Posted by Patrick Maness
When it comes to knowing how to design an efficient, modern kitchen, TriMark’s experts are the best in the business. For insights into some of the key design considerations when it comes to installing refrigeration units in your kitchen, we sat down with Randy Rawlings, a design consultant with TriMark SS Kemp.
Q: What are the most common questions clients have when it comes to installing or designing their refrigeration plan?
Randy Rawlings: Some of the most common questions clients have are about the walk-in cooler/freezer units. They want to know whether they should go with air-cooled or water-cooled refrigeration systems. The answer depends on the space available to house the compressors and the amount of airflow around them.
If the compressors can be placed outside, an air-cooled unit is preferable because they tend to be more energy efficient and greener. Water-cooled units use gallons of water each day and this can really add up over time. However, to keep the compressors running at optimum efficiency, water-cooled units are almost necessary in hotter climates.
When people ask me where the compressors go, I tell them the best place to install the compressors is outside, on the roof of the building or, better yet, in an open space on a concrete pad on the ground. Units on the ground are easier to repair than those on rooftops, and placing them outside eliminates the amount of heat produced inside the building.
Q: What are some of the key layout considerations most restaurants wish they knew about or some they should know about?
Randy Rawlings: Most restaurants do not allow for enough refrigeration units in the cooking area. Being able to store prepped food on the cooking line will eliminate time and extra trips to the walk-ins to replenish products as they’re sold during dining hours.
Q: What’s your favorite all-purpose piece of refrigerator equipment?
Randy Rawlings: The blast freezer is one of the best refrigeration inventions. Designed to cool products quickly so they can be reused later, a blast freezer’s quick cooling process eliminates the “danger zone” (the temperatures that promote the growth of bacteria in the food). This is especially handy for cooling leftover soups or stocks. Many employees put hot soup in the walk-in freezer, causing the temperature of the walk-in to rise above its optimum freezing temperature for a period of time. This can put a strain on the refrigeration system as well as cause other products in the walk-in to have a premature shelf life.
Q: What’s a basic set up for an “average” mid-sized restaurant?
Randy Rawlings: The typical set up would include:
One 16x10’ walk-in cooler/freezer combination unit
One reach-in double-door freezer
One reach-in double-door cooler
One or two sandwich prep tables on the line
One refrigerated equipment stand under the broiler and griddle
If you need help with your refrigeration or any other piece of equipment in your operation, contact your TriMark rep.
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