At a given time, your home refrigerator probably holds enough food to feed you and your family for about a week. A restaurant refrigerator, on the other hand, has to be stocked every day with enough food to keep a dining room full of paid customers happy, with surplus stock just in case. That’s why restaurant kitchens need commercial refrigeration units rather than standard residential fridge models.
But what’s the difference between the two? Aside from the sheer volume of food that has to be stored inside, commercial refrigerators have several advantages that help them meet the high performance expectations in a restaurant setting. Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner, when your fridge breaks down, you want to hire the right person to fix it-and for a commercial model, you’ll need a repair technician with the training, licensing, and specialized experience to get the job done right.
Size and Layout
It may seem obvious, but commercial fridges must be significantly larger than residential models, which are usually designed to be as sleek and unobtrusive as possible in a home kitchen. Additionally, while residential fridge models often feature an array of shelves and drawers to separate food, commercial models tend to be utilitarian inside: two to four shelves designed for easy food access and stacking. A home unit might have an attached freezer, ice maker, and water dispenser, while in commercial kitchens, those are often separate appliances.
Commercial refrigeration systems are much more powerful than standard models. This is in part because they’re larger and must cool more food at once. Additionally, in a restaurant setting, there are health department codes related to the temperature at which food must be stored. A commercial fridge must keep food at a consistent temperature so that all food that goes out of the kitchen is safe for customers to eat. Note that residential fridge models are often more energy-efficient than commercial units; in order to produce consistent cooling in a large space, a commercial fridge must run constantly.
Residential fridges can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. You can choose a colored exterior, a plastic finish, or a shiny metal surface, depending on your kitchen decor. With commercial refrigerators, however, aesthetics aren’t really a consideration. Most commercial units have a stainless steel exterior for ease of cleaning. There are fewer size and shape options, as well, because in a commercial kitchen, form matters less than function.
Because of these differences between residential and commercial refrigerators, not all refrigerator repair technicians will take both house and business calls. In general, it’s always a good idea to ensure that the appliance repair professional you hire has experience or training to work on your specific unit, and this is even more vital in a commercial setting. Delayed or improper refrigerator repairs in a restaurant kitchen can shut down the business or make patrons ill, resulting in a loss of income and possible fines from the health department. If you have a commercial refrigeration unit that’s not pulling its weight, don’t trust your appliance’s health to a technician who’s under-qualified. Call someone with experience in commercial appliance repair.