It can easily be argued that refrigerators are the most critical piece of equipment in your kitchen. No matter what type of foodservice operation you run, you need refrigeration. Keeping food at the proper temperature without using too much energy is essential to food quality, food safety and your bottom line.
Before you buy, there are two important considerations to keep in mind. First is food safety. Improper cooling or coldholding of foods are the most common causes of food born illnesses. As a foodservice operator you must have the proper cooling equipment for your needs, and then manage your food handling procedures properly. The second consideration is energy consumption. Besides air conditioning, refrigeration equipment is likely to be your biggest electricity expense in the kitchen. When buying a new reach-in refrigerator, you should consider a model with the Energy Star label. The label ensures the model you are buying is among the most energy efficient. Currently, there are about 19 manufacturers that make Energy Star-labeled refrigerators. These units can save as much as 45% of your energy charges when compared to nonlabeled models because they have features like high-efficiency compressors, better insulation and the latest type of fan motors.
Once you have the two most important items covered, finding a good refrigerator that will last several years and withstand tough kitchen demands is not too difficult. Look for the NSF seal on the unit, which means the equipment has gone through rigorous testing and can hold the required temperature with proper use. Here are three tips for getting the best and safest service out of your refrigerator.
- Don't overload the refrigerator cabinet. Proper airflow is essential to holding the cabinet temperature below 40