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Doors vs Drawers: What is the best option for a professional kitchen?

The main aim of a chef is to produce delicious food, time after time.

When the pressure is on and customers are waiting, speed is of the essence to ensure orders are delivered quickly while quality is maintained, reducing waste and keeping customers happy.

To get this right the correct layout of a kitchen workspace is a top priority. It helps service run smoothly, reduces wasted time moving around the kitchen and minimizes the risk of accidents and waste through trips, slips and dropped ingredients.

Accessing ingredients ready for preparation, storing prepared food and using ingredients during service means the number of times a chef visits refrigeration equipment can rack up into the hundreds during a busy shift. This makes robust, reliable and accessible refrigeration a must for any chef worth their salt, and like many large pieces of food-service equipment, different configurations and styles can impact how equipment performs.

In this piece we look at the options of drawers and doors in kitchen refrigeration, and which option is best for the busy chef.

Doors – what are they good for?

An upright storage unit with a large door is ideal for keeping ingredients ready for preparation, or pans of prepped ingredients ready for service. The contents are easily accessible and visible, making upright TGN or T-Series models ideal solution for storage, but a chef needs more accessible refrigerated storage which is closer to the preparation areas and cooking station.

That’s where base and undercounter storage is most often found in operation. Sitting comfortably underneath countertops, ovens and hobs, undercounter storage makes it easier for a chef to access ingredients during service and move them straight to where they need to be, either for cooking or garnishing for that final touch before being taken out and placed before the customer.

Create a visual impact

Doors allow storage of bigger items that need to be accessed in bulk and can offer greater visibility into the unit. Glass doors further boost visibility, allowing a chef to see the contents of a unit easily, without compromising the internal temperature of the unit by opening doors. Together with striking LED lighting, they can also create visual impact for customers, as can be seen in the solutions that True supplies to fresh and healthy concept La Place throughout Belgium and the Netherlands.

However, doors can also mean more physical bending and lifting to access stock, and it can be difficult to access items quickly. In some cases, this can mean doors are potentially not ideal during a busy service, so what are the other options?

The pull of drawers

During peak service times drawers can make viewing and accessing ingredients much simpler, especially when you get the configuration just right. The TCR range from True is designed to fit gastronorm pans, so you can take ingredients from storage into preparation and ease movement when you need frequent access to ingredients.

A great feature of draws is the instant accessibility and visibility of ingredients when you need them.

Undercounter units with drawers have the added benefit of being located near the action, allowing chefs the ease of accessing ingredients right where they are needed. Perfect for service from a busy burger bar right to high-end fine dining. In addition, drawered refrigerated bases and undercounters save space in tight kitchens and help avoid congestion in the kitchen during peak hours. Less collisions between wait staff and prep chefs means less stress for everyone in the kitchen.

A downside to drawers is a reduction in the volume of storage compared to units with doors and opening and closing can be more frequent due to reduced visibility (no glass doors here!) meaning maintaining consistent temperatures is more difficult.

Best of both worlds

Options of doors or draws both have their benefits and drawbacks in the professional kitchen. Often the choice comes down to the preference of chefs and the style of cuisine they serve. Considerations around the size of the kitchen, and the number of chefs in the brigade, will also impact the kind of equipment available.

True Refrigeration have understood the demands of chefs to create the innovative TCR range, a fully-customizable undercounter unit that offers the flexibility of doors or drawers to suit the demands of any kitchen.

What is the best option for a busy professional kitchen? It’s up to the staff that use the equipment. Let True show you the various options from our range to let you and your employees make their own decisions. In the meantime, for inspiration you can take a look at the TCR range from True.

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