A culture of buying cheap refrigeration equipment is leaving caterers exposed to breakdowns and potential food safety breaches, Williams Refrigeration has warned.
The Norfolk-based refrigeration maker said the hot summer has underlined the importance of good quality refrigeration equipment following reports that cheaper alternatives were ‘falling over’ in the heat.
The number of budget-priced imported fridges in the market has been increasing from year to year, but Williams says that according to many of its customers these products have not been performing in the recent hot weather, resulting in operators turning to quality brands for replacements.
“Some of these imported products are semi-domestic models that are being miss-sold, but many are allegedly commercial models that are simply not up to the job,” said Malcolm Harling, sales and marketing director of Williams.
“Either way, they have caused operators big problems during the warm weather, because they can’t maintain temperature and are therefore failing HACCP guidelines or simply breaking down.”
Harling said the largest area of product failure was bottle coolers and undercounter fridges.
He said: “We’ve had calls from coffee shops where milk kept in cheap imported fridges has gone off. Similarly, we’ve seen bottle coolers that are struggling even in ambients of 18°C! These products are generally manufactured with polystyrene blocks as insulation, rather than with a fully foamed shell, and use components more commonly seen in domestic refrigeration.
“You cannot serve premium bottled lager at room temperature, or make a latte with curdled milk! In these cases, buying cheap refrigeration is actually more costly as it gives the operators loss of revenue, loss of product and unhappy customers.”
Harling said it was important that customers asked the right questions about the durability of the equipment, rather than simply choosing the cheapest option.
The ability of the kit to operate efficiently in high ambient temperatures, the length of pull down times and the type of insulation are some of the many factors that customers need to consider before making their decision, he advised.