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How to Choose the Right Restaurant Shelving

Aug 17th 2022 - Monica Cunanan

How to Choose the Right Restaurant Shelving

Transform your crowded freezer, warehouse/dish room, or another storage space into an organized area with heavy-duty commercial restaurant shelves. They're also useful for storing important ingredients and supplies when they're not in use. In this article, we talk about the different types of restaurant shelvings you may want to consider in your commercial kitchen or food establishment.

The Types of Restaurant Shelving

Chrome Shelving

  • Chrome-plated steel shelving units are great when storing items in dry conditions, such as warehouses, garages, or retail stores.

  • If exposed to humidity for long periods of time, prone to rust.
  • The chrome finish of these wire shelving systems is designed to improve visibility and ventilation. They may or may not include a clear epoxy coating. Many of them are NSF-Certified Steel Wire Shelving.


  • Epoxy-coated shelves are more resistant to humid environments than other shelves.

  • There is a wide selection of epoxy coatings available from different manufacturers. All types of epoxy will provide the same excellent protection against rapid corrosion.
  • Black epoxy-coated wire shelving is often used in retail environments or warehouses because of its muted coloring. Green epoxy wire shelving unit is more characteristic of the restaurant/foodservice industries.

Drop Mat Shelving

  • Drop mat shelves combine epoxy-coated wire shelves with removable polymer drop mats Like epoxy shelves, these units are resistant to rust and suitable for damp or humid environments.

  • Drop mats easily detach from the shelf units and can be placed directly into the dishwasher for a quicker clean.
  • These restaurant shelving units are great for storing things where they need to be cleaned frequently because of their easy-to-clean shelves

Polypropylene / Polymer

  • These corrosion-resistant shelves are made out of polypropylene and won't rust even in the presence of saltwater or seawater.

  • Usually made from metal with an outside layer of plastic or some other type of material that gives them similar strength to normal metal shelves
  • The components are dishwasher safe, so they can be cleaned easily.
  • Many manufacturers offer extended warranty coverage for this kind of shelving unit


  • Antibacterial shelves can be made from any of the materials listed above, but they come pre-treated with an antibacterial agents.

  • The added layer helps protect your shelves from bacteria, mold, mite, and fungus that could potentially contaminate foods or cause unpleasant smells.

Stainless Steel

  • Stainless steel shelves are among the most durable and versatile kinds of shelving available.

  • It has been shown that stainless steel resists rusting even when exposed to harsh environments, including water and high temperatures.
  • From refrigerated food storage in walk-ins to retail use to warehouse shelving, stainless steel is the best choice for any application, purpose, or industry.

Types of Restaurant Shelves

Solid Shelves

Solid shelving units offer an easy way to store large amounts of small items. They're perfect for storing smaller items because they don't allow anything to fall out. Solid shelves are also easier to keep clean because dust and dirt don't get stuck in between the wires. Solid shelves are not the best at keeping things dry as ventilated shelves, so they're best used for storing items that won't be exposed to moisture.

Vented Shelves

Vented shelving units are great options for any type of cold storage application because they promote air circulation throughout the unit for maximum product lifespan. They also provide greater visibility for identifying what items you have in stock. One drawback of vented shelving is that it makes cleaning harder, and doesn't stop items on higher shelves from dripping or spilling onto items on the lower shelves.

Triangle Shelves

Triangular shelves are designed to fit into tight spaces so you don't waste any valuable storage space. These shelves can usually be used with the same type of posts as regular rectangular shelves, but they may require some adjustments.

Shelving Assembly & Mounting Types

Stationary vs Mobile Shelving Unit

  • Stationary posts aren't meant to be transported. You should use these items in areas that are frequently used but not often moved.
  • With mobile posts, you can easily move your shelving units from one location to another. Also, having a mobile unit means that you can easily clean up behind and underneath shelves by rolling it away from the wall and then rolling it back again.

What to Consider When Purchasing Shelving Unit

If you aren't sure whether you should invest in a mobile app or a stationary device, consider these few key points:

  • Space: When there isn't enough room for everything in your kitchen, mobile shelving units may be pushed together to save some space. They can then be pulled apart again when someone needs to use them.
  • Budget: Generally speaking, mobile units are more costly than stationary units.
  • Staff working: You may want to consider asking yourself who will be working at your storage facility before deciding which type of mobile unit would be best for your needs. Because they require manpower to move them, mobile shelving units can be a source of potential risks, especially if you're storing or moving particularly heavy items. It is essential to ensure that your staff knows how to safely operate mobile shelving units.
  • Cleaning & Maintenance: If you plan on using your shelving unit in areas that are regularly cleaned (like walk-in freezers), then you should probably buy a mobile shelving unit. With mobile shelving units, you can easily move your shelves so that floor, walls, and other surfaces can be completely cleaned.

Models Featured: (Mobile) Cambro High-Density Shelving, (Stationary) Cambro Polypropylene Shelving Unit

Not sure which type will be most effective for your business? If you're looking for something that can be customized to fit your specific needs, then you might want to consider purchasing a unit that can be easily changed to meet your changing needs. However, attaching casters to a stationary post to turn it into a mobile stand is not recommended. Some stationary posts don't accept casters, and if you add casters to them, they may void their warranty.

The Different Types of Shelving (Specialty)

Wine Shelving

With wire wine racks, keeping bottles of wine such as Riesling and Merlot is easy and inexpensive. Wine shelves are designed so that they keep bottles upright and angled properly to ensure that the wine stays fresh. They also allow for adequate airflow to prevent the temperature from fluctuating too much.

Wall Mount Shelving

Wall-mounted shelves will help you organize your kitchenware by keeping them out of sight and easy to reach. These stainless steel shelving are durable and they come in a wide range of lengths and widths so they can be used in any room. You can buy shelving specifically designed for storing certain items. For example, microwave shelves let you store small appliances, and glass shelves hold dishes and glasses.

Dunnage Racks

Dunnage Racks are perfect for storing large amounts of ingredients such as flour or sugars. They're available in a wide range of materials, from metal to plastic, as well as in stationary and mobile models. There are a variety of options for dunnage racks including heavy-duty units and standard units.

Security Shelving

When you need to store your employees' valu­able items or sensitive items like high-end liquor, security shelving is a great choice. These units usually lock, but they still let you see their contents through their open windows.

High-Density Shelving

High-density shelving systems are designed to significantly reduce the space needed for conventional storage areas. It actually eliminates the shelf-aisles-and-aisles layout and replaces them with a single movable aisle. You accomplish this by mounting your shelves on a rolling track system so that they can be moved from side to side depending upon which shelf you want to reach. High-density shelving can be a lifesaver for buildings with too much stuff but not enough room.

Cantilever Shelving

Cantilever shelves are a great way to save space. It has a rear support system, so it creates an overhead storage solution without having to drill into the wall. These shelves can be placed above tables or counters to maximize storage space.

Adjustable Shelving

It's easy to adjust and change your displays based on your needs. Adjustable Wire Shelving units offer greater flexibility than other fixed models. It lets you adjust the height of the shelf so that different-sized items can be stored there.

Getting Shelving Units for your business?

Shelving units will be a great addition to your your kitchen in terms of storage and overall efficacy of running your business! It would be a great investment to amp up the quality of your foodservice.

Here at Culinary Depot, we offer choices perfect for outfitting your commercial kitchen or even at home. Contact us today to find out more!