Choosing Refrigeration for small kitchens

As pressure on kitchen space increases, operators are always asking how they can fit equipment into a smaller space.

There are big challenges for anyone designing a small kitchen – fitting in the needs of the workflow, services and equipment is a precise balancing act. Luckily there are plenty of clever equipment designs to help maximise the space you have.

Manufacturers like Williams have been looking at ways to produce refrigeration, including prep stations and counters, with similar capacity but in a smaller footprint. For example, the Williams Jade Slimline range has all the features of the standard range but with a reduced depth of just 500mm, making it ideal for compact kitchens.

Open Plan Dining: Sometimes when kitchen space is reduced, a simple solution is to have a more open dining/kitchen area. In this situation, counter and undercounter fridges and freezers are a great solution, because they allow ingredients to be stored right where chef needs them. Slimline models, like Williams’ Jade and Amber ranges, are ideal in compact kitchens and can be squeezed into the smallest of spaces.

Standard counters offer additional worktop space, however Williams range of Biscuit Top counters have a reduced height allowing them to easily fit into existing layouts, under a worktop.

When specifying counters, consider drawers as an option – they save energy, allow better access to all the ingredients and help organise storage better.

Be Prepared: Careful planning of your menu and advanced preparation means not only an easier service but allows for preparation areas to be reused for other tasks later in the day. Prep stations are an ideal way to keep ingredients in easy reach, and in perfect condition.

However, when space is tight, there may not be room in the kitchen for a full size unit. Luckily there are new and innovative solutions available, such as the Williams’ unique PW4 mobile Prep Well. It can be moved around the kitchen to wherever it is needed, ensuring fresh ingredients are always to hand. The Prep Well includes a removable worktop / chopping board which doubles as a lid for further space saving.

Similarly, Williams’ range of space saving Thermowells is another convenient way of keeping ingredients chilled and easily accessible and is ideal for the preparation of salads, pizza, sandwiches, tapas, jacket potatoes etc.
The Thermowell units come in a choice of sizes to suit almost any requirement. For further space saving and added user flexibility the Thermowell can be placed on a counter, wall mounted or, with extended legs, used free-standing.

Only recently added to the Thermowell range, the new TW4 is the ‘baby’ of the family. With a width of just 638mm, it can hold four 1/6 Gastronorm containers – perfect for prepping in a compact kitchen.

Preparing food in advance – sometimes days in advance – means you can reduce costs and even out the peaks and troughs of the kitchen as well as making best use of your kitchen space. Blast Chillers and Blast Freezers are vital to preserve food safety and maintain food quality.

Are they too big for the compact kitchen? Not anymore. These days undercounter blast chiller freezers, like the Williams WBCF10, can fit into the snuggest space. They’re easy to operate and can blast freeze too. The WBCF10 can hold up to 10kg and when the blast cycle has finished the unit automatically enters storage mode, so there’s no need to install a separate refrigerator or freezer.

Maximising ‘Awkward’ or Unused Spaces is a great way to ensure your kitchen is working as hard as it can. Modular cabinets are a real space-maximising option - they can be designed to fit the space you have and are more flexible in terms of their layout than standard reach-in cabinets. They also offer a good option if accessibility is an issue. Low ceilings or stairs that need negotiating will limit the choice of standard cabinets, so a modular refrigeration system may work better as it can be supplied flat packed and assembled in-situ.

Grab & Go: Display Merchandisers can eat up valuable front of house space. In response Williams has developed a complete range of slimline Multidecks with a reduced height and depth, making them ideal for grab and go service in cafes, restaurants and supermarkets. Customer access is easy and product display the key focus.

Take it outside: if you don’t have room in the kitchen, simply move most of the refrigeration out by using a coldroom. Williams has designed coldrooms that can be sited in another room or even outside, for example in a car park. Then food can be brought in as required. Williams' coldrooms have an optional external pod refrigeration system, which not only saves space but also makes it easy to service, without disturbing the contents.

Operated by Remote: Most commercial kitchen refrigeration is installed with integral refrigeration systems. However, Williams are able to offer the option of a remote refrigeration system, whereby the equipment is connected to a central refrigeration system, usually sited outside the kitchen. Not only is it an excellent way of maximising space, a remote system also reduces heat and noise levels in the kitchen. Williams offers a wide range of equipment as remote versions.