To a bar or restaurant owner, a commercial bar fridge is essential. They are also a major investment that could make or break the business. A good commercial beverage cooler must keep, wine, beer, cool drinks and milk at the appropriate temperature without fail to ensure a consistently superb customer experience and preservation of stock.
Preparing for Business Reopening
Recent comments from the Bureau for Economic Research indicating that government could relax lockdown restrictions for South Africa in the coming weeks is a boon for the hospitality industry and members of the public alike.
With restaurants, bars, cafés and juice bars primed for the busy summer season just around the corner, it may be time for businesses to relook their cooling capacity.
There are many options available when buying new beverage coolers. However, choosing the right ones can be tricky. A large bar or commercial kitchen may require several fridges for different storage and supply purposes. Smaller cafés, on the other hand, may only need smaller beverage coolers.
You must therefore be careful to choose bar fridges that are best suited to your venue, operations, and types of beverages you stock. You must also ensure that they are positioned and installed correctly.
To help facilitate this essential investment decision, we’ve put together a practical guide to what to look for in a commercial bar fridge.
How to Choose a Commercial Bar Fridge
Think of Size and Capacity
Your commercial bar fridge needs to meet the requirements of your bar, shop or kitchen and having the right capacity is essential. You will need enough space to store the drinks and food required for the busiest service period. Too little space means you won’t be able to cope with demand. Your staff will also be frustrated with everything being squashed into the shelves and stacked awkwardly.
On the flip side, too much space might incur unnecessarily high running costs.
Also, consider the way your commercial bar fridge will fit into your establishment. Take some measurements before placing an order to ensure it won’t block thoroughfares. Make sure it is also the right height to sit under your countertops and can be delivered and installed easily. Sometimes it is best to check out the fridge in person.
Choose a Model Built with Sturdy Material
Stainless steel is by far the best material for your commercial beverage cooler. Your refrigerator is only as good as the material it is made from. Plastic interiors are the cheapest but tend to crack within a couple of years.
Aluminium costs less than stainless steel. However, while it is stronger than plastic, it makes your commercial beverage cooler less durable. It is also less sanitary and harder to clean than stainless steel.
When looking at aesthetic wear and tear, a stainless steel bar fridge is also far more scratch-resistant than the cheaper aluminium version. It is therefore worth investing a little extra to save on repairs and maintenance in the long run.
Consider Organisational Features and Design
Think about how you are going to be using the commercial bar fridge. Do you have space for a double door or triple door under counter beverage cooler? Would it be best to have a smaller, freestanding beverage cooler, perhaps?
What about a countertop beverage cooler with a clear glass door and a lightbox for displaying drinks to customers while at the same time advertising your brand?
Also, look for a beverage cooler that offers faster internal cooling after opening to ensure drinks remain frosty during peak serving periods.
Go for Digital Temperature Control
The best way to ensure that wine, beer, soft drinks and foods are properly stored at the correct temperature at all times, is with digital temperature control in single degree increments.
It takes the guessing out of temperature settings and optimises efficient food storage. This is especially critical when working with perishables or different types of wine that have different temperature requirements.
A beverage cooler with remote control enables the ultimate ease of use by allowing you to adjust the temperature and light settings without reaching under the counter.
Look Out for Other Convenient features
For security purposes, your commercial beverage cooler should have a locking mechanism to keep your prized beverage collection or stock from wandering off.
It’s also great to have a beverage cooler with good interior lighting. It will not only light up the establishment, it will also make it easier for customers to see what is available and for staff to select the product the customer wants.
In today’s competitive market, you cannot put a price on quality and customer satisfaction. It’s all about staying on top of your game and getting those five-star ratings on social media. Quality appliances help to ensure quality service and, by extension, customer satisfaction which generates best-in-class ratings.
Check the Warranty
Even the best, most reliable brand of beverage coolers eventually need to be serviced or repaired. This is where you’ll want a warranty that offers quick service without additional costs. Check what each manufacturer’s warranty will cover and for how long.
You want to make sure that any repairs will be covered and done by professionals. The best manufacturers also have large networks of repairs and service agents who are accredited and how will get your bar’s most valuable asset back in business in a jiffy.