Refrigeration: The Key to Food Safety and Quality
If you are a food business owner, you know just how vital your walk-in cooler is. The importance of refrigerators in food operations cannot be understated. Not only does it hold all of your food and supplies, but as one Reddit’er recently shared, it also acts as a “rage room.”
Your walk-in cooler is essentially the stomach of your food business, and we know that your gut health is pertinent. The same applies to your cooling equipment. Like a stomach, your cooler stores inventory until it is needed. We rely heavily on our refrigeration and sometimes forget to protect it.
The CEO of Scoma’s Restaurant, Tom Creedon, mentioned how important it is for newer restaurant owners to create a relationship with their refrigeration.
“I think if you’re starting, it’s probably refrigeration you should put in,” he said. “It isn’t always great at first. You have balance problems like maintaining the temperature. [Refrigeration] has different types of controls.”
In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of refrigerators in food service businesses and how we can ensure they stay in the best shape. Read on to learn more about your cooling equipment’s health.
The goal of walk-in coolers in a restaurant is to keep food fresh. The FDA Food Code requires all perishable foods to be held at or below 41°F. Food Code is crucial for perishable items such as meat, dairy, and produce. A good refrigerator will keep your food items at a consistent temperature, preventing them from spoiling. Maintained refrigeration keeps your customers happy and saves you money in the long run.
Another important use for refrigeration in restaurants is to store food for later use. Preserving food is especially helpful for busy restaurants that need to be able to prepare food in advance. By storing pre-packaged goods in the refrigerator, you can prep and cook them when ready to serve. Sustaining your fresh and packaged inventory helps keep your kitchen running smoothly and prevents you from wasting food.
Aside from the obvious uses of refrigeration, walk-in coolers also serve sentimental value for some restaurant owners. Food businesses deal with consistent rushes, disagreements between staff and customers, and many other inconveniences that may make working within the food industry difficult. In a Reddit thread, Kitchen Confidential, food service employees express how they communicate with co-workers, scream out loud, and perform other emotional practices inside walk-in coolers as the thick wall barriers protect their frustrations from consumers.
Refrigeration has its downfalls, however. Maintenance can be pricey and energy intensive. Cooling energy consumption accounts for 44% of food service costs, the largest share of any source. Walk-in coolers are built to last longer than home refrigerators, but if not cared for, they can break down.
Some of the most common reasons coolers stop working are:
- Blocked vents
- Dirty or faulty gaskets
- Not enough space
- Broken condenser fan
- The thermostat isn't set properly
The last thing that’s fundamental to note, you should keep your refrigerator between 32°F and 40°F for optimal performance. Continuously monitoring your walk-in’s temperature could make or break your inventory and the life span of your refrigerator.
One of the first signs of refrigeration system failure is an inability to maintain the correct temperature. Not only can temperature monitoring allow you to seek proper maintenance for your fridge before repairs become even more costly, but it can also save the lifeblood of your hospitality business: your inventory.
“These refrigerators take a real beating,” Creedon said. “This kitchen is $50,000 worth of business.” Scoma’s Restaurant currently uses Therma° temperature monitoring to prevent their company from widespread food waste and failure.
Implementing automatic temperature monitoring systems, like Therma°, can help optimize your energy consumption and prevent equipment failure. Intelligent temperature sensors automatically record the temperature of refrigeration equipment, reducing traditional temperature management issues. Developed to perform inside coolers, freezers, and other harsh environments, Therma° temperature sensors are easy to use, more reliable, and convenient with a mobile dashboard you can check from anywhere.
Keeping your gut healthy is no different in your business. Help your refrigerator live longer with Therma°; click below to learn more.