Commercial Refrigeration and Walk-In Cooler Buying Guide Leave a comment

You know that walk-in coolers and/or freezers are one of the most used pieces of equipment in your commercial kitchen. That is why it is critical to identify the right configuration of size, door type, and compressor to make sure all your needs are met.

This guide will outline the fundamentals of what you need to know and consider when it comes to buying commercial refrigeration and walk-in coolers.

There are three significant features with which you need to familiarize yourself to determine the right commercial refrigerator or walk-in cooler for your foodservice business.

The flow of traffic in your commercial kitchen
Door variations
Compressor location

Flow of Material in Commercial Kitchen

If the configuration of your commercial kitchen will allow it, it is always a good idea to arrange your cold storage traffic with the smaller units closest to the production line (i.e. the warmest part of the kitchen), as smaller units do not work as hard to stay cool in a hot area compared to a large two or three door model.

Type Ideal Location Best Use Advantages
Single Door Reach-In Refrigerators and Freezers Cooking zone, situated next to final production line Store portions prepared to use for the day: plate garnishes etc. Fast access = Quicker service = satisfied customers Restock weekly or as needed from walk in cooler, freezer, or two or three door Reach-in
Two or Three Door Reach-In Refrigerators and Freezers Prep area Prepared items can be stored in bulk Less traffic to walk-in = faster prep times Restock weekly or as needed from walk-in cooler or freezer
Roll In Refrigerators and Freezers Prep area Perfect for prepping in advance and keeping food garden-fresh before serving A big time saver. Load prepped food onto racks and roll it all into refrigerator / freezer at once. Empty cavity accommodates roll-in rack(s).
Roll Thru /Pass Thru Refrigerators and Freezers Located in prep area, as well as stocking and service areas. Contains a separate roll-rack(s) inside the fridge cavity. Doors allow for access on both sides front and rear Pass-thru units ensure traditional shelving
Walk In Coolers & Freezers Located outside or at delivery area. Store crates of bulk ingredients: produce, poultry, meat, fish, etc. Less traffic in kitchen by receiving deliveries directly into walk-in.

Commercial Refrigeration Door Types

There are four types of reach in freezer and refrigerator doors. Here are some important points to consider before making your purchases.

Type 1: Swing Doors

  •  Swing door has a stay open feature, allows for loading and unloading produce easier
  • Can block flow of track where space is limited

Type 2: Pass Thru Doors

  • This kind of refrigeration unit has front and rear doors
  • Allows for cooking staff to stock prepared plated items like desserts and other cold items, while the waiting staff can pull out and serve as needed
  • Available in variety of configurations from full to half doors and combinations of glass and solid materials
  • Excellent for limited space, only one door can be opened at a time

Type 3: Sliding Doors

  • Perfect for kitchens with limited space and narrow aisles
  • Only one door can be opened at time

Type 4: Half Doors

  • A variation on swing doors where the door is split into two sections.
  • Advantages of conserving energy and keeping a consistent internal temperature.
  • Can block flow of track like traditional swing doors

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