Refrigeration is key to any catering operation: you can’t operate without a way to keep your food cool and therefore safe for your customers.
But it can be difficult to understand the need for ‘commercial grade’ refrigeration – and we are often asked by customers why they should invest in it rather than a cheaper fridge similar to the ones they have at home.
There are four absolutely key reasons why you should invest in commercial grade refrigeration:
1) They have big compressors
That might not strike you instantly as a vital point but it REALLY matters.
A compressor runs virtually every refrigerator in the world at the moment, by moving gas around a sealed system of pipes that run both inside and outside the fridge. The gases are allowed to cool inside the fridge, soaking up excess heat, before carrying it outside, where the heat is allowed to escape.
In your fridge at home, the compressor (the bottle you will see if you look at the back of the appliance) is quite small, because at home you might open your fridge two or three times an hour. This means that the compressor has to work hard just a few times every day to bring the temperature down to the right level after the air inside has been warmed by the door opening up.
It’s not like that in a commercial kitchen.
A fridge or freezer could be opened hundreds of times a day in a busy kitchen. Each time the door opens the temperature inside goes up. When the temperature goes up, there is more chance for bacteria and germs to multiply within the food stored in the fridge. This means a compressor in a commercial kitchen environment has to do a LOT more work than the one in your kitchen at home, especially if you consider most commercial kitchens are very, very hot places – commercial fridges and freezers are designed to work to peak efficiency in temperatures up to 43 degrees celsius. If you asked a domestic fridge (normally designed for conditions up to 20 degrees) to work in those conditions it would either, a) break or b) simply fail to bring the temperature down, leaving you with food that is constantly getting hotter and hotter throughout the day, resulting, most likely, with food that is dangerous for your customers to consume.
A compressor in a commercial fridge is normally more than double the size of a domestic fridge and with good reason!
2) The hinges won’t fail
We’ve already mentioned that a commercial fridge will be opened and closed up to 50 times an hour, compared to a domestic fridge’s paltry 2-3 times an hour.
Go to your own domestic fridge and open and close the door 50 times an hour, day in and day out. Within a few weeks the hinges will fail, I guarantee it.
A commercial fridge will have solid, normally stainless steel hinges that are built to withstand not a few weeks, but years of this kind of treatment. On top of this, most of them have self-closing hinges that make sure the fridge is always shut, keeping the temperature inside as cool as possible.
3) They are designed to be deep cleaned
The standards within the modern kitchen are not just high, they are exacting in the extreme. High profile food poisoning cases have pushed Environmental Health Officers across the country to demand the very best from caterers, restaurants and food producers at all levels, and the world’s catering equipment suppliers have responded with designs that let you keep them pristine with the minimum of fuss and effort.
So the insides and outsides are stainless steel which is straightforward to clean and also resists bacteria and infection. The shelves are easily removable and created using tough materials that don’t get damaged, creating spaces for bacteria to grow.
The development of removable door seals is the latest innovation in the trend towards designs that help you keep a cleaner, healthier kitchen, protecting the health of your customers and your business too.
4) Food Quality is enhanced and wastage is reduced
Commercial grade fridges are very efficient – and this boosts the quality of the food you store in them.
Every time food heats up, it begins to break down, essentially beginning to rot.
By cooling it as quickly as possible, your fridge can protect the cell walls within the food, guaranteeing vegetables have more crunch and your fish has the gleaming scales and clear eyes your customer’s expect, for longer.
Quite apart from stopping the growth of bacteria, this protects your reputation in terms of quality and reduces wastage, helping your profits.
As you can see, the need for commercial grade refrigeration is more than just owning a top quality piece of equipment – by buying commercial grade pieces of equipment you protect yourself against breakdown, potentially dangerous outbreaks of food poisoning and maintain your reputation for high food quality thanks to clever and hard wearing design of commercial fridges.