Climate-Controlled Storage? What To Consider

There are various reasons why a food service establishment (e.g. a restaurant) may choose to store fruits and/or vegetables in an off-site commercial storage facility. The top among the list of these reasons is the fact that fruits and vegetables need climate-controlled storage and the cost of operating one such facility on-site is an additional expense.

There are various factors that a restaurant owner would need to consider when looking to invest in climate-controlled commercial storage. Discussed in this article are two among the various factors.

Temperature Zoning

It's highly probable that you will want to store more than one type of fruit/vegetable within a chosen facility. The different types of fruits and/or vegetables might need to be preserved at different temperatures if they're to remain fresh.

For this reason, restaurant owners may need to check that their preferred climate-controlled facility offers temperature zoning. This refers to the creation of different temperature "zones" within the climate-controlled unit. Zones are created through the installation of internal partitions within the larger storage unit. The temperature setting in each zone is controlled using a different thermostat. Thus, fruits and/or vegetables that need to be preserved at different temperatures (that are widely apart) can be stored within the same climate-controlled unit.

Humidity Control

In a large number of cases, climate-control is mistaken to mean "temperature regulation" within a commercial storage facility. Storage facilities will often use air conditioning systems to achieve "climate control" within the storage facility.

But temperature extremes are not the only "climatic threat" to fruits and vegetables stored in a third party storage facility. Because the thermostat in an air condition unit is primarily designed to sense and record temperature, AC units don't have much to offer in terms of humidity control.

In order to effectively control humidity levels within the storage unit, storage facilities need to invest in humidity sensors for each AC thermostat that is used for climate control. Alternatively, storage facilities can invest in an independent hygrometer for humidity control within the system. Heat pumps may also be used for mechanical dehumidification of within the storage facility.

Before you settle for one climate-controlled storage facility over the others, be sure to ask what measures the facility has in place with respect to humidity control.

Climate-controlled storage is often not cheap. However, it is a necessary expense for restaurant owners who value the freshness of the fruits and vegetables that they serve. The considerations discussed above can help you get the most out of your investment in climate-controlled storage.