Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JAN 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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60 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • JANUARY 2018 functional by design The Big (or Small) Chill For cold storage, Richards says most space-starved restau- rants can be well served with a walk-in cooler as small as 8 feet by 10 feet. Depending on volume, the site may simply need to increase the frequency of deliveries. "That's an in- convenience in a busy kitchen, because someone has to stop and check deliveries in and inventory them. You also can't prep as much at one time," he notes, "but it's a good solution in undersized facilities." Walk-in coolers — generally, the most efficient and appropriate cold storage option for all but perhaps the smallest of operations — provide maximum refrigerated storage capacity and come in a variety of sizes and ceiling heights. Different configurations, such as combination boxes that include an interior door to a separate freezer compart- ment, also offer effective solutions. And choosing a low- profile evaporator coil over a standard coil, which is large and bulky and hangs low in the cooler, can help to maximize usable space inside the walk-in. Where back-of-the-house square footage is especially tight and local codes allow, locating a walk-in outside may be a good option. "That's always something we look at in the initial fram- ing process," Weinberg says. "Sometimes you elect to do that right off the bat because it allows you to maximize cooking and seating areas, which can lead to faster ROI." When locating coolers outside, Richards points out that additional important factors, driven by the external environ- ment, need to be carefully considered during the design and purchasing process. "Here in Florida, for example, locating a walk-in outside is a little more costly because we have hurricane wind loads, and they require engineered drawings, etcetera, which are additional expenses," Richards says. "And in this market, you also want to specify stucco aluminum versus the cheaper standard stucco galvanized panels. That's because aluminum stands up better to the salt air and is easier to maintain. So it's important to under- stand the environment and be sure that what you're putting in is designed to stand up to those elements." In hot and humid markets such as Florida, designing walk-ins with enhanced flooring becomes important too, Richards adds. While operators often opt for standard floor panels to save money, relatively inexpensive upgrades will extend the cooler's life and performance. "We like to put floors in our coolers because they get beat up and then you get condensation, which isn't good," Richards says. "But flooring decisions also need to be based on what the production environment will be like. Standard flooring capacity in a walk-in is about 600 pounds per square foot. Many times, at least in our market, operators opt to recess the cooler box and tile right from the kitchen into the walk-in. If you have a lot of heavy traffic, such as pal- lets or carts coming in and out, that floor will flex over time, and you'll get cracks in the grout. When there are spills or water builds up, that liquid can seep in and drop the floor, and pretty soon you'll be replacing the cooler. Putting in a STRATEGIES FOR MAXIMIZING DRY STORAGE ● Go vertical. If ceiling heights allow, incorporate higher loft shelving for storage of lightweight products, such as disposables, that are easier and safer for employees to retrieve if accessing from a ladder or stepstool. ● Tap racks. Can racks are big space savers — imagine storing 156 cans in a 2-by-2-foot space — and they help keep dry storage areas organized. Gravity-fed for easy dispensing, they come in a variety of sizes and capacities. ● Add shelving to work/prep tables. Accessory units are available in single- and double-deck configurations as well as adjustable-height and fully welded versions. ● Go mobile. Rolling can racks and ingredient bins as well as adjustable, mobile shelving units maximize dry storage capacity and flexibility. Beyond choosing reinforced floors, operators can also consider materials. Where floors are reinforced, nonslip tile is a good choice, Richards says. Another option: one-piece rubberized floors.

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