If you have a need for commercial refrigeration, it’s best to play it cool! More importantly, keep it cool!
Proper refrigeration is an essential component of any food service business. It’s important if you are operating a cafeteria, a 5-star restaurant, a food truck, or a dining hall. In any of these circumstances, the proper refrigeration system preserves your product at the appropriate temperatures to prevent waste. The right commercial refrigeration system will also protect the taste and ensure the quality your clients deserve.
Finding the Right Size Commercial Refrigeration Unit for You
The commercial refrigeration unit that you buy will end up saving you money by reducing the amount of food that is thrown out. Running your commercial refrigeration unit costs you money through the power it uses. This is why it’s so important to find the exact sized unit to cover all of your needs. If you choose a system that is too large, you are paying to cool the empty space. If you purchase one that is too small, you will end up losing product to waste. It is critical to look at every aspect of the business to ensure you are putting the money into the right-sized commercial refrigeration unit.
Ask Yourself …
- Does it have an adequate amount of storage space? Try to consider your future potential needs in addition to how much space you currently require.
- Does it have the required amount of shelves and large item storage space?
- Does it have an adequate temperature adjustment system? Laws require that you store certain food items at specific temperatures. Make sure that your refrigeration system will properly suit your needs.
- Does it come with maintenance and replacement warranties? Having your refrigeration system fail can put a huge dent in your profits. Look into what warranties the manufacturer offers before making a purchase.
- How much energy does it require? Your energy costs will be an ongoing expense as long as your business is operating. Choosing an energy efficient system now can lead to huge savings over time.
- What style best suits your needs? There are a variety of different designs for commercial refrigeration units such as an upright cooler with doors, a counter cooler that sits low to the ground, a sliding door cooler, and a walk-in unit.
Size of Area
One of the first things you want to look at, is the size that you need to refrigerate. Ensure you have the length, width and height of the area. Once you have those dimensions, decide what temperature you plan to keep the fridge at. This will be based on health regulations, as well as the products you will be storing. Also take into consideration the area that you are in, and the weather patterns. This includes humidity and hot temperatures in the summer. The warmer conditions you have, the more pressure there will be on the commercial refrigeration unit you install.
Cooling empty space is one thing. However, the measurements must consider the inventory in the fridge as well. Will the space be used mainly for cooling fruits and vegetables? How about meats and cheese? How long will it take to load all of these items into the space?
Another point to take into consideration is the building’s insulation capabilities. You will want to investigate the thickness of the insulation. Don’t forget the external temperatures too, particularly if the unit is on an exterior wall.
Other factors to consider are:
- How many doors into the unit do you need?
- What is the air flow like outside of these doors?
- How often will staff open the door(s)?
- Do you require an exterior door for delivery?
Reducing Energy Usage
There are several ways you can reduce the amount of energy used. You don’t have to sacrifice the flavour of the food though. Three areas are outlined below:
The Right Equipment is the Best Start
When you are looking to buy or to replace any kitchen equipment, make sure to look for a model that is Energy Star certified. Research has proven that a business can save up to $15,000 per year by filling the kitchen area with only Energy Star appliances.
Maintenance is Key
If purchasing a new piece of equipment is not in the budget at this time, you can reduce the energy expenses by maintaining your existing equipment. Check if you happen to have leaky gaskets. Do the doors on the commercial refrigerator or freezer not close quite right? Are there missing knobs on the appliances? All of these will add up to energy being wasted. It’s so important to take the time to repair these issues. You can do so personally, or by having them professionally serviced. The expenses you pay upfront will be worth it once you account for all of the savings in the future!
There is no such thing as buying new commercial refrigeration equipment that is cheap. Therefore, it pays to keep your system running properly for as long as possible. Purchasing high quality equipment upfront plays a huge part in this. There are other things you can do on a weekly or even a monthly basis to maintain your system. Whether you have reach-in refrigerators, or walk-in coolers and freezers, your commercial refrigeration system is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your business. In the end, it’s up to you to make sure it’s taken care of and used optimally.
This is something to think about when setting up your area. Having the grill or the fryer right next to the commercial refrigerator makes a lot of sense from a workstation perspective, but it is not doing the energy conservation efforts any favours. You can consider all options to the placement, or even have an experienced installer offer you their assistance. You want to be able to cut the expenses without cutting your productivity.
Whether you are in a large business or a small business that requires commercial refrigeration, you will definitely want to decrease your costs as much as possible. You now have a few extra tools in your tool belt to choose the right type of refrigeration unit, as well as some tips on how to save energy and money!