Nick Williams of British manufacturer Precision looks at the big growth in small refrigeration. Kitchens are getting smaller as operators look to increase the amount of room front of house to fit in more customers. If you’re looking for space-saving counters, go for a front-breathing and venting design. It means the counters can be completely built-in, with no need to leave space surrounding the unit for ventilation to the side or rear. For example, Festa sul Prato, an Italian restaurant in a formerly derelict toilet block in a small park in Deptford, South London, has a tiny kitchen and chose Precision’s ultra-slim counters and individually refrigerated drawers to optimise the space. Owner Martin Hoenle describes our equipment as “fully commercial units that are real space-savers.” The counters are only 520mm deep (as opposed to Precision’s standard counters, which are 670mm deep), so they give the brigade room to work. They are sited back-to-back, creating a central island that gives the brigade a good sized prep area.
With the individual drawers, a big selling point for Festa sul Prato is that they can be switched from fridge to freezer mode at the touch of a button. Plus, they are stacked on top of each other. They give Martin the sort of flexibility his brigade needs in a really small kitchen.
One option for the space-restricted is refrigerated wall cabinets. We’ve seen several customers specify these in recent years to help maximise their storage capacity. Our HSS300 double door refrigerated is another example of space-saving design. This offers very similar storage to a two-door counter fridge, but has a width of 865mm instead of 1345mm.
So what buying criteria applies to space-saving refrigeration? Exactly the same as applies to any refrigeration. Points to consider are durability, availability of spare parts and overall service back-up. Choose stainless steel interiors and exteriors as they will last longer than aluminium. Models that use recognised branded components (controllers, compressors and fans) rather than cheaper counterparts will also have a longer service life.
It’s also important to look at life-time running costs of refrigeration equipment. As refrigeration is running 24 hours a day, year round, it makes sense to choose a model that has energy-saving features.
Refrigeration with intelligent controllers, such as Precision’s iCool, minimise energy consumption and optimise performance. Precision’s iCool controllers are based on fuzzy logic, automatically adapting to working conditions. Whatever the conditions, the intelligent controllers will operate in the most efficient manner.
All Precision uprights and counters conform to the European EcoDesign Energy Labelling Standard and boast some of the best ratings in the market. For example, the MCU211 counter is ‘A’ rated and only uses 1.25kWh/24hr under EcoDesign test conditions.
For information on Precision products visit www.precision-refrigeration.co.uk