1 – Self-contained vs remote
Cost, capacity, and efficiency, as well as the layout of the store all determine the decisions to go with either self-contained or remote refrigeration cabinets.
The benefits of plug-in cabinets are numerous. The capital cost savings are quite profound with no need for drains or trenches or even a plant room. Being able to move them around in-store, whenever a new store layout needs to be implemented is also massively advantageous. Reduced installation time for plug-in refrigeration cabinets also makes for quicker turn-around times with new store launches.
But the disadvantages weigh heavily against the benefits. They consume more energy (and refrigeration energy accounts for the bulk of energy consumption in-store) than remote refrigeration cabinets, they increase in-store heating, resulting in higher air-conditioning requirements and costs while emitting more noise than remote units. At the same time, plug-in units are generally smaller, so their volume of stock-holding is limited in comparison.
2 – Open vs closed
It’s not just about open vs closed refrigeration cabinets. Open cabinets tend to display the stock very well and keep merchandisers happy, but they act as air-conditioners in-store, expelling vast amounts of very expensive energy into the atmosphere. A closed cabinet doesn’t allow the continual ingress of warm air, saving a huge amount of money in electricity costs. But what about the other variables regarding the choice of the cabinet?
Can the refrigeration cabinet be stocked from the rear? Aesthetic appeal? Capacity requirements? Product facings for suppliers? Not to mention the fact that open cabinets absorb a lot of moisture that results in ice build-up that reduces the efficiency and longevity of the working components.
Compact displays reduce the amount of display space but this helps to reduce wastage of food products not sold. Watch out for humidity and fan speed for optimal operation and product quality protection, as it affects the speed at which produce will dry out in the display cabinet.
3 – Long term efficiency and cost vs immediate capital expenditure
When laying out a new store or buying new refrigeration equipment for an existing store, the financial calculations involved to ascertain if the investment is viable or not can become quite complex.
Weighing up the costs of immediate capital expenditure on upgraded or quality equipment compared to their long-term efficiency is an extremely difficult calculation to make. Look primarily at the energy usage of the machines, as this cost is ever-increasing and is directly related to the overhead of the entire store.
Look at the new technologies available that can consume less energy and get a refrigeration expert to help with the calculations on the long-term costs, taking into account the continual rising of energy costs. Paying a bit extra today on quality, new-tech refrigeration equipment can make a huge difference to a store’s bottom line.