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Stainless Steel Shelves - Choosing the Best Stainless Steel Shelves

An organized kitchen is an efficient kitchen. In commercial food services where the time-to-serve determines a lot about customer satisfaction, keeping the kitchen well organized is vital. Apart from efficiency, an organized kitchen is also easy to maintain, clean and manage. When it comes to organizing, shelves play a crucial role. Implementation and use of proper shelving solutions is an easy way to keep your kitchen space organized. However, the right shelving is always the key.

You should consider the following points for choosing the best stainless steel shelves for your commercial kitchen.


When it comes to restaurant shelving, stainless steel is always the material of choice. Stainless steel is an alloy of iron with corrosion and stain-resistant properties. The presence of elements like chromium, molybdenum and nickel in top quality steel makes it highly resilient. The ingredients, as well as their percentages, vary in different stainless steel types.

Apart from being resistant to corrosion, stainless steel is easy to clean and maintain, which makes it ideal for use in restaurants where hygiene is of significant concern. The heavy-duty and sleek look is the other major befits of stainless steel kitchen utilities. Now you know why most of the restaurant kitchen equipment, starting from the refrigeration unit to the sinks are typically made with stainless steel.  

However, all stainless steel is not the same. Depending on the other elements mixed with iron to produce steel, the properties of the alloy differ considerably. Type 304 stainless steel is commonly used in the foodservice industry. So, while you are buying a stainless steel shelf or stainless steel sinks or other utilities, make sure that it is made of the right stainless steel type.

Vented or Solid

The style of the shelf is the other factor to consider. The two popular shelving styles in the foodservice industry are – vented and solid. While one is often preferred above the other for specific purposes, both the types come with their pros and cons.

  • Vented Shelves

These units come with pipe or wire shelves that promote air circulation and works great for drying utensils and dishes. The vented pattern is often preferred for storing perishable items, as it supports better air circulation. The less weight contributes to easy installation, loading and unloading. The negative side is, they are more difficult to clean. Spillage is another issue. If anything stored on the rack spills or leaks, it will be spread on the floor or other items below it.

  • Solid Shelves

It comes with one solid rack, is easy to maintain and clean. Any spillage is held within the frame, thus making cleaning easy. Items of any size can be stored on the solid shelves as there is no risk of anything slipping through. The problem is, these utilities do not have the room for air circulation, which might lead to degradation in the quality of perishable items. It is also not appropriate for storing freshly washed dishes and utensils. 

Most of the commercial kitchens, use both the varieties for different purposes. You should consider your purpose and decide to pick as per your needs. 

Shelving pattern

Commercial shelving is typically available in mobile and stationary models. Some models come precisely in the structure to be installed, or with all the parts in the same kit, while for some units, you might need to buy the different components individually. The second variety gives much flexibility, and one can add legs with castors or legs with disk feet to use them as a mobile or stationary unit, as per their unique needs.

The stationary models cannot be moved, which might make loading and unloading a bit difficult, and you need to decide their location when you are designing the layout of the kitchen. They can be best utilized for long term storage of benchtop catering equipment or other items. Mobile units give more flexibility when it comes to loading and unloading, but they need to be handled with care to avoid any chance of accidents.

Shelving type

It is crucial to decide which type of shelving will fit best into your requirements. Some of the popular types used in restaurants include,

Wall-mounted shelves

These are ideal for small spaces and can be installed close to hand as per the need. You can easily organize a small room with proper wall-mounted shelving units and keep things neat. You can install these units close to the gas cooktops to keep the ladle, tongs, and spoons well organized and within easy reach. The problem with the wall-mounted type is that they are completely stationary. As these are wall-mounted, there might be some size and weight restrictions as well.

Over shelves

These units are for mounting on the top of benches. They come with flanged feet to ensure a solid grip on the base and are available in single tier and double tier versions. These are great for using the vertical space in the storeroom without spending floor area. Over shelves can be used for a wide range of purposes, starting from storing the utensils to raw vegetables and supplies, use it as per your need.

Under shelves

Under shelves are designed to utilize the space under a table or stainless steel bench. You can use these racks for storing produce, utensils, and other items. The only problem is that you need to bend to pick the items from it. So, instead of keeping smaller things that you need frequently, these are more apt for storing raw produce and bulk items required less often.

Apart from the above, there can be different types of speciality shelving, such as security shelving, wine shelving, etc. You should pick a particular style or opt for a combination of the different types to best serve your purpose.

Weight capacity

The weight capacity is another important spec to consider. There is often a recommended weight limit for a particular shelving unit. More to the point, adding castors to the racks can compromise the weight carrying capacity considerably. Heavy-duty shelves are capable of holding more weight. So, before you buy, check out the weight capacity of the unit.  

If you are not sure about which shelving solution will best meet your needs, consult with your commercial kitchen equipment supplier for more details.    

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