Guide to the different types of commercial refrigeration

Waiter Using Commercial Refrigerator

Guide to the different types of commercial refrigeration

KES Facilities
Friday, June 7th, 2019

Running a business requires plenty of careful consideration when it comes to the various appliances you need to invest in. Refrigeration plays a vital role in the successful running of your business, to make sure your food and drinks stay fresh, chilled and good enough to serve to your customers. That is why we have created a guide to highlight the different types of commercial refrigeration available on the market, along with the various advantages and drawbacks.

This guide should prove useful for when the time comes for you to invest in commercial refrigeration for your business, to make sure you choose the right appliance for your requirements.

First things first – assess your refrigeration needs

Before beginning that all important search for commercial refrigeration, it makes sense to think about your business’ needs beforehand, to whittle down the variety on offer to a select few appliances that are most suitable for you.

  • How much refrigerated storage do you need? If you’re running a large busy restaurant, you’ll require much more refrigerated storage than a small country cafe, for example. Investing in a commercial refrigerator that’s excessive for your business needs could result in hefty and unnecessary energy costs.
  • Will your refrigerator be positioned front of house of back of house? Some commercial refrigerators are much better suited to be seen by your customers, so pay close attention to this during your search.
  • Will you require more than one type of refrigerator? It could be that you need large amounts of refrigeration but only certain shapes and sizes of appliance will fit in the space. Have a think about the space and its measurements ahead of your search, to have a better idea of the types of refrigerator to invest in for that space.
  • Get to grips with energy ratings – running commercial refrigeration certainly comes with its costs, so it’s vital that you invest in appliances with a high energy rating to keep costs down.

The most common types of commercial refrigeration

Here you can find an overview of some of the most common types of commercial refrigeration and what benefits they can bring to a business. Use this information to narrow down your search to the right types of refrigeration for your own business.

Reach-In Refrigerators

Reach-in commercial refrigerators are the closest in appearance to your standard domestic refrigerator, but pack a lot more space and power. Comprising of a tall upright design with multiple shelves and sections inside for storage, these commercial refrigerators are a great addition to any back of house set up.

With reach-in refrigerators, you’re able to store away a great amount of food and drink at one time, so it’s a great option for a smaller to medium sized businesses. You’re able to invest in ones with castors if you might need to move it about from time to time, and some even come with dual-zoned features, allowing you to store items at different temperatures in different areas of the appliance.

Walk-In Refrigerators

These are the largest type of commercial refrigeration available on the market, although they vary greatly in size, depending on a business’ specific needs. With that in mind, all kinds of businesses can make use of walk-in refrigerators – you just need to find the right size appliance for your space.

With shelving all around the sides and with enough space to add shelving in the middle to create aisles within the space, your business certainly won’t struggle for cold storage when investing in a walk-in refrigerator.

Undercounter Refrigerators

Undercounter refrigerators consist of cold storage drawers positioned underneath a preparation counter. Most businesses choose to use these drawers to store meat and fish along or close to the cooking line, but they’re also great for cold storage in smaller spaces.

Different sizes of undercounter refrigerators are available on the market, most of which are designed for different food preparation needs.

Display Refrigerators

These purpose-made commercial refrigerators are perfect for front of house visibility. With large glass front doors and built in lighting, display refrigerators are the perfect appliance for any food or drinks you’re trying to promote in their original form. Whether that’s sandwiches, cakes or bottled beer, for example, display refrigerators are a great investment for your front of house set up.

Bar Refrigerators

You will find these types of commercial refrigerators in most bars and restaurants you visit. Some of designed to sit low to the ground and underneath surfaces, whereas others are designed to reach waist-level. The more expensive bar refrigerators come in stainless steel, however they are more likely to dent than their cheaper stainless black vinyl alternatives.

Make the most of your space by combining different refrigerators

The vast majority of commercial refrigerators can be suitable for all kinds of businesses, no matter how large or small. Their versatility makes it very easy to be able to combine a few different styles to create a cold storage set up that’s just right for your business needs.

Take a look at your space and think about where you could fit in commercial refrigeration. Whether that’s making room for a reach-in refrigerator towards the back, a couple of undercounter refrigerators in your cooking space, and a couple of display refrigerators in the front – it’s extremely simple to add a number of different appliances in your workspace.

What maintenance you should expect to have on your commercial refrigeration?

To really make the most of your investment, it pays to keep on top of maintaining your commercial refrigeration. Doing so will prevent any expensive but avoidable faults and repairs, and will keep the appliance running for a good number of years.

Here is what you can do on a daily or weekly basis, to keep your commercial refrigeration in top condition:

  • Optimise the temperature and the defrost frequency
  • Keep the area around the refrigerator clean and clear
  • Remember to turn off the lights in walk-in refrigerators when you leave
  • Clean the interior using recommendations from the user manual
  • Keep an eye on the seal on the doors

Carried out every 3 to 6 months, these additional maintenance checks will help to prolong the lifetime of your refrigeration. We would recommend having a professional come in to perform these checks.

  • Inspect the condensing and evaporating coils – including cleaning them
  • Clean out ice makers
  • Inspect the condition of the fan motor
  • Look over all parts for any signs of wear
  • Clean the fan blades and gaskets
  • Lubricate the hinges
  • Check the electrics
  • Test and calibrate the thermometers

Seek advice and recommendations from experts in the field

If you’re seriously considering investing in commercial refrigeration for your business, taking the time and effort to get it right first time will save you a great deal of hassle further down the line.

If you’re new to the world of commercial refrigeration, you’ll benefit greatly from the advice and support of professionals in the industry. They’ll be able to look over your business space and find out all about your specific requirements, before recommending the best types of commercial refrigeration for you and where to position it within your space.

This guide should give you a good start into finding the right commercial refrigeration for your business. With enough research and planning, you’ll soon have cold storage space for your business that’s just right for its needs.