Williams has supplied refrigeration to many of the leading sports clubs worldwide, including football, cricket and rugby stadia.
When it comes to stadia catering, refrigeration is critical. The key players front of house are bottle coolers and merchandisers – they need to be up to the task of catering for the hordes of thirsty and hungry fans who pack the stands. Back of house the backbone of the team are coldrooms, to handle the bulk food and drink storage, and blast chillers, which allow food to be prepared in advance for the hundreds or thousands that need feeding not only on match days, but also at conferences and events.
However, modern stadia will have a host of other refrigeration requirements. The kitchens in restaurant areas will need a variety of different equipment, both refrigerators and freezers, in cabinet or counter form. Often stadia have a variety of different on-site venues, appealing to different types of business and different budgets. Many will need front of house refrigeration – from the practical bottle well in fans’ bars to the chic wine tower in the board room. Then there are off-site requirements, such as at training grounds and academies, where refrigeration is needed in kitchens and, increasingly, in classrooms where youth teams are taught about food, nutrition and cooking.
Food for the fans: merchandisers
Like your club’s star player, the merchandiser needs to look good AND get the job done. Obviously they need to be attractive to encourage sales. However, even more important is their ability to keep food safe, at the right temperature. For that you need an efficient refrigeration system and a well thought-out airflow design.
Energy efficiency is also important. Most stadia will probably opt for open-fronted displays on their grab and go units and merchandisers. Bear in mind that these use considerably more energy than ones with doors. However, recent developments mean a whole raft of energy saving features and options are now available. Particularly ingenious are Williams’ Aerofins, which are fitted to the front of multideck shelves. These use the same principles as wings, controlling the flow of air from the protective air curtain, so the cold stays inside the cabinet, protecting the food and lowering energy consumption.
Drinks for fans: bottle coolers
Bottle coolers also need to look good, but they have to be tough enough to handle knocks – and have the ability to chill down quickly to temperature, no matter how many times the door is opened. Usually stadia bottle coolers will have glass doors, so diners can see what’s on offer, and it’s important that the interior is brightly lit and easy to keep clean. Just as important, make sure the refrigeration system is powerful enough to keep things chilled. Adjustable shelving is handy as it allows you to modify the cabinet if the bottle or can sizes change.
Back of house: the coldroom
A coldroom is a large investment for any organisation, so it's no surprise that longevity and reliability are two of the main considerations. Look for coldrooms using thermally efficient, zero ODP foam insulated tongue-and-groove panels with Camlocks on ceilings, walls or floors. This design creates a highly stable structure that eliminates the risk of ice build-up in joints and ensures a complete thermal envelope.
Williams coldrooms feature a modular construction and a range of panel sizes that allow designers to create bespoke rooms to virtually any size or shape. These can be assembled on-site, overcoming any accessibility issues.
Back of house: the blast chiller
Blast chillers are relatively new but are key players in the kitchen team. They are designed to quickly and safely chill down hot food, so it can be refrigerated to use later – which is ideal in stadia kitchens that need to have a game plan to cope with hundreds or thousands of covers, on match days and for event catering. Most blast chillers are designed to handle food up to 70°C, and chill it down to 3°C within the statutory 90 minutes. However some, including Williams’ models, can handle food as hot as 90°C – which is safer and saves time, since chefs don’t have to hang around waiting for hot food to cool down before starting the blast chill process.
Williams offers a huge range of sizes, from compact under counter units to high volume, roll in blast chillers and freezers. A critical factor is ease of use – blast chillers can be complicated, but the Williams Easy Blast (WEB) ‘1, 2, 3’ control panel is a simple to operate system using three easy steps to initiate the blast chill or freeze cycle.
Put your fridge in the team!
Williams has a reputation for innovation. Recently we introduced our Chameleon service, which means your fridges can wear the club’s kit! Or they can be clad in anything else you like. Chameleon uses a food safe vinyl wrapping to create completely bespoke designs. There are virtually no limits to what Chameleon can achieve: it can be used to cover just about any Williams model with any colour or pattern and can even be textured. It’s been hailed as a show stopper and can be used to create jaw-dropping effects. The Chameleon vinyl meets all food hygiene requirements, is heat resistant from -40°C up to +140°C and has been awarded a BI fire rating. With an eight-year shelf life, it is tough enough to cope with the most hectic working environments.