Walk-in refrigerators provide a large amount of space for food storage on-site, operating more efficiently than multiple reach-in coolers or freezers. These units also can serve as large auxiliary rooms for prepping ingredients.
The menu and the number of seats in the restaurant dictates the size of the walk-in. To figure out the necessary capacity, operators should keep in mind that 1 cubic foot of open storage area accommodates approximately 28 pounds of solid food. Operators also need to consider the food delivery process, looking at the amount of food the unit will store at one time and the length of storage time.
When considering where to place a walk-in, much depends on how many units the operation requires and the size of the kitchen. Separate units become necessary for beer kegs and liquor. Also, produce and dairy need to be kept separate from meat and fish.
The standard walk-in floor in the industry is .080 or .100 aluminum, which is typically made to withstand 600 pounds per square foot of stationary floor load. Rolling traffic also plays a factor in the type of floor the walk-in unit should have and how well it holds up. For applications where there will be pallet jack or forklift traffic, consider a concrete wearing floor on top of the prefab floor or an insulated slab.