Christmas and the weeks leading up to the festive season are the busiest time of year for businesses in the hospitality and catering industry. But as operators gear up for an increase in food and drink sales, it’s vital to make sure that any refrigeration units are equipped to take the strain. Serge Kremer, CEO at Husky, offers his top five tips for managing customer trade over the Christmas period.
1) Don’t take any chances — invest now
In our experience, the run up to Christmas is the best time to invest in new products. Businesses can have confidence that an increase in customer trade will soon show a return on any investments. Investing in new refrigeration units will also reduce the risk of any downtime and losing out on revenue. Fridges need to survive tough, extremely busy conditions at this time of year. Look for robust products with features such as re-enforced hinges and self-closing doors, so staff can work efficiently and stock is chilled to the optimum temperature.
2) Timing is everything
Make sure you invest in new products before the busy period arrives. This will mean your staff will have enough time to get used to any new equipment and to be briefed on how it works. Installing new units in good time will also impress customers ahead of Christmas. You will also see an improvement in the coldness of your beer and wine by upgrading your old units that may not be achieving the optimum temperature as efficiently.
“The majority of chillers and freezers have recommended loading limits from the manufacturer — make sure you follow them”
3) Don’t overstock your cabinets
It’s vital not to overstock cabinets. The majority of chillers and freezers have recommended loading limits from the manufacturer — make sure you follow them. It’s extremely important to keep products within these limits as this ensures the air circulates around the products inside. Overloading the units will affect the internal airflow within a cabinet, and therefore reduce its ability to chill effectively.
4) Choose the right location
Putting a cabinet in the wrong place can lead to inadequate ventilation, meaning the cabinet will have to work harder to maintain its temperature. Take into account any excessive heat sources and the ambient room temperature. It’s also important to make sure that freestanding cabinets are not placed against walls with no ventilation gap. There should be a gap of approximately 100mm at the back and 20mm at either side to allow heat flow from the condenser. If a cabinet gets over-heated, this will affect its ability to provide cooling. This doesn’t apply to built-in units.
5) Caring for your unit
Check the temperature of your unit regularly, making sure it is set at the appropriate level for the stored product. Running too cold will increase energy consumption. Clean the condensers approximately every three months to prevent natural debris from gathering and stopping the cabinet working properly. In hot, dusty or greasy conditions, do this more frequently.