For operators seeking to save space while creating convenient cold storage options, undercounter refrigeration represents a viable alternative for preparation and cooking lines. Also known as a lowboy, this equipment’s smaller size makes it suitable for kitchens with smaller footprints or for operators looking to keep valuable worktop space clear.
For operators looking to cut costs and consolidate storage, combination walk-in refrigerator freezers may be a viable option to consider as an alternative to two separate units. Like single-unit walk-ins, combination models are typically custom-made, so these units come in virtually any shape and size.
Operators can choose from a variety of shelving unit types, including standalone stationary, multiple units mounted on track systems, wall-mounted or mobile, such as those configured as utility carts.
In the foodservice industry ice comes in three main forms: cubed, including small and medium versions; flake and nugget ice, which are small bits of ice completely different from their cubed siblings; and various other shapes that vary by manufacturer. Some ice machines form other cube types, including gourmet square cubes, octagon and crushed.
Walk-in refrigerators and freezers are available in virtually any shape and size. These units can be as small as 15 cubic feet and as large as 400,000 square feet. Multilevel walk-ins also are available. Coolers are more likely to be larger than freezers.
The reach-in category encompasses refrigerators and freezers but also includes pass-thrus, roll-ins and even under counter units. Refrigerators keep food temperatures at between 36 degrees F and 38 degrees F, while freezers hold food between -10 degrees F and 0 degrees F. Foodservice operators can also choose combination refrigerator-freezers that feature separate temperature readouts.
Part of the reach-in category, roll-in refrigerators provide enhanced versatility in the kitchen. In most cases, these units are designed to accommodate carts containing food pans.
Using a blast chiller represents one of the safest ways to quickly reduce the temperature of hot food. That's because blast chillers pull down the temperature of hot food from 160 degrees F to 38 degrees F in 90 minutes or less.
Most foodservice operators struggle with correlating menu size with storage areas. The fact that kitchen layouts vary and extra space typically comes at a premium only makes this more challenging.
Looking to distinguish their operations from the competition, many healthcare facilities continue to create foodservice environments that can serve as a difference maker in the eyes of the public. As such, many healthcare operators continue to incorporate sophisticated serveries, patient-focused room-service programs and, in some cases, high-end restaurants that can compete with local eateries.