Walk-In vs Reach-In: A Designer's Perspective

“Well, If I have a walk-in cooler, do I really need to have a reach-in and work top refrigerators?”

This question comes up often when I discuss the layout and design of a client’s kitchen.  The answer is that it depends. The kitchen size will make a difference; If the available space is somewhat small and can’t support both reach ins and a walk-in, then even a small walk-in would yield better cu ft of storage.  

For instance, a 6ftX7ft walk in would be equivalent to having (2) 2 section  and (1) 1 section refrigerators.  A walk in will have (1) compressor; the reach-ins would require (3). However, If the space allows for reach ins and work top refrigeration, then we don’t want to busy up the

kitchen with staffers all heading to the one refrigerated walk-in available, or running up and down to the cellar when they need refrigerated ingredients.

It is a good food safety practice to place a refrigerated unit into each work area. This will make employees become more efficient in their movement, and quicker access will result in faster and better service to your clients waiting on line or sitting at your tables.  This will include the strategic placement of refrigerated chef bases right under the counter cooking pieces. These units will have pull out drawers with the various food pans filled and ready to go onto the grill - range and char-broiler placed just above. Drawers are always a good consideration because they are easily organized and have food ingredients that are able to be accessed with much less bending (employee fatigue and back ache hampers output).  Salad top refrigeration will also store active food ingredients with efficiency so that ingredients are located right at the food preparer’s fingertips, thereby minimizing unneeded movement and bending.  

Another important factor is that food safety authorities will also be in favor of separating the unprepared foods stored in the walk-in from the prep’d foods that are stored in the reach-ins, work tops, chef bases, and salad top refrigerators. Indeed, appeasing health inspectors is more than simply ‘passing the test’ - it ensures that you’re doing everything that you can to take responsibility for the safety of your customers!

By analyzing your kitchen setup and needs, I can design the perfect layout including all refrigeration units that are appropriate. Give me a call today!




E Friedman Associates

(917) 335-1127



CKitchen, an E Friedman company, is a FULLY AUTHORIZED Food Service Equipment and Supplies Dealer that represents all major brands of commercial kitchen equipment. Since our inception in 1984, we focused on quality products and upscale projects. Our projects division is responsible for some of the largest food service projects in the country including Hotels, Restaurants and Institutions. We are loyal to our customers as well as our employees. Our average sales professional has been with us for over 8 years. This accounts for the fact that they are some of the most knowledgeable in the Restaurant Equipment industry. We continue to strive for value added service while maintaining the lowest prices in the industry. The bottom line is that we would like you to be pleased with your purchase today and for years to come...
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