November 2015

Master-Bilt Refrigeration News & Product Information

Configuring Refrigeration Equipment To Save Labor


With wage hikes and other increasing labor costs, foodservice operators are looking for ways to cut expenses anywhere they can. While maybe not the most obvious place to start, maximizing performance and convenience in refrigeration equipment can help squeeze out more labor savings. Here are a few tips:

  • Use a glass door reach-in in the kitchen to save time by quickly identifying contents. Unlike a front-of-house glass door merchandiser, which is geared toward retail selling, a back-of-house reach-in needs to be a little more durable and is usually constructed of stainless steel to match solid door refrigerators and freezers also found in food prep areas.
  • Installing pan slides in reach-ins makes it easier to store prepared foods prior to placing in an oven. Just slide a pan out of the reach-in and place directly in the oven. Similarly, roll-in refrigerators make it possible to roll in an entire rack full of pans for storage and pull them as needed.
  • In some kitchens, using a pass-thru refrigerator makes it easy to stock from one side and serve from the other.
  • Blast chillers make it possible to prepare meals ahead of time during slower workday periods. Chefs can prepare many menu items at a time, chill or freeze them, and bring out when needed for quick re-heating and serving. Items generally can be stored for up to five days.
  • View windows in walk-ins serve a similar purpose to glass door reach-ins making it easy to peek inside and instantly know what’s inside and how much is there.
  • Additionally, vinyl curtains and doors make it easy to pass back and forth through a walk-in without opening and closing a door. While you wouldn’t want to leave a walk-in door open all the time, vinyl curtains add convenience for the busiest times while holding cold air inside the walk-in.
  • Save time and workspace in the kitchen by using chef bases. These bases are made to fit under combi ovens for refrigerated space that fits within in the same footprint as the oven. Meat, fish and poultry can conveniently be stored directly beneath the oven for quick access.
  • When preparing salads, sandwiches or pizzas, keeping an adequate supply of ingredients handy is a time-saver, so use a prep unit with as many food pans as you can possibly fit into your workspace. Mega top units, with an extra row of pans, are specially designed for this purpose.
  • Also in regard to prep units, use refrigerated drawers for quicker access to stored items. Most times, it’s quicker and easier to pull out a drawer to get that bag of lettuce than open a door, bend down and search for it.
  • One more prep unit idea is to use optional overshelves for more storage space and quick access to more ingredients.