Commercial Refrigeration Tips for Restaurants.

Refrigeration equipment is a big investment for business owners and this article will focus on refrigeration tips for restaurants.

The importance of refrigeration equipment in restaurants can’t be overstated. Maintaining your commercial refrigerator and freezer units is critical because they are your operation’s backbone. The more you know about how they work, the better you’ll be able to manage them and make sure they’re running at peak performance all year round.

Tip 1 – Define your needs before shopping for a unit.

The first step in purchasing a commercial refrigerator is defining your needs before shopping. This will help you narrow down the options available and eliminate those that don’t match your requirements.

It’s also wise to research the products on the market and talk with experts, such as HVAC contractors, who can give recommendations based on their expertise in this area.

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Before purchasing a new unit, make sure that:

  • You know what size unit you need: A good rule of thumb is to figure out how many cubic feet of storage space you need per day or hour (depending on how often an item will be removed from storage). For example, if customers are going through 100 pounds of ice daily, 100 pounds divided by 365 days gives us 2 pounds per day times three because three dimensions need refrigerated air (forward/backward – left/right). In other words: 2 x 3 = 6 cubic feet per day x 365 days = 2185 CF
  • You have enough space: Commercial refrigeration units come in different sizes, so make sure yours fits into your designated area.
  • The cost doesn’t exceed budget limitations.

Tip 2 – Reduce food waste by choosing the right size walk-in when replacing or repairing your unit.

  • If you have too much space, you will be wasting food as it goes bad in areas that are not being used.
  • Conversely, if your walk-in is too small for what you need to store, you may throw out more food than necessary because it won’t fit in the space available.

Tip 3 – If you are replacing or repairing an existing unit, consider how to make it work best.

You may be replacing or repairing an existing unit. In either case, it’s important to think about how to use the space best given. If your restaurant has a large kitchen with walk-in refrigerators, consider whether you will need a larger one for serving food and drinks to customers and cooling down cooking ingredients.

If so, consider where it will fit in your kitchen’s layout before purchasing.

If you have limited space or need more refrigerated storage than could fit inside a standard-sized unit, then look at open cases vs closed cases — an open case works well when there is no room for an extra door on top.

Tip 4 – Consider whether an open or closed case is best for your store.

  • Open-case units are less expensive, but they are not as efficient. They also create a higher risk of food contamination.
  • Closed-case units are more expensive but use less energy and produce a lower risk of contamination. They should be considered for high-volume stores with many people handling the cases simultaneously.

Tip 5 – Have your local HVAC contractor perform annual preventive maintenance on refrigeration units.

As a restaurant manager, you know keeping your refrigeration units operating efficiently is important. If you are unsure what needs to be done to your refrigeration units, contact a local contractor in Palm Beach County, Broward County, and surrounding South Florida areas. A good HVAC contractor will have the knowledge required to perform annual preventive maintenance on your unit.

During this process, they will inspect all of the unit’s parts and ensure everything is in good working order. Some things they will look at include:

  • Cleaning the coils inside and outside of the system.
  • Checking for a proper refrigerant charge.
  • Inspect fan motors (compressor and condenser) for correct operation.
  • Inspecting condenser coils for leaks or corrosion damage.
  • Inspecting evaporator coils for cracks or damage.
  • Checking thermostats.
  • Checking capillary tubes.

Tip 6 – Keep the coils clean.

Keeping your coils clean is important in every commercial refrigeration unit but especially in a freezer. A dirty coil can cause ice to form on your freezer’s back wall, reducing its efficiency and increasing maintenance costs.

You should clean the coils at least once per month or as needed, but don’t use chemicals to wash them off — they may damage the coating on your unit. It’s best to simply use hot water and a soft cloth to wipe away any grime that’s accumulated over time.

If there is ice on one side of your unit’s coils (as shown in the picture above), then it means that part of those coils has been blocked by frost buildup from condensation forming inside your refrigerator. The ice insulation will cause your refrigerator to run more, causing it to use more energy and costing you money.

If a coil is blocked by frost buildup, unplug the unit and let it sit for 24 hours before cleaning it with hot water and a soft cloth.

Bottom Line.

The key takeaway for you as a business owner should be that refrigeration equipment is an investment, and it’s important to understand these tips before buying or repairing your unit. You should also make sure that the HVAC contractor performs regular maintenance on refrigeration units so that they will last longer and run more efficiently.

Want to purchase new units or installation? Let’s talk. (561) 303-7303.