NYC Metro Area’s HVACR Blog

Commercial Refrigeration

Restaurant Refrigeration Installation: Get It Right the First Time

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What’s the worst thing you can imagine happening right before the grand opening of a new restaurant:

  • An invasion of ants taking over your kitchen?
  • A sink hole opening up right in front of your restaurant?
  • A freak tornado hitting NYC in December and specifically your block?

Seriously, other than losing your chef to the competition, one of the worst things that can happen is having problems with your refrigeration equipment. After all, if your refrigeration installation goes badly, ALL your cold food storage equipment could be affected and fail to hold the correct temperature. And that could mean you can’t store all the product and ingredients that are being delivered, your staff can’t practice their prep techniques and recipes to get ready for the grand opening, and you can’t prepare any food that’s safe to consume. How are you going to open?

That’s exactly what happened to the owner of a New York City restaurant group when he hired to wrong people to do the refrigeration installation for a new restaurant.

This refrigeration installation story could happen to anyone

You know how it is. There are so many expenses involved in opening a new restaurant:

  • You need to hire a whole staff and laying out big bucks to get the best talent.
  • Renovating the new space ALWAYS costs more than the estimates. But you need the place to look great given the competition in NYC.
  • Serving top-quality food requires top-quality equipment, so you’re not skimping on kitchen equipment. You need the best, which doesn’t come cheap.

So you’ve already shelled out a fortune by the time you’re ready for refrigeration installation. And it’s tempting to go with that cut-rate installer a supplier told you about. After all, what can really go wrong?

A restaurant owner in New York City found out the hard way exactly what could go wrong after he hired the low-cost installer to do his refrigeration installation. The new restaurant was just a couple of days from opening when they began to experience problems with their refrigeration equipment: the boxes were not holding to the correct temperatures. Since the problem was not just one piece of equipment, it was clear that the refrigeration installation was to blame.

The first thing they did was get on the phone to those installers. That’s when the restaurant owner realized he got what he paid for: the installers refused to stand by their work and return to fix the problems with the refrigeration installation.

Luckily, the next thing that restaurant owner did was smart: he reached out to the experts at Arista to re-do the refrigeration installation. Could we get his problems solved in time for the grand opening?

It was certainly a challenging situation, and a high-stakes one. That owner had a lot riding on his grand opening, so at that point he acted quickly to call in refrigeration experts to make things right. He had plans for opening a number of new locations, and this was an important occasion.

When Arista’s refrigeration installation team went in and inspected the job, it was immediately apparent that there were numerous errors and quite a bit of work to be done. The signs of poor quality work were everywhere:

  • There were refrigerant leaks where the pipes met joints and fittings. Arista’s refrigeration team tested all the piping and fittings and repaired the leaks.
  • There were controls that were incorrectly wired and therefore not properly controlling the temperature of the refrigeration units. The wiring was re-done correctly.
  • Compressors and condensing units were not correctly sized for the refrigeration units they were cooling. With the heart of the system undersized, it was not surprising that the cooling power was inadequate and the units having trouble maintaining set temperature. The undersized compressors and condensers were replaced.
  • A water pump that pumped water from a cooling tower to cool the compressor was also undersized, leading to an inadequate supply of cool water, which also undermined the operation of the compressor. The water pump was replaced.

With the clock ticking as the grand opening day got closer, Arista’s refrigeration team worked over 30 hours to set everything straight and fix the new restaurant’s refrigeration installation problems. The owner was pleased to finally find a qualified refrigeration service company, since he had plans to open additional locations and would need refrigeration installations for those restaurants. And he now had a dependable company to maintain the equipment they installed to keep it in excellent working condition.

*Related article: Neglected Commercial Refrigeration Equipment is a Recipe for Disaster!

What’s the moral of this refrigeration installation story?

Sometimes you do get what you pay for. It’s imperative to vet the technical qualifications of refrigeration installation vendors, instead of making your choice based on price alone. Remember that for a restaurant owner, having an established relationship with a qualified refrigeration company is a valuable thing. It’s reassuring to know that when you have a problem, you have a trusted service provider just a phone call away with the smarts to diagnose and repair issues that others can’t figure out.

If you’d like to learn more about taking care of your refrigeration equipment the right way from the start to prevent downtime, get your copy of our free guide to Refrigeration Preventive Maintenance Contracts: How to Find the Right One for Your Food Service Operation.

Get Your Free Guide to Refrigeration Maintenance Contracts, Today!