From refrigerated counters and cabinets to saladettes and blast chillers, the refrigeration equipment you employ in your commercial kitchen is key to your company’s success, as it gives you the ability to keep food fresh and bacteria-free. However, in order to get the most out of your commercial refrigeration units, and ensure you get a product that’s not going to dramatically add to your kitchen’s running costs, you need to make sure you find the right commercial refrigeration units for sale. Unlike hobs or ovens, you’ll almost never put your refrigeration unit on stand by or switch it off.
But how do you pick the right commercial refrigeration units for your commercial kitchen? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to this issue, so it’s highly recommended that you go for an application-specific approach. In order to do that, there are a couple of important factors that you need to consider, such as the capacity, size and energy efficiency rating of the unit.
It should go without saying that the primary function of commercial refrigeration equipment is to keep your produce at the desired temperature, whether frozen or cool. But in order to do that effectively, there needs to be enough capacity inside the unit to keep the desired amount of products as well as to allow sufficient airflow around it to maintain the needed temperature. If you overload the unit, air won’t circulate and the produce is at risk of not being cool enough to retain its freshness, ultimately spoiling much quicker. Temperature variations are considered the main cause of produce spoilage, but high-grade units feature intelligent air circulation systems to combat this issue and help maintain a constant temperature, regardless of how many times the unit has been opened and closed.
Besides the capacity, the physical size of the unit itself is something that needs to be considered. In commercial kitchens, space is scarce, and it should be utilised optimally. Luckily, commercial refrigeration products are extremely versatile and come in a wide range of styles, including stand-alone cabinets, refrigerated drawers, under-counter units, etc. So no matter the size of your kitchen, there’s probably a suitable commercial refrigeration unit for you.
As briefly aforementioned, refrigeration is probably the only piece of commercial kitchen equipment expected to operate 24/7. In fact, it accounts for almost a third of the entire energy consumption of a commercial kitchen, meaning its energy efficiency plays a crucial role in the buying process. The higher the energy efficiency rating of the unit, the cheaper it’s going to be to run. However, keep in mind that the more efficient the unit, the more expensive it will be.
There are several types of commercial refrigeration products, here are some of the most popular options.
Upright refrigeration cabinets are probably the most recognisable units. They offer great capacity with a low footprint, and they offer flexible configurations thanks to their movable shelves which enable regularly changing produce and evolving menus. There are single and double-door models. Double-door cabinet models offer a large capacity, making them ideal for commercial kitchens with a high turnover of covers.
Professional kitchens that don’t have enough floor space can take advantage of refrigerated counters and pair them with upright cabinets or use them on their own in order to maximise their available footprint. The top of these units can be used as a workspace for preparing ingredients.
Refrigeration tables are a great alternative for cabinets, as they offer chefs the opportunity to store all of their ingredients in easy-to-access chilled compartments right above the work surface and in refrigerated drawers or cabinets below the counter. That being said, these compact units are very functional, making them ideal for smaller commercial kitchens.
Blast chillers have become one of the cornerstones of modern kitchens. They allow chefs to take food directly out of the oven and chill it quickly to prevent further cooking, and to make sure the ingredients keep the desired texture and taste, before reheating them at a later time. Blast chillers are essential for kitchens that have to meet a high volume of covers. Further, they’re essential for preparing many different desserts, and they can be found in different areas of a commercial kitchen.
Once you get the best commercial refrigeration solution for your kitchen, it’s important to properly look after it. Refrigeration units have a high level of product turnover, and even though there are specific procedures to ensure similar products are stored together, there’s still a chance of residue or left-overs to remain after the produce is gone. That being said, keeping the refrigeration unit clean with the help of degreasing and sanitising sprays is a foolproof way to keep it in the proper working condition for years to come.