If you work in a business that handles large amounts of perishable foods, installing a cool room on your business premises is one of the most efficient and effective ways to keep your goods safely refrigerated. These gargantuan walk-in refrigerators are a fixture in restaurants, hotels and food processing facilities across Australia and the rest of the world, and (depending on your specific business model) you may even be legally obligated to operate one of these rooms.
However, choosing the right cool room for your specific business needs can be a challenge, as a wide variety of different cool rooms are on offer. As such, you should ask yourself the following questions before making a substantial investment in a cool room to ensure that your new cool room can provide the best protection for your perishable foods:
How much capacity should my cool room offer?
Bigger is not always better, and while you may be tempted to purchase the largest, most powerful cool room you can afford, there are a number of reasons not to do so. Running a large cool room that is only required to store a limited amount of goods is obviously very energy inefficient, and can add a hefty sum to your business's energy bills. Large areas of empty space in your cool room can also make it more difficult to keep your room at a stable temperature, potentially leading to accidental and damaging freezing of delicate food items.
Consequently, you should try to find a cool room that can accommodate the average amount of perishable foods you keep on site at any one time, with a small amount of extra space to handle unexpected oversupply. Besides avoiding the disadvantages mentioned above, a properly sized cool room will also take up less floor space in your building, making cool room sizing particularly important in busy kitchens and other cramped work areas.
What types of perishable foods will my cool room be expected to handle?
If your cool room will be used to refrigerate large amounts of identical or similar food items, choosing a basic cool room model with consistent internal temperatures is generally more than adequate. However, choosing a cool room suitable for storing wide varieties of different foods requires a little more planning.
Many modern cool room models are capable of keeping different parts of the room chilled to different temperatures, with some even incorporating compact blast freezers that allow you to store chilled and frozen foods in the same room. These cool rooms often feature a number of pre-set cooling temperatures to make storing different food types easier.
How often will my cool room be opened?
Cool rooms which are opened at frequent intervals, such as those found in commercial kitchens and canteens, can find their cooling power badly undermined as cool air is allowed to rush out of the room every time the door is opened. If your cool room is likely to be opened on a regular basis, opt for a more powerful cool room than you would otherwise—more powerful cooling motors will be able to bring the interior of your cool room back to optimal temperatures more quickly once the cool room is closed, keeping your foods safe and preventing unwanted defrosting.