The commercial kitchen has undergone tremendous changes over the past decades. What was once seen as efficient and cost-effective in the past, is no longer an ideal option. This is thanks to technological advancements that enable the modern commercial kitchen to meet the current demand for quality food around the world whilst reinforcing environmental and efficiency directives.
These changes and advancements are rapidly changing the face of commercial refrigeration.
Such advancements have been seen in how kitchen owners store their food to prevent it from going bad. Commercial refrigeration historically (and in some cases still does) revolves around standard cabinets, tall upright models and undercounter units which help maintain the quality of food in the kitchen.
Commercial refrigeration typically relies on tall upright models for fridge and freezer cabinets, preferable as they take up a smaller surface area in the kitchen by utilising vertical space to provide a large capacity for storage. Undercounter refrigerators are also popular as they are not only easy to fit in small kitchens but their small sizes lead to lower electricity costs.
While these options, especially modern ones, have been known to provide great service in terms of efficiency, there is an emerging trend of commercial refrigerated drawers which are bringing a new element of storage to foodservice operations. Professional chefs are increasingly choosing refrigerated drawers as part of their food storage systems.
Benefits of Refrigerated Drawers
There are a number of reasons why refrigerated drawers seem to interest professional chefs.
- Often designed with a higher climate class meaning they can be positioned in the heart of the kitchen.
- Refrigerated drawers offer precise performance and prevent energy loss. Users only need to open the part (or drawer) they need.
- The drawer design creates a cold well effect where, when open, any heat rises out of the drawer while the cold temperatures remain within the well.
- They offer better space utilisation for storage purposes while at the same time taking a smaller surface area in the kitchen. This makes refrigerated drawers an ideal pick for anyone running a small kitchen.
- The drawers operate at precision temperatures which guarantee the freshness of highly perishable food items.
- Some kitchen cold drawers are built with the ability to switch from fridge to freezer in a short time thus reducing the need to have two units in a kitchen.
- Single, double or triple door models available to meet the storage demands of all sized kitchens.
- Storage drawers provide more than just space to hold and preserve foods. Prep counters with drawers introduce additional worktops for food, while some drawers, classed as chefs bases are load bearing and can support countertop equipment.
- They are more accessible and offer better integration with kitchen designs.
- Typically gastronorm compatible.
Notable Names in Refrigerated Drawers
There are multiple brands on the market that have honed the performance, design and efficiency areas of their range of refrigerated drawers. Adande, Foster, Tefcold and True are known to provide some of the best equipment on the market.
Adande fridge drawers provide users with unparalleled benefits to create an efficient commercial kitchen. The brand comes with hot and cold options, each suitable for different situations. These choices provide a number of benefits in a kitchen.
- Models are suitable for positioning and use within the kitchen thanks to their high chilling power, high climate class and ability to perform in hot conditions. This is especially ideal because commercial kitchens experience high ambient temperatures which might affect the energy efficiency of the units.
- Their use saves valuable space and time as everything you need is close at hand. This boosts operational efficiency in a commercial kitchen.
- Some have a heat shield system that allows them to be operated within hot kitchens where temperatures could rise up to 40°C. You do not have to worry about heat damaged parts or the ability of the drawers to pull down, achieve and maintain required storage conditions.
- Adande refrigerated drawers provide chefs with the option to change from fridge to freezer function quickly for greater versatility. Blast chilling options are also available which allow faster cooling of highly perishable food items in line with food safety regulations. Adande optional blast chill capabilities help properly handle food items that require fast chilling action.
- The drawers offer a compact storage solution yet still deliver good capacity allowing you to comfortably handle your stock.
- Some models have the ability to support countertop equipment so that you can combine multiple functions such as storage and food preparation hence saving space and eliminating the need for multiple pieces of equipment.
- Pass through Matchbox models are available which can be accessed from both front and back of the equipment, ideal for central positioning in large kitchens.
Refrigerated Drawers and Freezer Drawers Costs
While the benefits of these commercial drawers are apparent, they do come at a price. Generally, more costly than standard refrigerated cabinets, fridge drawers and freezer drawers will require a bigger budget.
The Tefcold Uni-Drawer range is ideal for businesses working to a budget. Offering dual temperature functions, high climate class for positioning in the kitchen, the load bearing capacity to support countertop equipment and environmental awareness being gassed by R290 refrigerant, you get the same benefits as with other refrigerated drawers but with a lower price tag.
Commercial leasing is an option, allowing you to spread the total cost into manageable monthly repayments. Foster also offer a 0% Interest Free Credit option on their equipment which is a popular alternative to leasing.
Refrigerated drawers don’t actually require MEPS (Minimum Energy Performance Standard) labels yet (only at present mandatory on fan assisted, solid door cabinets) however this will change in the future.
Where possible, we aim to provide any available MEPS information to give customers all the important details before making a purchase.
It’s easy to see why commercial refrigerated drawers are rising in popularity, and it surely won’t be too long before every kitchen can boast this sought after piece of equipment.