Buying Guide

Buying Guide: Choosing the Right Display Case for your Foodservice Business

Whether a customer is grabbing a bite to eat or doing routine shopping in the deli, you want your merchandise to look appealing; and that starts with how you display your products. There are many factors to consider when choosing the right display case for your foodservice establishment. Refrigerated display cases offer both closed and open air units for a variety of uses.   To find the ideal display cases for your business ask yourself: What is the floor plan of your establishment? Do you want customers to serve themselves? Are you displaying hot or cold foods? Here are a number of factors to consider when purchasing a merchandise display case.Merchandiser

Use and Maintenance

Determine what you’ll be using your display case for to decide if a refrigerator, freezer or open air merchandiser is needed.  Refrigerated display cases are manufactured with a number of helpful features. For merchandising product, glass doors and open air models are best. If you plan to showcase items that are considered impulse purchases, then a lower profile glass door or open display unit may be more suitable.  You may also consider display cases with worktops on the back if you’re opening a deli.

Safety

Keeping your customers safe will be one of your top priorities. While food and merchandise look better when they’re well lit, most health departments require that the lights in refrigerated display cases be encapsulated so that they are contained in case of breakage. This way, glass can’t get into open food. Check with your health department before you pick a case with front lights and shelf lights to keep your merchandise lit and visible.

Also keep in mind that it’s important for open air models do not receive direct sunlight, nor should they be located under ventilation or air conditioning ducts. The additional heat and airflow will result in a disruption of the air curtain circulating throughout the merchandiser, which keeps stored items cool. As a result, the case may not be able to hold food at safe temperatures.

Location, Location, Location

Refrigerated display cases generally require an electrical supply and drain within 6 feet of the unit. Humidity in the air will result in a certain amount of condensation within the unit that can drip down the inside of the case, resulting in the need for a floor drain. If a floor drain is not available, then it is important to specify a unit with an electric condensate evaporator.

Space Constraints

In addition to location, keep in mind the space available for your display case.  When shopping for a deli or ice cream display case, ensure that the refrigeration system is adequately sized for the amount and type of product you plan to display. Don’t forget to determine if the unit will be incorporated into existing cabinetry or fixtures. Keep in mind that not all reach-ins are the same width, height and depth.

Durability

Finally, make sure that your display case has a warranty so that in the unfortunate event that it is defective in materials or workmanship, you can get it back into working order quickly.

Ready to start shopping? Burkett Restaurant Equipment offers a full selection of Curved Glass Display Cases, Glass Door Merchandisers, Horizontal Merchandisers, Open Display Merchandisers, Deli Cases and Sushi Display Cases.

Buying Guide: What to Do before Buying a Ventilation Hood

Are you opening a new restaurant? Maybe you’re re-modeling an existing establishment? A ventilation hood is an essential piece of commercial restaurant equipment that is required in all restaurants, hotels and other foodservice establishments. Vent fans, located inside the hood, pull in smoke, grease, oil, steam and odor; essentially leaving only clean air inside your kitchen.

Before you open your doors, your ventilation hood will need to be functioning and in good condition to meet various safety, food and health standards. In some cases, restaurant owners will need to adhere to both national and local codes and mandatory specifications for commercial kitchen equipment.

One of the first things to consider when buying a commercial ventilation hood is your fire code.  It is also important to determine the size and type of hood you’ll need. Most fire codes have specific requirements for commercial kitchens and concession stands. These will typically specify how much larger the ventilation hood should be than the cooking area it covers.

Before you start shopping, check the fire and safety codes in your area to ensure you purchase the correct piece of equipment that is sized to meet all the necessary cooking and fire suppression requirements and specifications. Keep in mind, national fire code in the US requires a minimum of a six inch overhang on all sides of your hood.

If your kitchen is designed so that your range, charbroiler and fryers are in the same area, one ventilation hood should be sufficient for the entire area. In addition, most kitchens will need a grease hood system to filter the grease vapors that are emitted while you’re cooking. Wall-type designs are common in commercial kitchens, and professional installers can do the job for you. Some would even offer to do regular maintenance and provide recommendations on how to properly maintain and use the equipment.

For those pizzeria owners out there, pizza ovens do not produce grease vapors, so a heat hood is all you’ll need. The same goes for areas that have dishwashers or steamers.

If you still have questions about which ventilation hood to purchase, call Burkett Restaurant Equipment at 419-720-8190. Whether you need a new ventilation hood or a custom ventilation hood, Burkett Restaurant Equipment will help you select the right piece of equipment for your foodservice establishment!

Buying Guide: How to Know When It Is Time to Replace Your Walk-In

Summertime is approaching quickly and your refrigerators and freezers will be working overtime. While walk-in refrigerators and Norlake walk-infreezers can have very long service lives, there are a few telltale signs that a unit needs replacing.

With new and more energy efficient technologies continuously being developed (see my previous post detailing ENERGY STAR products here), experts recommend that walk-ins be replaced after 15 years of service.

If panel skins are deteriorating or separating from the foam, the walk-in most likely needs to be retired. Frost accumulates when warm air is allowed to enter the walk-in. If your walk-in is a new installation and the frost is forming along seam lines, you may have an air leak at the seam. Interior panel seams that have condensation or frost build up typically signify that the seal is allowing air to leak through. This can compromise holding temperatures and leave you needing a new unit.

If the frost is around the door you likely have a leaking door gasket or wiper gasket on the bottom of the door. To determine this, go inside the freezer, have someone turn off the lights. If you see light, you have a leak at the gaskets that will need to be repaired. Door seals and sweep gaskets can be replaced. However, sagging doors that allow outside air into the walk-in can cause ice buildup on the evaporator coil, compromising efficiency and eventually requiring the purchase of a new unit

Finally, if the frost is on the ceiling, particularly near the unit cooler (coil), you may have a failed fan delay relay. The fan delay relay functions to delay the coil fans from restarting after a defrost cycle until the coil refreezes. If there is no delay the water on the fins of the coil will evaporate and turn to frost on the ceiling of the walk-in freezer. You’ll need a refrigeration tech to confirm the problem and replace the fan delay relay.

Buying Guide: The Difference between Radiant and Lava Rock Charbroilers

Star Lava Rock Gas CharbroilerThe primary function of a charbroiler is to cook a variety of foods, particularly meats, fish and seafood, at consistent temperatures. One of the primary benefits of commercial charbroilers is in food presentation. Broilers give food the appearance and flavor of having been cooked on an outdoor backyard barbecue. For the commercial kitchen they offer a high production level with a shorter recovery time.

A basic restaurant charbroiler looks like a firebox with a steel or cast-iron top grate on which the food cooks. Some charbroilers transfer heat via metal radiants made of stainless steel alloy or cast iron, while others use lava rock.

While shopping for a restaurant quality charbroiler, you may ask yourself – what is the difference between radiant and lava rock?

The main difference is the way in which the heat is transferred to the food. On a radiant chargrill the burner is positioned under a cast metal radiant from which the heat is radiated towards the food being grilled. Sub-radiant heating offered with some broiler units reduces gas use and grease fires, while improving the evenness of top grid temperatures. The result is that grease is instead sent down into a trough or tray where it is held until emptied, while some of the drippings from the meat will actually “burn” and provide that chargrill aroma we are all so familiar with.

Lava Rock Charbroilers use a bed of lava rock positioned above the burners to catch and radiate the heat towards the meat above.  The porous lava rock catches and holds the drippings which when heated create that delicious aroma associated with grilling food. Products cooked over crushed lava rock can accumulate large amounts of carbon and grease. Manufacturers recommend replacing elements twice a year.

Both types of charbroilers improve the flavor and presentation of your dishes. Ready to shop? Burkett Restaurant Equipment offers a wide selection of charbroilers from the leading manufacturers. Take a look at our website or call a sales representative today!

Walk-In Coolers Buying Guide

Walk-In Coolers are an essential equipment for any commercial kitchen. In essence, a Walk-In Cooler is a very large refrigerator that is large enough to walk into (also called a vault). Perfect for storing ingredients that need to be kept cold, Walk-In Units have ample room and the ability to walk in to it means that you can store even the bulkiest items and organize everything at the optimal temperature. Prior to entering the foodservice industry, I’m pretty sure you’ve never had a reason to think about or research the ins and outs of Walk-In Coolers. Keep in mind, that when using a Walk-In Cooler, food temperature will not drop as quickly as it would in a Blast Chiller. For example, Nor-Lake Units will hold food temperatures at   +35°F., -10°F., -20°F.

This buying guide includes a brief questionnaire that will assist you in selecting the right equipment for your needs.

What Are You Using It For… Selecting the right Walk-In Cooler depends on what you will be using it for. Here are a few examples:

  • For Beer or Beverages…. You want a cooler unit that will hold beverages at a lower temperature than food items.
  • For Food… The Walk-In Unit must be able to hold the food at 38-40 degrees.

Nor-Lake Indoor Walk-In Cooler- Top Mount

How Cold… Select from:

  • Walk-In Refrigerator… Perfect for storing crisp lettuce, mayonnaise, meats, and other foodstuff that needs to be stored between 28 and 35 degrees Farenheit.
  • Walk-In Freezer… Will keep meats, seafood, desserts and more icy cold by holding at below 28 degrees Fahrenheit.

Inside or Outside Box…  A Walk-In Cooler can be placed inside or outside.

  • Inside Walk-In Cooler… If the unit will be inside, select the coolest place in your establishment to set it up.
  • Outside Walk-In Cooler… It is important to decide where you will be placing the Walk-In, as an Outdoor Box, will have a protective covering to protect from the elements.

Compressor Location…

  • Self-Contained Compressor: A compressor located on top or on the side of the Walk-

    Kolpak Indoor Walk-In Cooler- Side Mount

    In Cooler will need 6″  of clearance from the top of the compressor to function properly and not burn out the compressor.

  • Remote Compressor: The compressor sits on the roof of your building, basement, or the ground and a pre-charged tubing is used to push cold air through it.

Your Floor… Can your current floor hold a 1250+ pound Walk-In Cooler as well as the foodstuff inside of it, for years without damaging the floor? If not, then you will need to have the floor reinforced. For example, if you will be using it as a keg cooler, it’s a good idea to reinforce the floors anyways due to the weight of the kegs getting wheeled across the floor, loaded and unloaded multiple times each day.

  • If you are using the Walk-In Cooler to store produce, you may not need a reinforced floor.
  • You will always need a reinforced floor for a Walk-In Freezer unless the concrete floor is already insulated.

Configurations… Knowing a few configurations before calling us, will help us better assist you in selecting the right Walk-In Unit for your establishment.

  • What are your dimensions including height?
  • What is the door specification and how many doors will you need? A standard door is 34″x76″
  • Where do you want the door hinges?
  • Where will the refrigeration be… Remote, Side, Top, or Self-Contained?
  • Will you need 208/220 or 115 Voltages; Single or 3-Phase?

How to Determine What Size Keg Cooler You’ll Need

Turbo Air TBD-3SD Stainless Steel Direct Draw Keg Cooler | 3 Keg Capacity

When it comes to commercial beer dispensing, kegs are not one size fits all. There are several things to note when determining what size Keg Cooler your establishment will require.

  • Availability of each size of keg will vary by brand of beer and location.
  • Talk to your beer supplier to find out which brands are available for immediate pick-up, and which need to be special ordered, and in which size keg those particular brands are available.
  • Approximate Keg Diameters:
    • 1/6 Keg= 9-18″
    • 1/4 Slim Keg= 12″
    • 1/4 Standard Keg= 16-17″
    • 1/2 Keg= 16-17″
  • Once you determine what size kegs you will need, then you should shop for the proper size Keg Cooler.
  • Keg Box Capacities:
    • True 1-Keg Capacity will hold….  1 x Standard or 1/2 Keg; or combination of 2 x 1/6 Keg and 1 x 1/4 Slim Keg; or combination of 4 x 1/6 Kegs
    • True 2-Keg Capacity will hold…. 2 x Standard or 1/2 Keg; or combination of 2 x Standard or 1/2 Kegs and 2 x 1/6 Kegs
    • True 3-Keg Capacity will hold… 3 x Standard or 1/2 Keg; or combination of 3 x Standard or 1/2 Kegs and 2 x 1/6 Kegs
We understand that Keg Coolers can be a confusing piece of equipment to purchase, so we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions 1-800-828-8564 or sales@basequipment.com
Make sure to leave us a Product Review on Keg Coolers for a chance to win a FREE case of Beer Mugs! Just leave a review- no purchase necessary.  Click here to leave a review- I Want to Win a Case of Beer Mugs!

3 Tips to Getting the Best Results from Your Immersion Blender

Ensure continued performance from your Immersion Blender with these simple tips!

1- When using ice in a recipe, use Crushed Ice as opposed to cubes.

2- To avoid splattering, turn off the Immersion Blender before you remove the shaft from the container.

3- Do not use your fingers to remove lodged objects from the blade guard. Avoid injury by turning off the Immersion Blender and using a spatula to carefully dislodge the food or object.

Don’t forget you have this entire month to leave a product review on Immersion Blenders for your chance to win a Waring WSB33 Immersion Blender and everyone will also receive 200 Burkett Bucks Reward Points good on future purchases. Just follow this link —> Product Palooza! I Want an Immersion Blender!

Buying Guide: How to Select an Immersion Blender

Shaft Size… The type of Immersion Blender you will need depends on how you will be using it. Since shaft sizes range from 7″ to 21″, and capacities range from 3 to 50 gallons you’ll definitely the right product to fit your needs. So how do you determine what you need? This depends on the size and quantity of what your mixing and the container or pot that you will be using for mixing.

Waring 21″ Big Stik Immersion Blender Shaft

Let’s say you plan on making Cheddar Broccoli Soup with an Immersion Blender and you will make 5 Gallons of soup each time you prepare it. Using a 24 Qt Aluminum Stock Pot that is approximately 12″ tall, you would need a Waring 12″ Immersion Blender for precise blending. However, we recommend that you select an Immersion Blender with a shaft 4-6″ longer than your pot because as your business grows you will be making more soup in larger batches. This will require a longer shaft Immersion Blender. Keeping this advice in mind, we recommend that you use a Robot Coupe 16″ Immersion Blender. With that said, as the size of the shaft increases so does the price of the Immersion Blender so take this into consideration as well.

Power…. You also want to consider the amount of power that the Immersion Blender will need to properly blend the mixture. If you will be using the chopping attachment, it wil be necessary to have a higher power Immersion Blender to ensure a thorough chopping. Immersion Blenders with a 600 or more wattage, are ideal for heavy use in restaurants, while a 200 watt product will suffice for blending small batches of smoothies and sauces.

Material…..Plastic Immersion Blenders will stain especially when used to mix tomato-based

Robot Coupe 8″ 220 Watt Immersion Blender, White

mixtures. A stainless steel material, while more expensive, will easily clean and some are dishwasher safe.

Warranty…. Does the Immersion Blender offer a good consumer-friendly warranty? Hassle-Free Warranties are highly desired by consumers because the warranty claim process is ideal when you use the product regularly and cannot wait to have it serviced. Keep in mind that no warranty will cover misuse and abuse so make sure to read and follow the Instruction Manual provided with the product. Read Yesterday’s Blog for more information.

 

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