Your foodservice business needs an efficient refrigeration system. It might be small or big but should be efficient to serve your purpose. When you decide to buy a fridge or freezer for your business, first you look for a reputed commercial refrigeration company. But before you approach the company, there is one more crucial step that the owners often overlook. Before you approach the supplier to buy the product, there are a few essential questions that you need to be clear about. Your supplier will surely help you to choose the right product for your needs, but at the end, it is your decision, and you will have to take responsibility for it.
So, do not approach the company before you have clear answers to the next questions,
What type of refrigeration do I need?
A simple question – but if you give it a thought, you will realize how important it is to be absolutely clear about the type of refrigeration you need to serve your business most efficiently. The type of refrigeration should be determined according to the expected application of the unit. You might need a fridge or a freezer. A high-quality fridge will typically maintain a temperature between -2 degree and +8 degree Celsius, while a commercial freezer will maintain a temperature in the range -22 and -17 degree Celsius. So, first, decide a fridge or a freezer - which one will serve your purpose in the best way.
What is the purpose?
Commercial refrigeration systems are available in a wide range to suit different purposes. The reach-in fridges and freezers are the most popular in the lot. There are various other styles like – merchandising glass door refrigerators, bar refrigerators, under counter fridges and freezers and the list goes on. Refrigerated prep tables such as - pizza prep tables, sandwich prep tables and saladettes are excellent refrigeration solutions to serve specific needs. So, while there are many options, first, you need to decide the purpose, to choose the one best for your needs.
Consider your menu for deciding the purpose. If pizzas or salads are your speciality items, you might need the specialized refrigerated prep tables, whereas if you just need a refrigerated versatile chef’s table, you can easily opt for a chef base. However, keep in mind while these advanced prep tables are an excellent 2-in-1 option that provides a perfect station for preparing the foods and storing the ingredients underneath, these units cannot replace the typical reach-in fridges. So, depending on your requirements, you might need to buy different types of refrigeration solutions just the way you buy different benchtop catering equipment for different purposes.
What size of refrigeration unit should I buy?
The volume of food to be prepared and served daily to your customers should be considered minutely to decide the best size of the refrigeration unit to fit your needs. If you are buying multiple types of refrigeration solutions for your restaurant or hotel, you always need not go for the bigger sizes. Instead, a mix of different sizes may serve the purpose in the best way. If you are buying these refrigerators to install in your kitchen or a specific room, first measure the available space before deciding the size. Also consider the other appliances around. For example, you might not place the refrigerator just next to your gas cooktop.
In commercial kitchens, placement of the different equipment is an essential factor to ensure ease of working and best efficiency. So, decide the size according to the space you have. If you are replacing an existing system, without making any other changes to the kitchen setup, you can easily opt for the same size specifications.
Should I spend on an expensive model?
Not really. If you are not going to place the system in an area visible to your customers, you might not need a showy unit which can be costly, but at the same time, a smart appliance will add quite a lot to the aesthetics and environment of the kitchen as well. So, even if you are buying a stainless steel sink, bench or shelf for your kitchen, keep the basic aesthetics in mind. For display refrigerators, spending on a beautiful model is obviously the right choice. While you have the full flexibility to choose as far as the look of the unit is concerned, always make sure that it has a branded compressor and is made with high-quality material which will support heavy-duty commercial use.
A good quality fridge, freezer or cooling/freezing table will not come cheap but make sure that it is priced reasonably. If you are spending on a quality product, you can rest assured that it will give you full value for the money. So, while cheap can be lucrative, quality must be your first preference. Low quality refrigeration solutions are not at all suitable for the commercial foodservice industry, and it can cost your business dearly through financial and reputation loss. Even if you are not spending on a highly expensive model, be prepared to spend on a quality product.
Do I need a warranty?
Any commercial kitchen equipment, be it a steel hood or a refrigerator, manufactured by a reputed company will naturally come with a warranty on parts as well as labour. The top suppliers also maintain a vast network of technicians to provide all the necessary maintenance services. However, if you are buying the product from an unreliable source, it might not come with a warranty. It is suggested that you should not spend on any commercial kitchen equipment that comes without a warranty.
A product without a warranty means even if it malfunctions within a week of use, you must accept the product, as the supplier has no responsibility for it. When you are buying a product with a valid warranty, if due to any reason there are problems with the appliance, your supplier will take responsibility for it and provide you with the necessary support. You might get a product without a warranty for a less price, but if it malfunctions it will cost you twice. Better, buy a product with a reasonable span of warranty.
So, once you have done your homework and got the answers to all the above questions, you are ready to start searching for the best commercial refrigeration supplier in your area.