No matter what your food concept is going to be, you’ll probably need at least one refrigerator installed on your food truck or concession trailer. Whether you’re making sandwiches and need to keep meats and cheeses cool or plan to serve summer-time beverages you’ll need a cooling system that’s both reliable and large enough to store everything necessary to execute your menu.
Finding the right refrigerator for a food truck is different than if you’re starting a restaurant. If you’re looking for commercial-grade restaurant refrigerators you’ll have an abundance of quality options. Refrigerators designed to withstand the tough demands of a food truck business are harder to come by, however. You don’t just want to install any old refrigerator as it likely will not serve your needs.
In today’s post, we will layout the considerations you need to think about before installing a refrigerator into your concession unit. We’ll also share the brand that works best for mobile food units and why. At M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks, we’ve been in the custom food truck manufacturing space for over 15 years and understand the pitfalls that can occur when any piece of equipment is installed incorrectly. If you have questions about a concession truck or trailer build don’t hesitate to reach out to us here with questions.
Our Recommend for Food Truck Refrigerators
While we’ve installed other brands of refrigeration units, but we always recommend the T-19 from True Manufacturing. You can find the T-19 available on many popular restaurant supply websites like Katom. Expect to pay around $1,800 for a brand new unit. The first reason we recommend the T-19 is due to the high-quality of the the product and the way these units fit into most food trucks. When you install a refrigerator into a food truck, height limits are an important consideration and this model is the appropriate height for standard food truck sizes.
The other benefit to True Manufacturing equipment is their rock solid warranty. There are many commercial food equipment companies whose warranties do not apply to food trucks. This is due to the increased wear and tear of cooking equipment in a mobile setting. At the time of writing, the manufacturers warranty remains valid even when installed on a food truck. This piece is critical to keep in mind during the evaluation process for added piece of mind!
The next consideration is power needs. Reducing your power needs is hugely beneficial in a food truck where you have a limited power source. This becomes even more critical if you have a menu that requires multiple refrigerators, blenders, or a Espresso maker as is often needed in a coffee or smoothie trailer. These menu concepts have above average power needs.
The other benefit of the True Manufacturing T-19 is that there are simple ways to adapt the unit to use less power. True Manufacturing has a new HC line where power needs can be dropped from 8 amps to 1 amp. This is a big deal on a food truck. Another benefit of the T-19 mentioned earlier is that it will fit into standard size food trucks.
Refrigerators and freezers consume a lot of power. When planning to build a commercial kitchen power needs and equipment are an important consideration. You’ve got to make sure you have sufficient electrical power in place is critical before getting started.
Before you buy any refrigeration unit for a food truck, you need to understand how much space you’ve got to work with. Many areas limits the height of a refrigeration unit that can be installed. Of course, you’ll also need to think about how many employees will be operating a food truck and how much space you’ll need to work comfortably within the unit. An massive commercial-grade refrigeration unit that can store everything you need can be tempting to purchase ahead of time, but make sure your equipment doesn’t impede on your work area.
Aside from determining your space requirements and electrical needs, you need to install the refrigerator in a way where the unit isn’t being knocked around. We recommend not using straps to secure the refrigerator. Often these straps will not hold. We understand the goal of some vendors in using straps is so they can more easily move units inside and outside of their trucks.
For optimal support on the road, you need to install angle brackets into the refrigerator. Care needs to be taken when installing angle brackets into a refrigerator because you could hit the freon lines of the unit. These angle brackets must be tightly screwed into the top and bottom of the refrigeration unit to ensure it remains firmly in place while crossing rail-road tracks or bumps in the road.
As a general rule of thumb, the installation tips for freezers are the same as refrigerators. You need to consider the amount of space there is to install a freezer unit and it’s power requirements on the concession unit. You also need to ensure it’s strapped in an installed correctly to ensure you get long lifetime value from the unit.
We hope you’ve found this post helpful in understanding the best refrigerators for food trucks. If you’re currently in the research phase of evaluating other equipment for concession businesses check out our previous post about propane tanks.