Providing more than just scream therapy to chefs for decades, the walk in cooler is just what you need for storing products in bulk safely for an extended period of time. Essentially a large, insulated box equipped with panels and a cooling system, the walk in cooler is a must-have for any restaurant with the space and resources (i.e., money) for it. At Tundra Restaurant Supply we sell a variety of walk in coolers and parts (such as walk in panels, lights, hinges, latches, door closers and more) to suit your specific needs.
Will You Install Your Walk In Cooler Outside or Inside?
It's a simple question, but with major impacts. Walk in coolers that reside inside need the physical space and a suitable, load-bearing floor. If your walk in is going on a wood floor, chances are you'll require floor panels (and remember, a walk in freezer will always require an insulated floor).
Outdoor walk in coolers on the other hand need a rainproof, refrigeration hood to prevent water from leaking into the cooler itself. You should also consider just how chilly it gets in your region in the winter, because areas with freezing units might require a "winterization" kit that includes a compressor cover and additional heaters. Many restaurants in temperate climates may opt to place their walk in outside to save interior space for extra front of house room or back of the house storage needs.
Walk In Cooler Storage and Shelving
One size doesn't fit all when it comes to walk in coolers. Not only do you need to size appropriately to your physical space, you should also consider how much food you need to store. A good rule of thumb is to consider 1 cubic foot of storage space for around 28 pounds of food. When sizing based on food storage also consider the amount of additional storage space you'll need within the next 5-10 years as your business grows.
Many manufacturers like Cambro sell shelving solutions suitable for walk in coolers. Shelving not only keeps ingredients organized for staff, but it's a major requirement by your health inspector to keep food off of the floor. Remember that walk in coolers have humid environments, so opt for shelving like epoxy coated wire shelving or polypropylene/polymer plastic shelving units that will not rust.
Walk In Cooler Parts
Like most restaurant equipment, a walk in cooler can be an energy guzzler. Make your walk in cooler more efficient by opting for LED lighting that uses up to 90% less energy than traditional bulbs. Also consider what insulation is available for your walk in—the better the insulation, the better energy performance you can expect. Finally, consider additional accessories like strip curtains to help your walk in maintain its internal temperature as employees go in and out; not only does a strip curtain (also referred to as strip door) help you maintain energy efficiency, it can prevent pests from get inside as well.