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choose the right commercial air conditioning for your restaurant

Whether you’re planning a fast food or fine dining restaurant, you have to be meticulous about its design and construction. Before thinking of custom amenities to incorporate in the design, make sure that every detail is in strict accordance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA). Generally, your restaurant building must have the following elements: 

  • structural adequacy
  • fire resistance
  • access and egress
  • services and equipment
  • energy efficiency and sustainability
  • provisions for the health and amenity of occupants

Failing to comply with the BCA will not only get you into trouble with the law, but you also risk endangering your life and the lives of your workers and customers. One particular aspect that you have to pay close attention to is your restaurant’s air conditioning system.

Make sure you hire a company that is skilled in commercial air conditioning and will know what to do about your restaurant’s cooling system. It doesn’t hurt, however, to familiarise yourself with the different aspects so that you won’t get lost if they start using jargon. Especially when it comes to your refrigeration and HVAC system, it’s quite easy to botch the design given the multitudes of available options and factors to consider.

Why Air Conditioning Is Important for Restaurants

Almost all commercial buildings in Queensland, regardless of the types of business they support, are now using commercial air conditioning, and for good reason. Air conditioners keep the temperature in a building at comfortable levels, which has been shown to lead to higher productivity and morale. 

When it comes to restaurants, on the other hand, a cool and comfy dining area helps boost appetite and reduce the chance of complaints. 

chefs working in a commercial kitchen under air conditioning

It even attracts prospects who are looking for a nice place to escape from the blistering heat of midday on the Sunshine Coast. Chefs and cooks who spend hours inside the kitchen could use some cool air from the air conditioner to chill out during break time, too.

Types of Air Conditioning Systems

Today’s air conditioning systems are classified by their structure. The ducted system has a main cooling unit connected to a network of ducts that conveys and circulates cool air to every room in a building. The split system, on the other hand, has a cooling unit installed inside the building and an outdoor unit that houses the compressor. 

Depending on the design and size of your restaurant, you can choose any or a combination of these types. After all, they are generally designed for small rooms. Most restaurants use either a ducted system or a multi-head split system. These types prove to be most suitable considering that restaurants usually have wide, unobstructed spaces.  

Using either a ducted system or a split system is your best option, but when you compare these two types, you might find the latter more efficient for a number of reasons. For one, a split system comes in a wide array of sizes, which means you can use different sizes for different rooms to meet specific cooling needs. That addresses the most prominent issue with ducted systems, i.e. uniform temperature in every room.

If you’re worried about the cost of buying multiple units, you can choose to install a multi-split system instead. This split system consists of a number of inside units connected to a single outside unit. In a nutshell, it functions like a ducted air conditioner, except you have more control of the temperature in each room as each inside unit has its own thermostat. 

Another benefit of many air conditioning units in commercial kitchens is that they can be mounted in a variety of ways. Here are two ways an air conditioning system can be installed:


The most commonly used type of air conditioning system in restaurants, wall-mounted split systems are also the most cost-effective, primarily because their installation involves no more than boring holes for the wire and mounting the unit. This also makes the unit very easy to retrofit.


An air conditioning system can also be installed on the ceiling for better cooling coverage. However, the process can be a little more complicated than wall mounting considering the fact that the units will be placed in the ceiling. Dismantling and remodelling may be involved to maintain the ceiling’s aesthetics. For the most part, the ceiling mounted air conditioner should use proper ceiling-mounted ducts.

walk in cool room
commercial air conditioning

Considerations When Installing a Commercial Air Conditioning System

Now that you understand why efficient air conditioning is key to a restaurant’s success, and a general idea about the available options you have, you are almost ready to choose a type of air conditioner and have it installed in your restaurant. To complete the process, make sure to take the following factors into account:

Temperature Variations

Your restaurant will have more than a single room. Apart from the dining area, you’ll surely have an office, a kitchen, restrooms, and a storage room. Each of these rooms require a specific temperature. For instance, the storage room may require a much lower temperature because it is where you keep your goods, even though it is not a refrigerator. It wouldn’t be comfortable and practical to have the same temperature you use in your storage room across the building.

welcome customers to your restaurant with commercial air conditioning

Temperature Coverage

The dining area takes up the largest space in your restaurant, followed by the kitchen. Excluding the restrooms, your office is probably the smallest. Decide on the size, number, and design or your air conditioning system based on the size of the space you want to cool. 

Noise of the Unit

If there’s one thing the different types of air conditioning systems have in common, it’s the noise. You will hardly find an air conditioner that does not create some kind of sound. Sometimes, this sound can be so loud that it interrupts patrons making a conversation, and consequently drives them away. Make sure to choose an air conditioning system that creates the slightest of noise.

Of course, the best way to ensure the success of your commercial air conditioning installation is to leave it to a trusted cooling specialist, such as Port City Air Conditioning. They can handle everything from designing the most efficient cooling and refrigeration system for your restaurant to choosing the highest quality units. Contact our team today to talk about your commercial air conditioning needs.