Restaurant Refrigeration: 4 Lessons From Frosty the Snowman
Don’t you just love the holiday season? There’s no other time of year when you’re actually encouraged to eat cookies and milk and watch animated shows on TV.
In case you need any more convincing to participate in these holiday traditions, there’s an additional benefit you may not have considered. Those holiday shows can be surprisingly educational! Here’s an example: if you’re in the restaurant business, Frosty the Snowman can teach you some important lessons about restaurant refrigeration. If you want to keep your commercial refrigeration equipment running reliably, read on to find out what you can learn from Frosty.
Restaurant refrigeration lesson #1: TEMPERATURE VIGILANCE
The sun was hot that day when Frosty came to life. It’s a good thing he was vigilant about checking the temperature. As someone made of snow figures out in a hurry, he could be in danger if the temperature got too high: “When the temperature goes up, I start to melt… then I get all wishy-washy!” If Frosty had not checked the conditions when he suspected there could be a problem, the story would have ended with him turning into a puddle of magic Christmas water.
Your diners could be in just as much danger if the temperatures inside your restaurant refrigeration equipment creep up too high. That’s one reason you need to be just as vigilant about checking the temperatures in your restaurant freezer and refrigerator units.
Imagine the nightmare that could happen if you’re storing poultry at a temperature that’s too high and people get sick? Or you might be forced to throw out expensive food that spoils faster than expected. Or, you could wind up failing your health inspection, which brings another set of problems!
Learn more: How to Clean Up Your Commercial Refrigeration and Nail that ‘A’ Grade
Luckily, you have easy to read digital thermostats, unlike the old mercury thermometers of Frosty’s day. However, the precise displays on your commercial refrigerator and freezer can be misleading. That’s why merely checking them frequently is not enough to keep your food and your diners safe. You must have the thermostats on your restaurant refrigeration equipment calibrated regularly by a restaurant refrigeration service professional. Only then can you be sure the temperature readings are accurate and your ingredients and products are safe and fresh.
Restaurant refrigeration lesson #2: KEEP DOORS CLOSED
This one is another lesson in constant vigilance. When Frosty stayed safely closed inside the refrigerated train car, he and the frozen Christmas cakes stayed in top form. And remember the toasty greenhouse filled with Christmas poinsettias? Properly sealed doors kept them, and little Karen, safe and warm. (Not so safe for Frosty.)
How often are doors left open unnecessarily on your restaurant refrigeration and freezer units? Probably every day: doors are propped open while deliveries are carried in. A low boy door is left open while the chef takes out an ingredient, uses it, then puts it back. Bad habits like this can cause the temperature inside your commercial refrigerators and freezers to creep up above safe levels and impact the freshness of your food.
Here’s another problem with doors. When door hardware and gaskets don’t seal properly, they don’t close all the way and warm air can get in. Before you know it, the unit is running warm and your buttercream is wilting. Unlike intentionally leaving the door open for a few minutes, this problem means the door is not fully closed all day long.
Make sure your restaurant refrigeration units are kept closed and are closing properly. That means regularly inspecting all the hardware and gaskets. If you find a problem, call in a professional to replace the parts right away.
Restaurant refrigeration lesson #3: EQUIPMENT CARE
Frosty took care of himself to stay in top form. He made sure to exercise (that’s how he got to be the best bellywhopper in the business), and he sought out the right environmental conditions to keep himself cool and healthy instead of melty.
Keeping your restaurant refrigeration units in top form and running reliably also requires taking care of them. They may not need exercise, but they do need regular maintenance. This is one of the most important refrigeration lessons of all. Have you ever had a unit fail and at a bad time (when is a good time?) and decided to order a new one instead of dealing with getting it fixed?
You’ll save money on both new equipment purchases and restaurant refrigeration repairs by getting a preventative maintenance contract. Your mission-critical restaurant refrigeration equipment needs cleaning and tune-ups to keep running reliably. That includes cleaning the coils, cleaning fans and inspecting motors, checking refrigerant levels, tightening loose electrical connections, replacing faulty gaskets and door hinges, checking for condensation and water leaks, and cleaning ice machines. All of these tasks prevent breakdowns and keep your food fresh and safe to consume.
Learn more: Commercial Refrigeration Service: Must-Do for the Holiday Rush
Restaurant refrigeration lesson #4: TRUST THE EXPERTS
Who can Frosty trust to solve his problems? Certainly not the bumbling magician who threatens his pet rabbit and tries to deprive a snowman of his right to live. Karen meant well, but she just didn’t think things through and her solution backfired because she lacked experience and foresight. It’s Santa Claus who comes through in the clutch. After all, Santa is the expert about Christmas snow and getting people to behave.
So, our last restaurant refrigeration lesson from Frosty is about trusting the experts.
It’s essential to properly vet any restaurant refrigeration company that installs or services your units. When you make a quick call based on convenience or price alone, you could be setting yourself up for a costly mistake.
Read this related article to learn more: Restaurant Refrigeration Installation: Get It Right the First Time.
Here’s the good news: a restaurant refrigeration maintenance contract doesn’t cost as much as you might think. The plan can be customized for your needs and your budget. And as an added bonus, you’ll have qualified refrigeration experts just a phone call away if you ever need repairs in a hurry. Find out more about how it works from this helpful guide to Refrigeration Preventive Maintenance Contracts: How to Find the Right One for Your Food Service Operation.
When you start taking better care of your restaurant refrigeration equipment, something wonderful is just bound to happen!