September 22, 2015

Restaurant Equipment Basics: Freezers

If you're equipping a new commercial kitchen, there are several considerations before you purchase a freezer. Unlike a replacement, where you already know the dimensions and space availability, choosing a new unit takes a little preparation. If you have little experience equipping a professional kitchen, here are a few tips.

Size Matters
For both space and energy conservation, the size of the unit depends not only on the dimensions of the room, but also on the amount and types of foods that need storage. A large, walk-in freezer is right for a school or hotel. It's usually compartmentalized to provide a more thorough freeze in the back for meat and seafood, and a slightly higher temperature in the front section for desserts and breads that don't need a deep freeze.

If you have a smaller space, you can go with an upright or a chest-type commercial freezer; some restaurants have an upright closer to the food-prep line for convenience, and a chest freezer in the back for long-term storage. An upright has the advantage of providing shelving that will aid your kitchen staff if they need to access something in a hurry. They come in a range of sizes, so they're also a good option if space is tight. A chest freezer is good for storing large quantities of food that have a similar size and bulk.

Try Before You Buy
The next step is deciding to buy new or used. For a commercial kitchen, new is better. It will be more likely to conform to the latest emissions and energy ratings, and it will come with a warranty against defects. You should pick your unit out in person, from a reputable restaurant supply company. An associate can advise yo on what's best for your needs, answer your question and give you an opportunity to check out how well the merchandise works before you make an investment.

Make sure that you can see the same model you're interested in buying while it's plugged in and operational. Here's what to look for:

- Examine it closely, inside and out, for dents or visible defects.
- Check to make sure there are no gaps in the seal around the doors, and that the door closes flush with the unit.
- Check underneath for leaks.
- Listen to the motor to ensure that it runs smooth and quiet.