The most commonly used type of restaurant chest freezer is the ice cream freezer. These are used to merchandise packaged ice cream and frozen novelties in C-stores, supermarkets, and delis. Their designs are optimized to hold ice cream treats, usually in hanging wire baskets that make it easier to keep several varieties of small, individually packaged treats organized and easily accessible. Below those baskets can be stacked pints and cartons of ice cream.
Besides ice cream, glass door commercial chest freezers are also good for merchandising packaged frozen foods like bagged vegetables and frozen meals. They're a good way to implement those offerings into a checkout line or to showcase important products in a grocery store. Products are stacked from the bottom to the top in this type of freezer, making it best suited for holding bulk quantities of just a few items, as an attempt at storing a variety of different products can make inventory rotation difficult.
Back-of-house, restaurant chest freezers generally feature solid lids. Solid lids are better insulated and therefore provide greater energy efficiency. This type of freezer is a good solution for storing food longer than is typical for a reach-in, especially in establishments that don't have a walk-in freezer.
Glass-top freezers all feature sliding doors that make access easy and are generally self-closing to maintain their energy efficiency. You have the choice between two types of glass lid.
- Curved glass tops come at a slightly higher price point, but with that higher cost comes what many operators would consider to be a more attractive display. Curved glass tops tend to have less glare and provide greater visibility into the freezer.
- Flat glass commercial chest freezers don't provide the same degree of visibility as their curved-glass counterparts, but their lower price point makes them budget-conscious merchandisers for frozen snacks and packaged goods.
Ice cream and frozen novelties are best kept at -10 degrees F. Other foods are better kept at 0 degrees F. That difference in ideal storage temperatures accounts for the differences you'll see across freezers. Some units have adjustable thermostats so operators can set the ideal temperature for whatever product they're holding.
Options to Look For
- Casters keep your commercial chest freezer mobile, which is good not only for rearranging your space when necessary, but also for moving the unit to clean the floor underneath.
- Chest freezers intended for self-service applications are generally finished with a vinyl exterior, most commonly white or black. Many vendors offer additional options and custom finishes on request.
- Stainless steel is a common finish for back-of-house restaurant chest freezers that adds some durability and matches other equipment in the kitchen.
- Interior lighting can make a difference in how attractively your products are displayed. Florescent lighting is still the industry standard, but LED lighting is becoming more popular and provides a brighter, more energy-efficient display