Designing a restaurant kitchen is a complicated business, especially when it comes to your ventilation. Many consider the kitchen ventilation system to be one of the most complex parts of designing a food service establishment.
NYC Metro Area’s HVACR Blog
If you’re interested in reducing energy usage and costs, you’ve come to the right place. There are plenty of energy saving tips for restaurants that lower energy consumption and your bills. Here’s the good news: not all energy saving tips for restaurants require a huge capital outlay.
First, let’s take a closer look at the root of the problem.
In the food service business, every hour that you’re open and operating is critical to your bottom line. So what happens when you’re open but not operating (or not fully operating) due to maintenance issues? Chances are, you’re losing money. Here are some (probably all too familiar) examples:
- The HVAC is out, your kitchen staff is ready to pass out and customers are walking out due to the heat
- Your walk-in freezer is down, the ice cream is melting, and you have a delivery coming in an hour
- It’s Fried Chicken Friday, and your deep fryer is on the fritz
- The health inspector is due, and the dishwasher just stopped working
Looking for restaurant kitchen design ideas? You’ve come to the right place.
Arista has done restaurant HVAC, refrigeration and kitchen repair for many years (decades, really) so we’ve been involved in countless restaurant startups and renovations. In the process, we’ve learned quite a few useful tips. Here goes!
What exactly is a make up air unit for a kitchen?
What is make up air? Simply stated, a make up air unit pulls air in to your space from outdoors and conditions it to the indoor temperature, to replace air that’s pulled out by your kitchen exhaust equipment. Without it, you get back drafting, poor temperature control, negative air pressure and air quality problems.
Let’s explore the reasons why a make up air unit is so essential for restaurant kitchens.
Why is Make Up Air Important for Restaurants?
Depending on the type of cooking you are doing, you might even have more than one exhaust system in your kitchen: one for heat & grease generating cooking appliances (like fryers, grills, and cooktops) and another for steam-generating appliances (such as dishwashing equipment and baking ovens).
Restaurant kitchen exhaust systems are often very powerful, removing thousands of cubic feet of air per minute. When air is removed from your kitchen, it needs to be replaced with fresh air. Without that replacement air, you wind up with all sorts of unpleasant and even dangerous conditions, which we’ll get to in a minute. The problem is compounded in newer buildings constructed to be air-tight, which prevents the natural flow of outside air into the space.
Air flow is really important for your restaurant kitchen
If you’re setting up a restaurant kitchen for the first time, or even renovating an existing kitchen, you probably don’t have to do much research to choose your kitchen’s cooking appliances. After all, food is your thing. Changes are you have known exactly what you want for a long time. But what about your commercial kitchen exhaust hood? Air flow is probably not your thing. And when you start to research your options, you quickly discover that there’s a lot more to it than you thought.
So here’s a quick primer that can help you choose the commercial kitchen exhaust hood that’s perfect for your food service establishment.
Restaurant kitchen design: planning is everything
Your kitchen is the heart and soul of your restaurant. Getting your restaurant kitchen design wrong can be a huge disaster. Design impacts the success of your restaurant in many ways:
- the efficiency of your food prep
- the ability of your staff to follow safe food handling practices
- cleanliness of your restaurant
- whether you’re meeting all applicable codes and standards (if not, you could be shut down or your opening could be delayed)
As a provider of HVAC, refrigeration and kitchen equipment maintenance to NYC restaurants for decades, we’ve been involved in lots of restaurant renovations and build-outs. Over the years, we have learned a thing or two about what NOT to do when creating a restaurant kitchen design. Whether you’re remodeling or opening a new establishment, avoid these bad practices that can cost you big time.
If you’re in the food service business, you know that maintaining comfortable conditions in your restaurant is a must.
It’s never okay to allow your dining room to become too hot, cold or humid. You also can’t have too much equipment noise disturbing your customers. Then there’s the problem of drafty conditions or even kitchen smells being pulled into the dining room by a poorly-functioning restaurant HVAC system. Any of these problems can cause you to lose customers and impact your bottom line.
When you are in the food service business, your refrigeration equipment is your lifeline. You depend on those blast chillers and display cases and low-boy refrigerators and walk-in freezers to keep your ingredients and your product both fresh and safe to consume. The problem is, when any one of those units breaks down, you have a serious problem on your hands.
If you’ve been in the restaurant business for a while, you’ve probably experienced the panic that sets in when you unexpectedly need emergency refrigerator repair. And it always seems to happen during your busiest time! You may find yourself throwing away thousands of dollars in wasted product and losing significant business in a very short period of time. Not to mention the repair bill, which can often cost you double if it happens at night or a weekend.
So when that happens (and it eventually will), you need to know that you can get fast emergency refrigerator repair when you need it. You may already know from experience that you’re unlikely to get fast service if you cold-call just any emergency refrigerator repair company you come across on the Internet.
So how can you find a company you can count on to fix your emergency refrigerator repair problems before your profits melt away like the ice cream in your broken freezer? Read on for three little-known strategies.
Surviving the heat in NYC: 5 ways you’re doing it wrong.
When NYC’s temperatures flirt with triple digits, it can feel like there’s no way surviving the heat in your sweltering office or apartment is even possible. Surviving a zombie apocalypse seems a whole lot easier. Well, as it turns out, we can learn a lot about surviving the heat from the best scientific tips about what to do (and what not to do) when facing a legion of reanimated corpses.
Surviving the heat in NYC, like surviving a zombie apocalypse, requires that you know what you’re doing and have the proper plan in place. Here’s what you are almost certainly doing wrong, and how to change your ways so you don’t get eaten alive by the summer heat and humidity.
Food safety has to be a primary concern on the mind of every NYC restaurant owner. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t stay in business very long. The consequences of serving potentially dangerous food are serious, not only to your patrons’ health, but also for your business:
- poor health inspection grades
- negative reviews on social media and in the press
- lawsuits and even financial damages
New York City’s Winter 2015 Restaurant Week is almost upon us. You’re probably scrambling to get ready for the onslaught of New Yorkers and tourists lining up for a chance to sample the trendiest and tastiest fare the city’s restaurants have to offer. It’s one of the best opportunities to create a buzz about your restaurant and attract a host of new diners.
But if your refrigeration equipment fails, you’ll be sending all those potential new customers home dissatisfied or worse. So, in advance of restaurant week, we’ll be posting great tips and resources on how to keep your equipment (and your head) cool!
If you are a facilities manager for a restaurant group or chain, you have a lot on your plate (pun intended). You can easily have a dozen people calling you every day with problems that need to be fixed, and you can’t possibly check them all out by yourself. You need to rely on service providers for information, assessments, and advice to help you make decisions.
Let’s say you’re overseeing 15 restaurants and you’re responsible for refrigeration and HVAC and commercial kitchen maintenance. If you have different vendors for each system and each location, you could be dealing with as many as 45 vendors! That’s definitely too many hands in the kitchen. Not to mention too much time on the phone and far too much paperwork with all those separate work orders, proposals and invoices. Make your life easier by building a relationship with one trusted refrigeration and HVAC service provider that can handle all your service needs.
Here’s what you stand to gain:
In the food service business, you spend good money on the best ingredients, because your customers expect nothing less than the freshest fare. So much depends on the quality of your food. But if you’re storing that food in commercial refrigeration units that have not been properly maintained, you might as well be throwing your money away.Read more
In the restaurant business, how do you keep your profits consistent when costs are continuously rising? Food prices, utility rates and wages are going nowhere but up. Especially in New York City where competition is fierce, you probably aren’t in a position to raise prices to offset increased expenses. So what can you do? You need to find a way to cut operating costs without impacting the quality of your product or the comfort of your guests.
A surprisingly effective strategy is to focus on energy efficiency. According to ENERGY STAR, the average restaurant uses 5 to 7 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. If yours is a quick-service restaurant, you may be using up to 10 times more energy. That’s a lot of cash that could be going toward your bottom line. If you can save 20 percent on energy costs, that could increase your profit margin by as much as one-third.Read more
Want an “A” on Your Restaurant Health Inspection? Better Get Up to Speed on Refrigeration Maintenance
NYC Restaurant Letter Grades. You know that sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when the NYC health inspector walks into your restaurant? It’s kind of like a moment of imminent danger when your life flashes before your eyes. You instantly see all the things you’ve been meaning to take care of, like the low-boy on your cooking line that’s been running too warm. Then you imagine the potentially catastrophic violations that could come as a total surprise: like having to throw out everything in your self-serve display case because the temperature is too high, and facing a C grade or even the closing of your restaurant because of a Condition V critical violation.Read more
Cold Case: Display Case Gone Bad
For owners of New York City convenience stores, delicatessens, coffee shops and bakeries your refrigerated display cases are the lifeblood of your business. You’ve probably gone to a great deal of time and expense to choose the best commercial refrigeration equipment for your needs, and design a space that showcases your products in the most attractive and convenient way. And of course, you count on that equipment to work reliably 24 hours a day to keep items fresh for your customers.
If a display case breaks down, and you need commercial refrigeration repair, it’s a major headache and a major expense. You may be forced to throw out a lot of expensive product, not to mention the lost business while the unit is down. Then you have to fix or replace the unit in a hurry. Of course it will happen at the most convenient time, on a Sunday or a holiday when the service rates are at a premium. You may even have a health and safety issue if customers consumed food that was not kept at the proper temperature.Read more
‘Just Me and My Blast Chiller’
If you run just about any type of food service operation, your blast chiller is your best buddy…or at least one of your most critical pieces of commercial refrigeration equipment. It increases the productivity of your kitchen by allowing you to make larger batches and produce more product during slow periods. It reduces waste since you no longer need to throw out leftovers every day. Most importantly, it preserves the flavor, aroma, color, texture, and nutrients in your food, improving the quality of what you serve. Use of blast chillers can even reduce your legal liability by ensuring that your food is handled in compliance with food safety regulations.
The best part is, your blast chiller asks for very little in return. These units are very reliable and can easily last 15 to 20 years. All you need to do is some simple cleaning and maintenance. What more could you ask from one piece of equipment?Read more
As a business owner, you probably know that preventative maintenance keeps your heating and air conditioning systems running reliably and efficiently. What you may not realize is that regular service is just as important for your refrigeration equipment. After all, these are mission-critical systems that can quickly cost you a fortune when they go down. Even when you think they are working properly, your refrigeration units can be consuming too much energy, which costs not only your wallet but the entire planet. Preventative care will save you some green and also help you do your part to be environmentally conscious.
Here’s what you stand to gain by scheduling regular cleaning and tune-ups for your refrigeration units:Read more
New York City’s Restaurant Week is fast approaching. Each year New Yorkers and tourists flood the city’s restaurants for a chance to taste what might normally be beyond their budget or their pallette. If you’re a restaurant owner that could mean a huge boon for business. But if your refrigeration equipment fails, all those bang-for-your-buck meals won’t mean much. So, in advance of restaurant week, we’ll be posting great tips and resources on how to keep your equipment (and your head) cool!
As a restaurant owner, your refrigeration equipment is both your best friend and your worst nightmare. Without your coolers, chillers and freezers, you’d be serving lukewarm drinks, wilted salads and melted ice cream. Let’s face it, without them you wouldn’t be in business at all. And that’s exactly the problem: when they break down, your business quickly comes to a screeching halt.Read more
Do you have an older air conditioning unit with a slow leak? If so, you probably end up calling in your HVAC service provider every summer when the unit stops cooling effectively. They give you two options: find and fix the leak, which will take longer and cost more, or just refill the refrigerant, which is the less expensive quick fix. You may be tempted to go for the cheaper option. The building will be cool again faster, so why pay more?Read more
In today’s world, it would be very difficult to live without air conditioning and refrigeration, let alone run a business. But the refrigerants these systems use to preserve our food and keep us cool are doing just the opposite to our planet. When leaked into the atmosphere, older refrigerants like freon cause depletion of the ozone layer, and newer refrigerants called F-gases contribute to the greenhouse effect and global warming.
As long as these chemicals stay where they belong, inside your cooling equipment, there is no cause for alarm. The problem comes in when the systems develop slow leaks, or are serviced by technicians who don’t use the right equipment and techniques for working with refrigerants.
As a facilities manager, it’s your job to ensure the safe handling of refrigerants in your building. You could face hefty fines if found to be in violation of the EPA’s Clean Air Act. And as global warming increasingly wreaks havoc on the climate, our grandchildren will pay a much higher price.Read more
If It’s Bad for the Ozone Layer, It’s Bad for You.
If you’re a facility manager, you may think all you need to know about your air conditioning system is that it’s working properly. If the building is cool, why worry about how that happens?
The reason you should be concerned is that refrigerants, the chemicals in your air conditioner that actually do the cooling, can pose a serious threat to your building’s occupants (not to mention the planet’s ozone layer) if not handled properly.
It’s important to understand the potential dangers posed by refrigerants so you make sure to hire only qualified technicians to work on your air conditioning system, and so that you take precautions to prevent any accidents from occurring in your building.Read more