Commercial Refrigeration – Restaurants.
One of the largest industries in the US is the restaurant industry which employs over 4 million people. More than 75% of the food used is produced, packaged, shipped, stored and preserved by refrigeration equipment. Without the many different types of refrigeration equipment used in the process, it would be impossible to maintain all of the perishable food that is consumed by us.
Perishable foods can be broken down into three groups: animal, dairy products and vegetable. Each one of these groups requires different treatment to preserve the quality of the food. The storage of animal products requires the prevention of deterioration of the non-living item whereas fruits and vegetables are still alive after they are picked and the purpose of refrigeration is to slow down the ripening process. Dairy products and eggs require even more stringent handling to control the bacteria growth and there are various handling requirements for the different types of dairy products.
In restaurants, there are various different types of commercial refrigeration equipment being used so that they can maintain the freshest ingredients for their prepared food. For certain restaurants, dual temperature commercial refrigeration units may be the best choice. This allows for storage at the most accurate temperatures. In addition, freezer units, if required, may also have dual temperature controlled compartments for storing food prep ingredients. Today’s commercial refrigeration manufacturers have pulled out all the stops with regard to the kinds of units that can be used in restaurants. The type of units used include built-in, free-standing, reach in, display-type refrigeration units for baked items and other specialties, drop pans, smaller dessert units and refrigeration cabinets that fit beneath a work surface.
While the type of food and quantity is critical in determining the type of refrigeration equipment needed in a restaurant, the floor layout of the space is also an important factor. There is usually very limited space in a kitchen so the dimensions of the refrigeration equipment are an important consideration when designing the layout. The other issue is ergonomics. The kitchen needs to be configured so that the refrigeration units are ergonomically suited to the best location when they are in use.
In most cases, the commercial refrigeration should be located away from ovens and other high heat cooking or baking units. Where possible, it’s ideal to try to locate the commercial refrigeration units as close to the work prep areas as possible. This is particularly true if certain types of cuisines require refrigeration before the recipe is completed, i.e., doughs and desserts. Consider that refrigeration is as much a part of the complete cycle of restaurant process as a stove or oven to get an idea of how important it is to choose the most compatible commercial refrigeration.
The foundation of any good recipe is fresh ingredients and the refrigeration equipment is critical to maintaining the quality of the food. All of this equipment requires regular maintenance so that the equipment life can be extended, the units will perform as designed and you will hopefully avoid unexpected breakdowns.