types of specialty shelving and how they help your operation. Small kitchens in hole-in-the-wall establishments benefit from wall mount shelving, but high-end restaurants need wine shelving for their illustrious collection. Additionally, some specialty shelves cater to the environment of the restaurant's location with extra features.

Restaurant Equipment

Adjustable Shelving

Adjustable shelving makes it easy to customize and change your display based on your needs. This option provides flexibility that is great for businesses with changing product offerings. The design allows you to move the shelves up or down along the rack's posts, ensuring products of various sizes can fit.

Restaurant Equipment

Dunnage Racks

Dunnage racks are perfect for storing bulk ingredients, such as flour or sugar, off the floor. These versatile restaurant racks come in different materials, including aluminum and polymer. Mobile and stationary models are available as well. Whether you need a heavy-duty option or a standard unit, we have a dunnage rack that will meet the needs of your food service operation.

Restaurant Equipment

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 instrumental prep tools organized. These shelves are often made of durable stainless steel with different lengths and widths to fit your space. Shelving for specific purposes is available, too. Microwave shelves provide storage space for small appliances, and glass and dish rack shelves help keep tableware and racks off your countertops.

Restaurant Equipment

Cantilever Shelving

Cantilever shelving is an ideal option for space efficiency. This shelving type gets its support from a rear support system, creating an overhead storage solution without drilling into the wall. Restaurant owners frequently use cantilever shelving above tables or countertops to maximize storage space.

Restaurant Equipment

High Density Shelving

High density shelving units reduce the space required for a traditional storage area. They eliminate the shelf-aisle-shelf-aisle layout and create space with a movable aisle instead. By mounting your shelving units on a track system, the shelves can be rolled from side to side depending on which you need to access. Ideal for buildings with too much stuff and too little space, high density shelving completely changes the complex landscape of the kitchen.

Restaurant Equipment

Wine Shelving

Displaying your collection of Riesling, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, and more is easy and inexpensive with wire wine rack shelving. Wine shelves hold bottles at the proper angle to preserve wine quality and allow air to circulate through the area to maintain consistent, cool temperatures. Wine racks ensure your wine is properly stored and ready to be enjoyed by customers.

Restaurant Equipment

Security Shelving

Security shelving is a perfect solution for establishments that need to protect their employees' valuables or sensitive items like high-end liquor. These units utilize a lock, but the grating allows you to view their contents through the open wire walls.

Shelving Accessories

In addition to choosing the best shelving unit for your establishment, ensure you have all the accessories you need to streamline your storage area.

  • Shelving Casters: Turn your stationary shelving unit into a more versatile mobile shelving unit with shelving casters.
  • Wire Shelf Label Holders: Use wire shelf label holders to label ingredients and other stored foods to maintain a functional storage area.
  • Wire Shelf Storage Baskets: Create extra storage in your kitchen with wire baskets that attach directly to your wire rack.
  • Wire Shelf Dividers: Use wire shelf dividers to divide lengthy shelves into smaller, more organized sections.
  • Shelf Covers: Protect your shelves from water, dust, and other airborne contaminants with shelf covers.
  • Wire Shelf Ledges: Keep items from falling off the shelf by adding wire shelf ledges to your unit.
  • Wire Shelf Hanger Tubes: Attach a hanger tube to your wire shelf to hang aprons, chef whites, and other clothing.
  • "S" Hooks: Attach two wire shelving units side by side with an "S" hook.

Popular Shelving Brands

Given the investment required for purchasing restaurant shelves, check out the inventory of popular shelving brands. These companies consistently produce durable, reliable products with restaurant owners in mind. Each company caters to different needs within the restaurant industry, such as easy assembly or antimicrobial technology. No matter which brand you choose, these manufacturers provide durable options with a long product life.

Regency Space Solutions

Regency Space Solutions offers a broad range of shelving units and accessories to fit your needs and budget. They manufacture their shelves, posts, and other components using only the highest quality materials, which makes them ideal for kitchen environments. Regency Space Solutions specializes in durable wire shelving options with an inventory of everything from basic chrome wire units for dry storage to epoxy-coated units that can easily stand up to humid environments.

With Regency's available accessories, it's easy to customize a Regency shelving unit. They also offer shelf kits with all the components in one package prepared to assemble.


Constructed from durable polypropylene, Cambro shelving is ideal for businesses in humid climates or near the ocean. This material is corrosion-resistant, lengthening the life of the product. Cambro Camshelving® 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 repeatedly.


Metro manufactures wire shelves and shelving units with polymer shelves or shelving mats. Some Metro products have antimicrobial technology for superior resistance to mold or bacteria. Popular Metro lines include:

Check out Metro's shelving infographic for more information about different Metro shelving lines.

Combining Shelving Brands

If you bought Metro Super Erecta posts but later realized that Regency's shelves are cheaper, you can buy Regency shelves even though you already bought Metro posts. With standard wire shelving, most brands can be mixed and matched. You can use a brand's wire shelf posts with a different brand of wire shelves. However, you cannot mix different types of shelves within the same shelving unit.

Where to Place Your Restaurant Shelving

Whether creating a few extra feet of storage space or arranging shelves in your designated storage area, it's a difficult decision how to place your shelving units in your available storage space. First, 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 inventory items, like ingredient canisters, might be best placed on a wall shelf near your prep area.

Walk-in coolers or freezers require special consideration as well. When installing shelving units in these environments, check to ensure they don't block air vents. If your shelves block the air vent, it can cause warm pockets of air to develop.

As for your designated storage area, arrange your shelves to utilize walls, corners, and other available space. However, your storage room design should still make all items accessible. It's also crucial 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.

How to Clean Your Commercial Shelving

Keeping shelves cleaned and sanitized is fundamental to maintaining a safe kitchen environment. Stock up on the shelf cleaning supplies you need like sponges and rubber gloves to tackle the grit and grime that can build up on shelves. To clean refrigerator and freezer shelves, check out our guide to cleaning and organizing your commercial refrigerator.

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