Finding the right location for your business is step one, but after you’ve settled on the perfect spot — you’ll need the equipment to match!
Or, maybe you’ve been in the right spot for a while now and are looking for an upgrade (or “downgrade”) to some equipment that is more suitable for your operation.
No matter what your situation, there’s a lot to keep in mind, most of which will be unique to you and your restaurant.
In this post, we’ll fill you in on some of the more universal information.
Making the Most Out Of Your Space
You’ll find walk-in coolers in all different sizes, but what really matters is efficiency. A lot of people fall into a “the bigger the better” type of mindset when thinking about commercial refrigeration space.
After all, if your business takes off you might need to house a lot of ingredients to keep up with demand. From that perspective it might seem to make sense to go big, but you might come to regret making that the end all be all of your decision-making process.
Knowing Your Environment
Are you located in a densely populated, urban atmosphere? Or are you in a more suburban space housing a lower population?
Are you located off on a side street, or is your building situated in a hot spot surrounded by shops and other businesses that might attract a larger, hungry crowd?
While at first glance, these questions might seem unrelated to what kind of cooler you should get, they’ll provide key insight into what your needs might be.
For example: Will you fly through a batch of homemade sandwich spread, needing to keep ingredients on hand for more?
Or will a batch last you a couple of days — emphasizing a need for bottle storage over fresh ingredient storage?
What Does Your Menu Actually Call For?
A pub offering food on the side with a limited menu might not need to go all out with the size of their walk-in cooler.
The overall functionality of the business may benefit more from designating that square footage to things like maximizing prep space — keeping the flow of food that is served flowing out from the kitchen smoothly.
On the other hand, a large commercial bakery selling donuts, pastries, and cakes is likely to sell more in bulk. An operation of this nature would need a large amount of walk-in space to house things like premade doughs and pastry fillings.
Other businesses fall somewhere in the middle, and there’s plenty of equipment to suit those situations too!
A little poke around the dining scene is all it takes to see that trends are steadily moving towards a preference for fresh ingredients.
This is great for not only our health and our taste buds, but for business too — although it might seem a bit intimidating at first glance.
From a financial standpoint, a fresh menu typically equates to smaller ingredient deliveries more often, which in turn means less of a need for bulk storage, saving you on the electric costs associated with running a larger walk-in — leading us to the next section.
It’s More Than Upfront Equipment Costs
Once you’ve decided on the correct size, you’ll also have to figure out how much your unit will cost to run. This is yet another reason why buying the biggest that your budget allows isn’t always the best idea.
Although your experience may vary — an 8 x 12 walk-in cooler costs an average of $117.00 per month to run. At freezer temperatures, you’re looking at about $372.00 per month.
A 6 x 6 walk-in unit has a monthly cost of around $65.00, with an average of $244.00 per month to run at freezer temperatures.
While a couple of hundred dollars worth of difference in running costs might not seem like much to fuss over, it certainly adds up when viewed on an annual basis.
Is Your Building Equipped to Handle It?
You’ll also have to consider the capacity of the wiring and electrical equipment in your building, which shouldn’t be too complicated.
A basic inspection should tell you everything you need to know about what your space can handle. This was likely already conducted before your purchase was finalized (depending on the laws of your area and agreement negotiated through your realtor).
If you aren’t certain, the equipment installation company should be able to at least point you in the right direction by taking a quick look around.
If you’re just looking to upgrade your current equipment, and already have an idea of what your building can handle, then this isn’t something that you’ll need to spend too much time worrying about — although it’s probably best to play it safe with a professional opinion.
We’re Here to Help You Figure it Out
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