Next time you’re in a supermarket, count up the refrigerated display cabinets (yes, we know how to live). Chances are, if you’re a customer, you’ve never noticed how many there are. In fact up to 79,000 throughout a single large grocers estate! Each chiller (another word for fridge) has on average 5-6 fans per fridge to circulate airflow, totalling 395,000 fans across one supermarket brand. If you’re a Store Manager or employee, though, we’re willing to bet you spend far too much time thinking about refrigeration units, and the many problems they tend to cause.
Refrigeration units: can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em
A large grocer couldn’t run without refrigeration, to cool and preserve the goods on sale. Sales revenues from chilled foods make up more then 60-70% of all goods sold throughout some single grocers. So, how critical are chilled goods from a sales and profit perspective to supermarkets? The answer is incredibly important!
Yet maintaining, servicing and mending each cabinet consumes valuable time and resources, and can even affect consumer confidence. Here’s a quick run-down of the common issues:
- Drain blockages: Refrigeration units are havens for bacteria biofilms(jelly-like bacterial secretions that thrive in warm, dark and damp areas). Once the biofilms have built up, condensate is unable to drain away, resulting in water spillages on to the shop floor. Employees can only soak up the water with absorption socks called Puddle Pythons, and wait for a refrigeration engineer to be available. In the meantime, customers may slip and fall, resulting in potential injury and possibly out-of-court settlements and increased insurance premiums. 40% of all declared injuries throughout supermarkets are due to slip&trip hazards (Health&Safety Executive).
- Shut-down for cleaning: most refrigeration cabinets are given a deep clean once every 9-12 months (housing and panels are generally cleaned every few weeks). The traditional cleaning method involves vacuuming drain-lines and high-pressure washing with cold to warm water – which means shutting down the cabinet, removing produce, and disrupting customers. No disinfectants are used to remove micro-organisms. However, due to the lack of correct use of chemical products in situ with a poorly executed methodology, the 1-2 time maintenances become more frequent throughout the year, which may result in compromised reputations for both the contractor and grocer.
- Parts/Component breakdown: it’s been reported that, on average, 7% of refrigeration fans and fan motors need replacing every month. Based on what has previously been stated, this is approximately 27,650 per year throughout a single supermarket chain. In larger stores this can work out to be a whopping thirty parts per month per larger store! As a result of faulty fans, due to drain blockages, the evaporator coils are also prone to freezing, necessitating a full defrost and potential loss of goods and sales revenues.
- Increased energy bills: The build-up of biofilms can also affect the heating/cooling flow within the unit, increasing surface corrosion and making the unit less energy efficient. It is a proven fact, throughout the refrigeration industry, that for every 1 degree increase in condensing temperature energy costs can rise by 2-4%. Studies have shown in some cases of an overall increase of up to 36%!
Other costs to grocers and contractors include: Service Contractor call out fees (inclusive contrac or pay as you go), system downtime, loss of sales revenues, component replacements, insurances premiums and energy taxes!
The build-up of dirt and bacteria jelly is worrying for stakeholders, especially when located so close to goods that are for human consumption.
What’s a Store Manager to do about all of this? It’s vital for the store’s reputation and name – and for the health and happiness of its customers – for refrigeration units to be cleaned well, maintained efficiently and mended in a way that causes the least disruption. Unfortunately, current cleaning methods don’t tend to address the underlying issues, allowing bacteria to rapidly return, and the cycle of breaking-down and patching-up to continue.
TotalCare does things differently
We’ve got good news for you: we believe our one-time, first-time approachshould apply to even the most troublesome of refrigeration cabinets. That’s why we’ve adopted a new cleaning method for commercial refrigerators, using products that have been registered with the international NSF non-food compounds programme. It means they can be used safely where food is stored and handled. And because we use safe cleaning products not just warm water, we completely remove the damaging biofilms each time, discouraging regrowth for longer. Infact, up to the next scheduled cleaning regime.
We also physically remove dirt and dust from circulating airflows, improving the surrounding air quality. We’ve found that our method preserves component life for longer, reduces the number of service calls, keeps drains leak-free for up to fourteen months, helps units stay energy efficient, and significantly reduces disruption in-store.
We think of ourselves as your reputation insurers: a vital, willing partner in boosting customer and employee satisfaction. This is achieved when the right combination of cleaning products with the right level of technical understanding come together.
Imagine it: no more water leak-and-breakdown headaches. You and your refrigeration cabinets can be friends for good. More importantly your customers will want to come back knowing that their goods are kept in a clean and hygienic environment!
Find out more: http://www.totalcarehygieneservices.com/refrigeration.html