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All about restaurant fridges and freezers

All About Restaurant Fridges and Freezers

Posted by | 21-12-2021

Commercial refrigeration plays an important role in your foodservice operation. You need to ensure food and drink are maintained at safe temperatures to reduce risk for foodborne illnesses, while also maintaining the quality of the food you sell. Of course, there is also the cost of food spoilage to consider.

If you are looking for the best commercial fridge and freezer solutions for your business, there are many units available. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about restaurant fridges and freezers.

Reach-in Refrigerators and Freezers

As the name implies, reach-in refrigerators offer a cooled cabinet accessed by a door to store common restaurant items such as dairy, fish, raw meats, cooked products, and other perishable items. You can choose between single, two, and three-door models to suit your needs. It is very important to pick the right sized unit, as if you pack a smaller fridge too much it interferes with efficiency, which can lead to food spoilage and also increase risk of bacteria growth. If you choose a fridge that is too big, you are wasting space and money.

You might consider a two-door commercial fridge, as they don’t take up too much space, and also allow you to organize your food logically with a section for your raw items and then a section for cooked or perishable ingredients. It is a happy medium that can provide ideal service for the average restaurant.

Another option is to select the suitable amount of one-door reach-ins to help sort inventory, while also providing back-up should one of the units break. Considerations for reach-ins include:

  • Number of doors to meet inventory needs.
  • How much space you have for your commercial reach-in unit.  
  • Whether you need a bottom-mounted compressor if you have hot ambient temperatures in your kitchen or a top-mounted condenser if your fridge is stored in a cooler area.

The reach-in unit is the most common in small-to-medium restaurants. 

Walk-in Coolers and Freezers

Walk-in coolers are much larger and, literally, are like a cold room for storage. If you store large quantities of perishables, or have a busy bar at your restaurant, the walk-in is ideal for storing things like kegs. They can also be used indoors or out, which means if you have space challenges, this might be a good option.

A major consideration is whether you plan to use the walk-in for general storage as well. If this is the case, it might not be the right solution as it isn’t made to be open and closed often. If you have a lot of bulk food, and also some extra space in the kitchen, you might consider a walk-in for bulk storage and then a reach-in for your daily access. Some considerations when looking at the walk-in cooler include:

  • Do you have enough bulk items that require a larger fridge solution?
  • Do you constantly access food that would be stored in the walk-in?
  • Do you have space for a walk-in, or will it have to go outside?

You also have the choice of custom designed or prefabricated units if you have special space considerations.

Prep Tables

Fast food restaurants like pizza joints and delis often opt for a prep table to store refrigerated food items so cooks can quickly grab what they need. You can choose options that come with doors or drawers so when you close up shop, you don’t have to worry about putting the food away. Some considerations for prep tables include:

  • The depth of the counter required.
  • Style of pan rail for workflow: two rows or three rows.
  • Self-storage for convenience.

This is a must for fast-food restaurants, or restaurants that offer a lot of customized foods with many toppings such as Mexican food, gourmet burgers, sandwiches, and pizza.

Undercounter Refrigerators

Undercounter refrigeration can serve many purposes from cold-drink access at bars or take-out counters, to quick access to smaller ingredients like salad dressings in a line kitchen. They take up less space and conveniently fit under the counter. Some considerations include:

  • Number of doors or drawers.
  • Whether you want doors or drawers.
  • Improved workflow for food prep and service.
  • Convenience for bars or take-out counters.
  • The height of your counters.

This is a convenience item that is not always needed, but often appreciated by staff.

Glass Door Freezers/Merchandisers

If you offer take-out or self-serve beverages, this is a must. This is ideal for grab-and-go items as well such as salads or pre-packed ice cream. Some considerations for glass door freezers and merchandisers include:

  • Door configuration for swinging or sliding doors.
  • Number of doors.
  • Adjustable shelves to accommodate different heights of products.

This is an excellent option to improve customer service, while also displaying items to encourage impulse purchases.

Back Bar Coolers

If your restaurant has a bar, the back bar cooler is the best way to keep cold drinks handy such as beer and wine. Much like an undercounter fridge, these are smaller fridges, but in this case, they are designed specifically to hold bottles and cans. Some things to consider include:

  • Number of bottles and cans required.
  • If you want a stainless steel countertop.
  • Design of the cooler to suit your restaurant or bar décor.
  • Glass doors to show off the wine and beer labels.

You can also choose either free-standing models or those designed to be installed beneath or on the counter. If merchandising isn’t a factor, a bottle cooler might be better for your needs.

Chef Bases

Chef bases include a worktop surface, thus making them an excellent option in very busy kitchens. They can streamline workflow, offering a place to store frequently used ingredients so they aren’t left sitting on the counter. Cooks have easy access to ingredients, which are kept at safe temperatures. Some considerations include:

  • Size
  • A marine edge to contain spills
  • Temperature controls

The easy access drawers make this an excellent choice, and can be combined as freezers and fridges. They are ideal for pastry stations where ice cream or whipping cream might be accessed often.

Other Options

Other options include:

  • Worktop refrigerators
  • Drop-in coolers
  • Countertop refrigerators
  • Draft beer systems
  • Commercial wine coolers
  • Bakery display cases
  • Deli cases
  • Sushi cases
  • Milk coolers
  • Glass shillers
  • Blast chillers
  • Novelty ice cream freezers

As you can see, you can find a fridge or freezer solution for just about anything. If you would like more information about used glass door freezers or other refurbished commercial fridge and freezer options, speak to our team at Ancaster Food Equipment today. You can call us at 866-711-5486.

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