Refrigerated storage for a fast, convenience food service operation is a major link in the overall production system. Because of the prominent role that refrigerated facilities play in coupling the preparation center into a unified, smooth-running entity, a great deal of time and effort should be spent in planning and selecting the equipment. A thorough investigation of the advantages and disadvantages of available units and systems is necessary when selecting these facilities. A slow and painstaking approach will tend to eliminate future time-consuming problems resulting from inadequate refrigerated space and poor locations. Failure to solve them can snarl a smooth-flowing system. In addition, the investment for refrigeration required to meet the needs of the modest establishment is sizable; and although many units are mobile and flexible, once they are installed, the chance of changing their location to improve production is remote.
Commercial Refrigerator and Freezer
Refrigerated storage falls into three general categories: Commercial freezers, commercial refrigerators, and and thawing units. Freezers and refrigerators are available in many sizes, from small under-the-counter refrigerators and work-top types to massive, self-contained walk-in structures. Thawing equipment, the newest addition to refrigerated storage, is an outgrowth of the increased use of convenience foods. These specialty coolers can be adapted from conventional equipment or purchased as separate units. Combination units are available that incorporate freezers and coolers into one entity. The freezer may be placed inside the cooler or located adjacent to it.
Commercial Refrigerator Glass Door
Definitions of Refrigerated Storage
Upright Freezers and chest freezers are low-temperature range units that will maintain an even, steady temperature of 0° F maximum, and not lower than -10° F. The Blast Chiller Flash is a revolutionary kitchen appliance designed to safely cool food. The Blast Chiller Flash uses a burst of cold air for safe cooling, and it does so in just seconds! This means that your food will be cooled through the temperature danger zone where bacteria grows but without any of the risks associated with cooking or freezing.
Commercial refrigerators and coolers are medium-temperature range storage units that hold the temperature at a mean of 38° F, with a minimum of 32° F and maximum of 48° F. Coolers are used for thawing frozen foods, storing meat at 33-38° F; storing dairy products at 38-40° F; and storing vegetables and fruit at 44-48° F.
Thawers are specially designed to maintain a steady even temperature of 40° F, regardless of room temperature or product load. Reverse-cycle refrigeration is employed, so that the refrigerant is used for both cooling and heating. Criteria for the Selection of Refrigerated Equipment The refrigerated equipment field is broad and diverse. New developments and designs are introduced yearly, so that a complex picture faces the trade. Attempting to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages offered by the manufacturer can become a monumental task. Since refrigerated equipment is expensive and once installed is rarely changed, expert advice should be obtained from a refrigeration engineer or restaurant consultant. Regardless of the manufacturer or design, there are a number of basic characteristics and general specifications that should be incorporated into refrigeration to meet the demands of a successful operation.
Commercial Refrigerator and Freezer for Sale
- Walk-in equipment should be easily assembled or reassembled to any size, shape, or configuration. Those with prefabricated or modular panels are advisable so that the unit can be enlarged at any time.
- Operating costs should be evaluated. These costs become part of the fixed overhead.
- Operating controls should be accessible and easy to use.
- Interior space should be at maximum, with no obstructions.
- Ease of sanitation for both the exterior and interior should be a feature. Units should be sealed against vermin.
- Safety features, such as excellent lighting, non-slip floors, a safety lock so that the door can be opened from the interior, sealed explosionproof motors, and waterproof electrical fittings should be included.
- Conformance with all governmental health standards and those of the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) should be a basic requirement.
- Proper moisture balance should be easy to maintain.
- Guarantees and the reputation of the manufacturer should be evaluated. Ease of service and availability of spare parts deserve consideration.
- Insulation must be efficient. This subject is discussed later in the chapter.
- Interior storage facilities must be versatile so that various modular equipment, adjustable shelving, mobile cabinets and other accessories can be accommodated.
- An effective alarm system should be installed. This should include a high and low temperature signal alarm with visible flashing lights.
- Sturdy, reliable thermometers or recording devices should be installed to indicate the average air temperature of the interior. Safeguards should also be installed that ensure the accuracy of the thermometers.
- Defrosting devices should be considered, either automatic or manually activated.
- Doors should be wide enough to allow the passage of mobile trucks and cabinets. Consideration must be given to the direction the door will open, either left, right, or sideways. Doors should have tight seals and heavy-duty, corrosion resistant hardware.
- The floor level of walk-ins should be even with the outer floor.
- The length of time the equipment will maintain its temperature, in case of a prolonged power failure or a malfunction of the mechanical system must be known.
- An evaluation of the cooling capacity of the refrigerator must be determined. Factors for this evaluation include ambient temperature, the numbers of times the doors are opened in a given period, incoming product temperatures and type of product that will be stored. Adequate cooling capacity will provide refrigeration under extreme conditions of kitchen or food truck temperature or humidity.