One of the workhorses of any restaurant is the refrigeration system that restaurant owners put in place. A competent system is integral to the freshness of your food, and customers come in for the freshest food available, so it's worth putting in the investment into commercial refrigerators versus the kind made for the home.
A commercial will make life easier for your kitchen staff and ensure that your clients get the quality of food they deserve. But you must do adequate research before making any large purchases for your refrigeration needs. This complete guide will help you decide on getting the next restaurant coolers that will serve you many years down the line.
Think About the Types of Commercial Refrigerators
First, you must consider what kind of refrigeration systems you will need within your kitchen, and possibly even out of it. There are plenty of options available to choose from, and your choice will depend on necessity.
- Reach-in refrigerators - the most commonly available and are designed for the kitchen. This goes for even the glass door types, as those are made so that staff can monitor the food throughout its use in the kitchen. There are options for restaurant freezers in restaurant refrigeration also, with reach-in refrigerators also offering a dual-temperature system.
- Pass-through refrigerator - functions similarly to a commercial reach-in cooler but has doors on either of two sides for smaller spaces and easier access.
- Worktop refrigerators - also work towards more productivity as their tops can function as workspaces, while the food is stored below.
- Walk-in coolers - For restaurants, a walk-in cooler is a bigger investment you can make if you need to store large quantities of food, usually meant to be frozen. If you have plenty of space, then you could benefit greatly from a walk-in cooler refrigeration system.
- Under-counter refrigerators - can be used to hold smaller quantities of products in areas where you would like to add productivity where space may be too small. This makes it suitable for front-of-house operations as well. Other front-of-house options include merchandiser refrigerators for things like sodas, beers, and other drinks. You could even bring in a cake or deli displays.
Think about what you need with regard to your restaurant, as not every type of refrigerator will be suitable for your purposes.
Consider Brands and Warranties
After determining which kinds of refrigerators you need, you now have to look into brands. There are plenty available on the market, but that also depends on what your budget is.
Generally speaking, something that is of industry-standard will tend to be more on the pricey side. Some brands tend to go all-out on providing the best quality products available, and will thus be more expensive. Others can offer a great balance between quality and price.
Depending on the capabilities of your budget, you could have myriad options available to you. We think it's good to strike a balance between something from a reliable brand that you know will be durable, without having to break the bank. Then again, you do get what you pay for in this sense, so try not to skimp too much.
When choosing a brand, check out the warranties offered. A longer warranty generally means that a brand is more confident in the quality of their products. This may actually be the best deciding factor in the durability of a product.
Get something with a years-long warranty to ensure that your equipment is working well many years down the line, with the option to get things fixed quickly if anything goes awry. It's a good, stable investment to make.
Fine-tune The Details
Lastly, think about the details when you purchase your restaurant refrigeration equipment. You should only be purchasing something that is thick gauge stainless steel both in and out, for maximum durability and ease of cleaning. Look into the insulation, as well, and do your research on which brands offer heavy-duty foam insulation.
When deciding on the door type, you should be focusing entirely on recessed door handles instead of those which are barred. Considering the amount your staff will be opening and closing the doors, bar handles will tend to wear over time, and eventually break. One less thing to worry about repairing can save you a lot of frustration in the long run.
You can also consider reach-in refrigerators, where the condenser will be mounted. There are top and bottom-mounted condenser systems. Top-mounted units do not trap dust, dirt, and debris as much as bottom-mount units do. However, bottom-mounted units make for easier cleaning and offer the added bonus of being able to use the top for storage.
Consider the size of your refrigeration systems. Think not just about the floor area they will take up, but also what kind of food will be stored inside them. Full-size pans may need to be stored, so look for something with ample space. Also, look for refrigerators with locks, and lighting to make looking for products more convenient.
While there are plenty of options available on the market, and making a good choice can be confusing, buying refrigerators for commercial and restaurant use does not have to be taxing. We hope that keeping these points in mind will help you make your choice with greater ease.