Today there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of options when it comes to choosing commercial refrigeration equipment for your business. Some will be very good. Others, not so good. Question is, which are which?
Given your commercial refrigeration will be some of the most important – not to mention the most energy-intensive – equipment you’ll have in your kitchen, it pays to invest in the right solutions. We’ve put together the following guide to help.
With so many different systems on the market in 2023, it’s important to consider how each might (or might not) suit your business, both in the way they fit your floorplan and the way you run your kitchen. There are four main choices:
1. UPRIGHT CABINETS
If you’re looking to maximise space, upright fridges like the ever-popular True Refrigeration T-Series are usually the best way to go. Combining small footprints with plenty of height (low ceilings notwithstanding!) they can provide large storage capacities without requiring too much floor space. Single-door ‘slimline’ models can be fit into tight or busy kitchen spaces, while wider double-door models offer even greater capacity. They can generally be positioned close to meal prep areas too.
2. COUNTER FRIDGES
Typically waist high, counter fridges combine undercounter chilled storage with preparation worktops in the same unit. A clever way to maximise your floorspace and provide extra chilled storage without obstructing existing fixtures, they’re a great solution for kitchens with limited working surfaces. Usually made from stainless steel, these surfaces are easy to clean and strong enough to hold other appliances like blenders, mixers or sous vide machines. Hugely customisable, there are more than 550 TCR/F model variations and options ranging from small single door units to large four-door fridges in our TUC range, there’s something for everyone with True Refrigeration counters.
3. PREP FRIDGES
Prep fridges are similar to counter fridges, with the addition of convenient chilled countertop pan storage for frequently-used ingredients, toppings or fillings. Offering even greater versatility in busy kitchens, a prep fridge can speed up food preparation by keeping everything organised in the one place. On the flipside, the reduced worktop space means there may be less room for your appliances. It all depends what you require. You can see the full range of True Refrigeration prep fridges here.
4. DISPLAY FRIDGES
Available in both benchtop and tall freestanding models, display fridges are an excellent way to keep your menu and drink items chilled whilst also showcasing them to your customers. With a wide variety of sizes, heights and capacities to choose from, these units are designed with clear glass doors and interior lighting to really maximise visibility. Some models also offer dual-side access, making them ideal for self-service environments. Positioned correctly, display units are a great way to promote ‘hero’ menu items and encourage impulse purchases in bars, clubs, cafés and snack bars. True Refrigeration offers an extensive range of display cabinets to suit every type of hospitality business.
Two other important factors to consider when buying a new commercial refrigerator are the size and capacity. The size (height, width and length) will usually be dictated by the amount of available space you have. The capacity will depend on the amount of food, drinks or ingredients you’ll need to store at peak service times. You want the unit to be big enough, but not so big that it wastes unnecessary space and energy.
Start by measuring where you’re planning to locate your new unit, and making a list of the items you’ll be storing inside. This should give you a rough idea of the size and capacity you’ll require. It’s also worth remembering most commercial refrigeration units need space between the unit and the walls to allow adequate ventilation. Most manufacturers, including True Refrigeration, recommend keeping a gap of at least 20 centimetres – so it’s important to factor this in this when measuring your available space.
Did you know?
Commercial refrigerators typically quote an Overall Capacity and a Net Capacity. Net Capacity is the key figure, as it’s the total usable space you’ll have for refrigeration and storage.
Commercial refrigerators and freezers are significant investments. Typically they’ll be running 24/7 too. This makes energy efficiency a critical consideration. With advanced lighting, cooling and insulation technologies, True Refrigeration manufactures some the most energy efficient commercial refrigeration products currently available on the market. Whatever brand you choose, always look for units that are Energy Star rated (either here in Australia or in Europe and North America), as these have been independently tested and certified to meet set efficiency standards – something that will help you save money on your energy bills for months and years to come.
Modern commercial refrigerators come with a huge range of additional features and options. These range from built-in lighting, low-E glass, programmable/automatic defrosting and digital temperature monitoring to self-closing doors, lockable doors and caster wheels, making it easier to move the unit around your kitchen. Like buying a new car, they can all seem very exciting and ‘must have’! But they usually come at an added cost – so it’s prudent to balance what you’d really like with what you really need, all within your available budget.
As we’ve already mentioned, buying a new commercial refrigerator is major, long-term business investment. When it comes to quality, you typically get what you pay for, so always consider the reputation and warranty of your preferred unit/s. Choosing a trusted brand like True Refrigeration gives you the confidence of a proven track record – we’ve been designing, manufacturing and maintaining high-quality commercial refrigeration systems for more than 75 years – together with the peace of mind of an industry-leading 5 Years Parts & Labour Warranty. It’s our business to helps yours, and we’ll do everything we can to make that happen!
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