Refrigeration - The Big Chill

By Danny Blyth

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pub chefs, Refrigerator

Choosing the right refrigeration equipment for your needs can save you time and money. Danny Blyth reports Pub chefs looking for refrigeration...

Choosing the right refrigeration equipment for your needs can save you time and money. Danny Blyth reports

Pub chefs looking for refrigeration equipment could do with more than two eyes. One has to be kept on their needs, largely dictated by available space and budget, while another can't help straying onto what they'd like to have - a process made all the more tempting these days by ever-improving technology and performance features. And a third eye would be useful too, to scrutinise the latest legislation, be it on environmental matters, fuel efficiency or food safety.

John Nelson at independent equipment company Nelsons appreciates the competing needs when it comes to choosing new equipment but urges that pub chefs don't ignore some of the fundamental priorities.

According to John there's a lot to appraise before choosing between models. "The style of operation, your menu and the size and type of kitchen are key. One thing to consider is bulk storage, such as with a cold room or freezer room. The first big choice is between upright units or counter units, which also provide a working area.

"You should appraise all these matters with a good supplier or two, pick their brains, and then you can start to decide exactly what makes of equipment to go for," says John.

In common with most suppliers John urges caution when it comes to being tempted by that bargain refrigeration unit manufactured in a country not previously known for its engineering prowess. "You need to think beyond the box you are buying.

Think about the whole life cost of a unit and about after-sales service and reliability. If a gasket goes one day, you want and need it to be replaced quickly."

Williams Refrigeration's Malcolm Harling agrees: "Price is obviously a vital consideration. Not just the initial price, but also the ongoing costs, including how long your fridge will last. You need to bear in mind that a £450 fridge that lasts 18 months is not a bargain compared to a £1,000 one that lasts 10 years!

"You have to take into account the expected reliability of your choice, too. Cheaper fridges may well end up costing far more once maintenance and repairs are taken into account. Ask about the supply of spare parts. You don't want to have to wait months for a replacement gasket. The fridge is the only thing in the kitchen that works 24 hours a day - unlike the rest of the equipment, it never gets turned off."

Once you have made your final choice looking after your investment becomes important. Another basic here - and another thing the big name suppliers concur on recommending - is regular cleaning.

Les Simmons at Hoshizaki UK is particularly keen, saying: "Regular, thorough internal cleaning is vital, so make sure the model you choose has easily removed shelves and supports, and that all parts are easily accessible." Les also recommends that pub chefs also look outside of their equipment.

"Regular cleaning of the air filters removes ensures that units work at maximum efficiency. Without this facility, a fridge or freezer would normally start to show signs of fatigue after just three months, causing the compressor to work harder, shortening the lifespan of the machine - and using a lot of unnecessary energy to maintain temperature."

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