Custard Maker Finds Refrigeration System to Protect His Frozen Assets

Anderson’s Frozen Custard won’t be making its last stand any time soon.In fact, six Anderson’s custard stands have opened in the last two years, for a total of nine Anderson’s locations in western New York, from Cheektowaga to Niagara Falls. Refrigeration methods suitable throughout Anderson’s 53 years in business became increasingly outdated as menu selection and service offerings greatly expanded from its original stores.

When owner Keith Anderson needed a way to meet his complex refrigeration needs, he chose Heatcraft Refrigeration Products’ Beacon Refrigeration System to help him keep his cool.

Anderson’s has been in the frozen custard business since 1946, when Carl and Greta Anderson opened the first stand in the Bronx on the advice of a friend. With $5,000 of Grandpa Anderson’s money, the young couple started their business in an old ice cream parlor, with a sign in the window that read “Frozen Custard” as the only way of letting people know they existed.

For the next 30 years, Carl and Greta continued to run Anderson’s on their belief that one of the most important things they could offer customers was value. When sons Keith and Nels and son-in-law Kirk took over the family business in 1983, that philosophy didn’t change. There were some changes, however, as the next generation of Andersons continued growing the family business.

Keith, Nels and Kirk opened a Williamsville location in 1989, with an indoor dining area, and a Cheektowaga store in 1994. The menu expanded to include sandwiches and French fries and, in 1993, Anderson’s began making its own ice cream and frozen yogurt. The first franchise opened in North Tonawanda in 1997.

Out of the dreams and plans of a young couple came a thriving business, and Keith Anderson realizes the importance of preserving his parents’ legacy. He will not leave something as crucial to Anderson’s as refrigeration to chance. “When we began making our own ice cream, we needed a way to monitor our freezers after hours in case any of them stopped working,” Anderson explains. “We were looking for a refrigeration system with an alert component.”

Anderson went to Ralph Hoerner at United Dairy Machinery Corporation (UDMC), a full-line distributor operating since 1923. UDMC today services not only the dairy industry but the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, biotech and cosmetic industries as well. UDMC has worked with Anderson’s since the beginning, according to Hoerner.

“Anderson approached us four or five years ago about changing their refrigeration system,” Hoerner says. “We needed to supply them with a far more reliable system to not only reduce call-backs, but also system down time and product loss.”

Hoerner worked with Paul Sullivan, a Chandler rep with D&M Associates, who recommended the Beacon Refrigeration System with Smart Controller. Hoerner and Sullivan demonstrated Beacon’s capabilities to Anderson, particularly how the stores’ needs for an alert system could be serviced by the special Smart Controller feature on the Beacon System, which allows users to monitor and set refrigeration set points remotely.

“The Beacon System can be hooked up to a phone dialer,” explains Sullivan. “The Smart Controller has the capability to sound an alert if the temperature of the room or storage area goes above or below the predetermined set point, then the system calls a series of people at Anderson’s and UDMC so the problem can be corrected.”

Another Smart Controller feature that hooked Anderson was the ability for managers to have access to the system without ever leaving their offices. Utilizing a computer modem, the Smart Controller allows the user to remotely monitor a wide range of system conditions, including box temperature, superheat condition for each evaporator, evaporator entering temperature and compressor discharge temperature, ambient outdoor temperature, daily accumulated defrost time and whether the system(s) are on, off, cooling or defrosting. As an added feature, Smart Controller makes it possible to change box temperature through remote computer access.

Hoerner has installed Beacon Refrigeration Systems in many Anderson’s locations and continues to install additional systems in the franchises. Each restaurant has two Beacon Systems paired with a 1-1 /2 HP medium temperature hermetic Chandler outdoor condensing unit and a 3 HP low temperature hermetic Chandler outdoor condensing unit. The units maintain the temperature of the cooler, used to preserve food products such as deli meat, at 35 degrees and the temperature of the storage freezers, where the custard, ice cream and frozen desserts are kept, at negative 10 degrees. The ice cream manufacturing plant required a lower temperature than the retail locations and has a 3 HP hermatic condensing unit paired with the Beacon to maintain a negative 20 degree temperature. Hoerner chose to use center mount coils with the Chandler units, as they are more compact coils and allow for more shelving in the storage areas.

“With the Beacon and Smart Controller, we are now providing a system that is much easier to monitor, control and adjust,” Hoerner says. “The Beacon is a great alert system,” Anderson says. “There have been several situations where we’ve had phone calls in the middle of the night about power outages causing freezers and coolers to shut down.

Without Beacon, we would not have known about that equipment failure until it was too late and we would have lost a lot of product.”