One of the biggest challenges when running a busy restaurant or other food production business is how to keep stock of a great amount of perishable foods. In some cases, regular fridges and freezers simply can’t meet the establishment’s needs. So, if you have enough room to spare, a great solution can be to install a separate cold room.
Cold rooms are the largest refrigeration units available. Also called walk-ins, these refrigeration units are literally separate rooms which consist of many racks that can securely hold a great amount of stock such as meat, fish, dairy, vegetables, etc. As they offer such large storage capacity, they can be more convenient and economical to run than traditional refrigeration. However, just like regular fridges, not all cold rooms are made the same. So, in order to make the right choice, consider the following factors.
In Australia, cold room prices usually range between $5000 and $15 000. So, consider your current budget in order to narrow down your choices according to it. However, keep in mind cold room prices aren’t the only factor that determines the cost of owning a cold room. There’s also energy-efficiency. The more energy-efficient the model, the less power it will require to run, which as a result can lower your electricity bills. Often, the more expensive models have better insulation and as a result, require less power to maintain a consistent temperature inside. Considering how the average life-span of a cold room is 15-20 years, with a cheaper model you can end up paying more in the long run.
Getting a cold room that perfectly meets your storage needs is vital. If you choose a unit that’s too small, you will end up over-stocking it which will prevent the air inside from circulating. As a result, this can diminish the unit’s ability to maintain a consistent temperature. On the other hand, if the cold room is too big for your needs it will simply result in unnecessary cooling costs. The capacity of cold rooms is measured in m3 and can range from 2 m3 to 4m3.
All cold rooms have a certain range of temperatures that they can maintain. In order to determine which range you need, you need to consider the stock you’ll be storing. High-temperature cold rooms (class J) have a temperature range from +5oC A to -5oC, which makes them suitable for storing foods like vegetables, fruit and eggs. A medium range cold room (class D) is recommended for keeping frozen foods such as meat and seafood. On the other hand, if your stock consists of items that need to be in deep freeze, like for instance ice cream, a low-temperature class J cold room is recommended.