How to Choose the Best Commercial Refrigerator for Your Restaurant

How to Choose the Best Commercial Refrigerator for Your Restaurant

Regardless of the type of restaurant you're opening, the equipment in your kitchen is integral to the success of your staff.

Choosing the right commercial refrigerator not only helps increase the efficiency of your operation, it helps improve the quality of your food. A high-quality refrigerator will also help protect your customers from foodborne illnesses.

Most restaurants don't go through their entire stock on a daily basis. They need a commercial refrigerator freezer to store food for the next day.

A commercial refrigerator is a huge investment, so it's important you do a little homework before making a decision. Let's go over some things to consider before shopping around.

Do a Little Research

Looking into the success of different top brands is crucial before you make your purchase. A great place to start is with online reviews. These will give you some insight into how other restaurateurs feel about certain makes and models.

You should also look into the types of warranties the best refrigerator brands offer. If something goes wrong, will they send someone out to make the necessary repairs?

It's also important to look for the Energy Star emblem. Units that have this are much more energy-efficient, which will save you money in the long run. These units are also better for the environment, as they help lower greenhouse gas emissions.

You also need to consider your budget. If you're just starting out, you may not be able to afford the very best model on the market. Fortunately, there are a number of great units that won't break the bank.

The Perfect Functionality for Your Operation

It's important your new commercial refrigerator is perfectly suited for your kitchen operation. The point is to help streamline day-to-day functionality.

Your menu will have a big impact on the type of refrigerator you need. Will you need easy access to frozen items? If so, you should probably consider a freezer/refrigerator combo.

A good tip is to make a detailed list of the quantity of food needed on a daily basis. Also, factor in whether you have a full-size walk-in freezer that your staff will take from each day.

You'll also need to consider the size of your kitchen staff and how many people will be in and out of the refrigerator. The last thing you want is your new unit causing bottlenecks and slowing down your operation.

The Right Size

Now that you've nailed down the type of functionality you need out of a new refrigerator, you should now consider the size.

If you're simply replacing the unit you have with a new model, you've already narrowed down your options for the exterior space. However, you can shoot for finding a unit that employs better use of space on the interior.

Don't make the mistake of underestimating the storage capacity you'll need. A good rule of thumb is to try to find something that will exceed your storage needs. This helps avoid space issues in the future.

It's also important to consider the shelving and drawer options in your new refrigerator. Find something that allows you to easily organize the different types of food your staff needs on a daily basis. Make sure you find a unit that provides enough interior space to avoid cross-contamination.

Consider Your Kitchen Space

Before investing in a new unit, make sure you measure your kitchen space to ensure it's not going to cause a problem. Don't forget to take doors into consideration, as your staff will need to open them often throughout each shift.

You also need to think about where the new unit will live in your kitchen. Who on your staff will need the easiest access to the refrigerator and what kind of cooking will take place around it?

It may be a good idea to speak to your kitchen staff first and find out what would make their job easier. If you find that your current layout limits your options for a new model, you may want to consider changing the floorplan around to accommodate the unit you need.

Your new refrigerator shouldn't interrupt the natural workflow of your kitchen, so do some planning before making a purchase.

Don't Forget About the Condenser

When buying a commercial refrigerator, you need to consider where the condenser will go. This is the most important component of any refrigerator or freezer, as it helps regulate the temperature.

You can either get a top or bottom-mounted refrigerator. Each one has pros and cons you need to consider.

Bottom-mounted units are great in situations where cleaning and maintenance are high priorities. You'll often see these units in bakeries or kitchens where not much grilling takes place.

Top-mounted condensers are able to avoid clogging better than bottom-mounted units. They also don't blow warm air into the refrigerator when opened. Another advantage is they offer easier access to food because the doors can reach all the way to the ground.

Types of Refrigerators

Now that you've done your homework, it's time to have a look at what's out there.

If you're opening a restaurant for the first time, make sure you find out what type of refrigeration is required for your type of operation. Staying up to code is essential.

If the patrons of your restaurant will be able to see the kitchen operation, consider getting a unit that looks nice. However, functionality is your main concern.

There are all sorts of styles available on the market. Walk-in refrigerators are great for large operations or opt for a reach-in unit for easier access to supplies.

You can also choose an under-counter unit if you only need quick access to a few items during a shift.

Find the Perfect Commercial Refrigerator

Outfitting your kitchen with the best possible commercial refrigerator will drastically boost efficiency and also help improve the quality of your food.

Make sure you take every possible factor into account before making a purchase. Your kitchen staff will appreciate it.


  1. comment authorJett Tritton Aug 24, 2018

    A refrigerator is a very important equipment in Restaurant because at the end of the everything is going to be stored in the same and if that is not working then al the food can be wasted next day as I am very much experienced by all these things.

  2. comment authorTaylor Anderson Dec 5, 2018

    I like how you mentioned that one should look at different brands of commercial fridges and cool rooms, as different companies will have different warranties. It could also be beneficial to read customer reviews, as certain brands may also have different perks. Thanks for all the great tips on choosing a commercial refrigerator.

  3. comment authorDean Phillips Feb 19, 2019

    It was smart that your article mentioned how when you are purchasing a refrigerator for your restaurant you should consider your budget and find a unit that is great and won't break the bank. My wife works at a restaurant that has a refrigerator that has been having issues keeping food within temperature, so they are thinking about either getting it replaced or fixed. Either way, it would be beneficial for them to hire a company that can offer them insight as well as complete the job they are looking to get done.

  4. comment authorMindy Jollie Jul 26, 2019

    Thanks for pointing out that the condenser needs to be placed advantageously so that the refrigerator will continue to work properly. I imagine that many restauranteurs forget that piece when designing their kitchen. If I were putting together my own restaurant, I'd want to make sure everything was working properly, and maybe even have a repairman look at the setup before moving forward.

  5. comment authorjack Jan 8, 2020

    It is helpful that you mentioned that you should consider the size of a refrigerator when you are considering getting one for your restaurant. I don't own a restaurant, but my dad does, and he is going to need a new fridge soon. I was hoping to help him find the best one for his needs. Before he chooses one, I will be sure to talk to him about the size that he will need, so he could get the perfect one.

  6. comment authorcharles walk Feb 20, 2020

    I appreciate that you mentioned that you may need a certain size of refrigerator for your business. My dad has talked about starting his own restaurant, and I would want to help him with everything if he were to. If we decide to start it, I will be sure to take careful consideration for the size of the fridge.

  7. comment authorAmy Saunders Nov 22, 2021

    Oh wow, I totally agree with you when you reminded us to comply with the local rules and regulations when it comes to the installation of a commercial fridge. One of my friends is in the final phase of opening a café next month. I'll make sure he takes note of this information so he'll make the right purchase later.

  8. comment authorGreta James Nov 29, 2021

    I am glad that you mentioned we should consider where a condenser should go in a commercial refrigerator. My uncle is opening a restaurant in the spring and he needs to find equipment that will meet his needs and fit in his space. I think he would be smart to contact an expert about his refrigerator and freezer options.

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