Keeping cool is key in a commercial kitchen, but getting temperatures down can push outgoings up if equipment isn’t up to the task.
Firms specialising in commercial refrigeration told SLTN there are some key features operators should look out for when purchasing a new unit.
Glenn Roberts, managing director of Gram UK, said picking the right refrigerator is “vital” and knowing the benefits that modern equipment can bring “is key”.
“Technology within the industry is continuing to evolve and now operators have the luxury of choosing from a wide range of energy efficient products,” said Roberts.
All refrigeration firms agreed that energy efficiency is key. When purchasing a new unit, Nick Williams of Precision Refrigeration warned operators to be wary of the false economy of a low up-front cost.
“Refrigeration equipment is running 24 hours a day, year-round, so to make sure you are getting the best value for money, look at total cost of ownership – purchase price plus energy cost over the unit’s usable life,” said Williams.
There are many energy efficient fridges on the market now, but not all will be fit for purpose for every venue.
A spokesman for QED said operators should take temperature needs into account when purchasing new equipment.
“Ensure that the commercial refrigeration you choose will be suitable to work in the ambient temperature of the kitchen in question,” he said.
“Choose the correct temperature of the commercial refrigeration in relation to the food items that will be stored.
“A good quality storage refrigerator will have an external temperature display. For instance, fresh meat products should always be stored at -2°C to 2°C in order to comply with current legislation.”
When assessing whether a fridge is fit for purpose or not, Simon Frost, chair of the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA), reminded operators to take size into consideration, adding that there are a variety of options available to the trade.
“Space is often an issue and to solve it there are a variety of slimline versions of standard fridges, freezers and prep stations, which can be fitted into compact areas,” said Frost.
The right fridge for the job shouldn’t just be ideal on day one – it needs to be maintained, said Malcolm Harling of Williams Refrigeration.
“It is very important that refrigeration is easy to clean because of potential food contamination, for HACCP compliance and also to prolong the life of the equipment,” he said.