The Old Vicarage Hotel in Nottingham, UK, is one of the area's most exclusive wedding venues. A boutique hotel and former vicarage, standing on an acre of conservation land, it averages around 100 weddings a year. It is known for its fine dining, personalised service and luxury finishes.
Recently, though, the hotel faced a dilemma. As a relatively small venue, it struggled with its lack of food storage space.
"When we're catering for up to 60 people, obviously we need a lot more storage than just a standard fridge or two," says Chelsea Edgington, the hotel's managing director. "We needed a separate space to store food and alcohol."
The solution came in the form of a walk-in TectoCell cold room, which was fitted into the barns outside the hotel. Manufactured and fitted by Viessmann Refrigeration Solutions, the cold room has made a tangible difference to the hotel's operations.
"It's been a huge help for us as a business," says Edgington. "It's a lot easier to keep clean because you're not having to pile things on top of each other. It's very organised, it helps us with stock control, and when we've had our health and safety reports, we've come out as five star."
Paul Broadhurst, UK managing director of Viessmann Refrigeration Solutions, points out that hygiene and cleanliness is a critical factor in a cold room.
"The cold room we supplied to the Old Vicarage has an antimicrobial powder coating, which prevents bacterial build up on the inside," he says. "It has a very strong, stable construction, which means it's really solid and easy to clean. There are no dirt traps - a lot of cold rooms just use butt joints, which have a slight gap they fill with silicon, but we don't need to do that because our overlapping panels are locked together with cam locks."
The unit also includes a durable stainless steel floor - an absolute must for a hotel like the Old Vicarage, where the cold room is located outside.
"If it's a rainy day, and we're coming from the kitchen to the walk-in fridge, we need the floor to be cleanable and to keep everything off the floor," says Edgington.
Viessmann Refrigeration Solutions is a division of the Viessmann Group, one of the leading European manufacturers of heating, industrial and refrigeration solutions. Now employing around 12,000 people and turning over €2.25 billion a year, the group has come a long way since it was founded in 1917.
Today, the refrigeration division supplies four main sectors - food services (including hospitality), food retail, food and beverage, and healthcare and laboratories. As well as being clean and user-friendly, the products are characterised by their technological finesse and impeccable environmental credentials.
"It's important to the operation of the hotel, and it's important to us as a refrigeration provider, that our equipment maintains the right temperature and keeps the food as fresh as possible," says Broadhurst. "Any food outlet needs to be sure that their equipment can achieve that reliably, meeting all the HACCP safety regulations."
Broadhurst adds that Viessmann solutions are high-end products, targeted at high-end clients. They are particularly popular in the rental sector, since they can be taken down and built again numerous times. This, he says, is testament to their workmanship and durability.
"The build quality is something we really pride ourselves on," Broadhurst says. "It's a German product and German products in the marketplace tend to have a good name."
Moving forward, Viessmann is looking to incorporate digitisation into its cold rooms. The idea is to remotely monitor products, flagging up issues in real time and preventing any stock losses. The company is also looking forward to displaying its newest refrigeration solutions at EuroShop 2020, which takes place in Düsseldorf in February.
At the Old Vicarage Hotel, the new cold room is already helping the team offer better food and service. Edgington says that, while it didn't come cheap, it was categorically worth the money.
"Viessmann have been very helpful and have assisted us with what we needed," she says. "We're quite fussy, so when we gave them the spec they advised us and worked alongside us. It has made our behind-the-scenes process so much easier and means, in the long run, we can progress as a wedding venue."