How to Choose the Best Commercial Refrigerator for your Restaurant

How to Choose the Best Commercial Refrigerator for your Restaurant

Commercial refrigerators are a necessity in the food industry. They keep diners safe from harmful bacteria growth, and they keep your ingredients fresh.

Every restaurant can increase the quality of their food with a proper refrigeration solution.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to choose between a top or bottom mount unit, and what other features to consider when choosing a commercial refrigerator.

Top Mount or Bottom Mount?

If you’re buying commercial refrigeration for the first time, it can be overwhelming to sort through the confusing and unrecognizable terms while browsing.

Among these are “top mount” and “bottom mount”. What do these terms mean, and which is best for your location?

Bottom-mount Commercial Refrigerator

Mount refers to where the condenser is located in the refrigerator.

Bottom mount refrigerators are cheaper than their top-mount counterparts and often come in larger sizes. The Department of Energy says they also tend to operate more efficiently than top-mounted units because the air near the floor is cooler.

Because the condenser is located at the bottom, the interior of the fridge is raised higher than top mounted refrigerators. Cooks like this because they don’t have to bend over to get to the food.

They’re also easy for repair technicians to work on because the condenser is accessible at floor level.

The condenser will get dirtier because of its location near the floor though. Sometimes bottom mount refrigerators can require more maintenance because of this.

Top-mount Commercial Refrigerator

Top mount refrigerators maximize the amount of usable space on the interior. Bottom mount refrigerators require insulation to be built over the condenser which takes up valuable space.

You also don’t have to worry about the condenser sucking in flour, dust, hair, or other particulates because it’s away from the floor. This can make the top mounted units more reliable.

Top mount refrigerators can be a pain if you do wind up needing repairs though.

Because the condenser is at the head level of most people, it can be very difficult to work on them. You may need to have a team of 2 technicians with specialized equipment to work on it.

Where Will the Refrigerator Go?

Where the refrigerator will be located in your kitchen, and what type of cooking your chefs will do should affect your decision.

Will the refrigerator go near a line cook or grilling station? You should go with a bottom mount refrigerator if that’s the case.

When meat is grilled, some of the grease is released with the steam. This grease can gunk up a top mounted refrigerator, where the condenser is at the perfect height to suck in the grease laden steam.

Conversely, bottom mounted units don’t do well with a lot of flour.

If you’re a bakery, or you do a lot of baking in your restaurant, then you may want to consider a top mounted unit to avoid headaches down the road. You won’t get the performance you expect out of a bottom mounted unit if you need to get it repaired all the time.

Other Commercial Refrigerator Features to Consider

Blast Cooler (aka Blast Chiller)

A blast chiller is a refrigeration unit that is able to bring food from an internal temperature of 194F down to 37.4F within 2 hours.

The rapid cooling affects the shape of the ice crystals that form in the food, resulting in smaller crystals that improve the taste. Slow freezing results in ice crystals that tear the food making it tough and not taste as good.

Blast chillers work by blowing a much larger volume of air across the surface of the food and recycling the air in the unit’s cooler chamber (which regular refrigerators don’t do).

Blast chillers come in many different body styles.

Dual-Temp Commercial Refrigerators

A dual temp commercial refrigerator is usually one large unit that is separated into two to three sections by insulated walls.

Each section can be set to a different temperature for different storage purposes.

Reach-In Commercial Refrigerators

“Reach-in” style commercial refrigerators feature shallow shelves so that food can easily be grabbed. They are usually upright and can feature one to four doors.

Worktop Commercial Refrigerators

Worktop refrigerators are a must for the prep line. They have a work space across the top and refrigerated storage underneath. They commonly come in refrigerated prep table and pizza prep table styles.

Roll In Commercial Refrigerators

These refrigerators are smaller, have wheels, and are designed to be moved. They’re often used by catering companies.

Walk-in Commercial Refrigerators

Walk-in refrigerators are a way to store large quantities of food where you can freely move around in the refrigeration space. The easily accessible shelves make it simple to see what raw ingredients you have at a glance.

Walk-in refrigerators are best for restaurants who use a lot of bulk packaged ingredients, or who order large shipments of meat.

Energy Star

Commercial refrigerators that are marked with the Energy Star emblem are up to 30% more efficient than non-Energy Star appliances.

If you’re stuck between two models around the same price, consider getting the Energy Star model for savings on your power bill down the road.

Repair Commercial Refrigerator in Ocala, Gainesville, or Central Florida

Refrigeration is a crucial component of any food or hospitality industry business. It keeps your customers safe and your ingredients fresh longer. When your refrigerator is offline, your restaurant will have to close its doors.

Are you struggling with a malfunctioning commercial refrigerator?

Contact us today, and we’ll get your refrigerator back on its feet in no time.

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