Just for the Health of It

Reach-Ins and Roll-Ins

Most kitchens have too much or too little refrigerated space at the proper locations to meet their needs. In other words, the physical capacity may be adequate, but either it’s not the correct type of refrigerator space or it’s not flexible enough to be used to maximum efficiency. Having the right kinds of refrigeration actually can mean using fewer refrigerators and freezers, an idea that will save energy and money. How do you accomplish this ideal? First, you must decide how much capacity you need. The norm in casual restaurants is to allow 1 to 1.5 cubic feet of refrigerated storage space per meal served. In fine dining, this increases to 2 to 5 cubic feet of space per meal served. You will use a refrigerator not only for storage but to slowly, safely thaw frozen foods 24 to 48 hours before you will need them. kho thuc pham dong lanh tai ha noi

Remember, roughly half of a refrigerator’s total cubic footage is usable space. The rest is taken up by the unit’s insulation and refrigeration system. (Walk-in coolers also contain aisles, which take up room. ) Another handy rule is that, in a reach-in refrigerator, 1 cubic foot of space will hold 25 to 30 pounds of food. Divide the total weight of food you’ll need to store by 25 or 30, and you’ll have a good idea how much cubic footage you will need. Only after you’ve determined your capacity needs can you take the next step: deciding how much floor space you have for refrigeration and what size of unit will fit there. This way, you can calculate how many different units you will need.

The third major step is to look at reach-in, roll-in, and walk-in options. A reach-in refrigerator is similar to the one you have at home: You pull open the door, reach in, and get what you want. In a commercial kitchen, the problem is that the refrigerator door is opened and closed constantly, in heat that’s a lot more intense than a home kitchen. A duct-type system, with louvered air ducts promoting airflow throughout the cabinet, seems to work best to counteract the inevitable blasts of warm air. Inside the refrigerator cabinet, the wise use of space can increase your capacity by 30 to 35 percent. A simple, heavy-duty pull-out shelf system can allow full use of the bottom part of the unit without making employees stoop to retrieve things there.

Typical reach-in units range from a one-section, single door unit with 22.7 cubic feet to a three-section, three-door unit with more than three times the capacity, at 74.7 cubic feet. Total storage capacity depends somewhat on the number of shelves in the unit; and, of course, the number of shelves will depend on the heights of the products you’ll store on those shelves (see Illustration 10-10). They can be custom-sized to fit under counters or in small spaces. There are also convertible reach-ins, basically freezers that can be converted to a refrigerator with the flip of a switch located on the cabinet. Manufacturers offer these in one, two, and three-section units, so you can adjust for more refrigerated space or more freezer space, as needed. Adaptability is the key.

The bigger the food service operation, the greater the need for a roll-in refrigerator. If your operation does a lot of batch cooking, for instance, you will want to have the capability to move large numbers of meals on rolling carts, in and out of refrigerated space. Carts mean less handling, which means less spillage, less heavy lifting, and so forth. A reach-in unit can be converted to a roll-in by using a dolly on which a half or full rack of product is resting. The rack has swivel casters and is latched onto the dolly. If the height of the dolly platform is compatible with the bottom of the refrigerator cabinet, the person holding the dolly can just position it correctly, tip it forward, and slide the rack of product into the refrigerator.


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