Whether you are setting up a small corner bakery, a fast food diner, or a high-end restaurant, refrigeration will be among your biggest and most important outlays. A lot goes into selecting the right refrigeration solution for your business, and fridge size is a big deal. Too small and you have storage problems; too big and you waste space and energy.
So, how do you know just what size is right for your commercial fridge? Here's a quick guide to help you make an informed decision.
The available space in your facility will probably be the biggest limitation when determining the right fridge size. You can choose any refrigerator if you have enough room, but chances are your space is limited.
If your commercial kitchen has significant space constraints and expanding the space is not a feasible option, you may have to limit your choice to a smaller fridge.
Sometimes, you simply do not have space for one large fridge. If you will need to store many products, consider buying two smaller fridges and fitting them in separate locations.
Determine how much product you will need to store in the fridge at any given time. Use the par level of inventory formula to arrive at a ballpark estimate of the amount of inventory that will require refrigeration.
To arrive at this estimate, consider delivery cycles, customer demand, and good perishability. Be sure to factor in safety stock, which may come in handy during unexpected increases in customer demand.
Calculate your inventory estimate by adding the safety stock to the per week inventory use, and then divide this by the number of deliveries per week. The amount of product you will need to store in the fridge per week will help you determine the right fridge size.
To determine the capacity of a commercial refrigerator, check the cubic feet measurements. The higher the cubic feet measurement, the larger the capacity of the fridge.
Commercial fridges come in a number of styles. The style you choose will be a matter of personal preference, but bear space constraints in your facility in mind as well.
If your commercial space is more vertical, consider an upright fridge with a single door. If you have a little more width to maximize, a medium-sized, double-door, upright fridge might be suitable.
Opt for a counter fridge to add functionality to small spaces. Counter fridges are low-lying and feature a countertop that can double as a workspace and storage space for small appliances such as an espresso machine or a blender. Chilled storage compartments are located right under the counter.
Consider a walk-in fridge if large-scale storage is a priority for your business. A walk-in fridge is the largest type of refrigeration solution; therefore, you will need to have adequate space in your facility to accommodate this type of fridge.
Lastly, your budget will play a role in determining the fridge that best fits your needs. Generally, expect to pay more for a large walk-in fridge.
If you are on a shoestring budget and seek value for money, consider a small- or medium-sized fridge and plan to upgrade in future when business picks up.
The way you store your fresh products will affect the quality of food you serve your patrons. Refrigeration and food storage, in general, can also have significant implications for your kitchen inventory management. Your commercial fridge is a major expense, so be sure to get your purchase right the first time.
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