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Do You Need an Extractor Fan in a Cafe or Coffee Shop?

Yes, in the United States you need an extractor fan, if possible, in a Café or Coffee Shop. In coffee shops and cafes where food and beverages are continuously prepared, served and consumed, the importance of ventilation in providing a comfortable environment for all the occupants cannot be overemphasized.

A café is more or less a type of restaurant which typically serves coffee and tea, in addition to light refreshments such as baked goods or snacks. “Café” is a restaurant that does not offer table service. Customers order their food from a counter and serve themselves.

The lack of ventilation can cause health hazards to the people working there. Note that these issues arise due to excess heat, smoke, steam and grease that is caused due to baking or other cooking related activities.

Sometimes it happens that the kitchen design does not give room for proper ventilation. So the ventilation will have to be provided with the help of a commercial kitchen extractor fan. These fans are designed in a way that they will eliminate the pollution that is caused by smoke, heat, grease and steam from the kitchen environment.

Without doubt, ventilation is the major point for any safe and secure café, especially in the kitchen. But when it is not possible naturally, it has to be aided with the help of an extractor fan. Extractor fans and kitchen ventilation equipment are critical for both safety and comfort.

Note that an extractor fan does not only improve your commercial kitchen’s working environment but it also makes the design not be rejected by the local planning authority when safety measures are considered. Additionally, since every kitchen is different, the commercial kitchen extractor fan needed in every kitchen depends on the kitchen’s design. The bottom line is that this ensures a safe and healthy kitchen to work in.

Ventilation Needs for Cafes and Coffee Shops

Having proper ventilation in your cafe is very important for employee and customer health as well as food sanitation. Have it in mind that inadequate ventilation can result in safety violations, higher utility bills, decreased employee productivity, and even uncontrolled tempers from customers as well as employees.

It can also result in loss of traffic due to unpleasant odours or uncomfortable conditions. Café or Coffee Shop HVAC needs include:

1. Cooling

Even though most cafes do not engage in high-intensity cooking, the dishwashing equipment packed into a relatively small area in these facilities and other minor cooking can quickly raise kitchen temperatures to unbearable levels, especially in hot weather or during very busy periods. High temperatures are not just an inconvenience for employees—they also indirectly affect your restaurant’s profitability.

According to reports, employee productivity peaks at just over 71˚ F, and drops off above 77˚. (This aligns with OSHA’s recommendation that workplace thermostats be set between 68-76˚.) Outside of optimal temperatures, workers tend to show a higher rate of mistakes.

In a kitchen, this can lead to anything from botched orders to personal injury. Also note that an overly hot facility also wreaks havoc on your utility bills. Compressors on refrigerators and freezers must work overtime when they are located in a hot environment.

However, the challenge, of course comes in keeping the cooking area at a reasonable temperature without freezing out the rest of your establishment. Have it in mind that putting the kitchen on a separate zone with its own thermostat can help.

The existing HVAC system, nonetheless, may not live up to the task of maintaining the needed heat differential. Howbeit, it would be nice to install a portable air conditioning unit in the kitchen for busy times or in hot weather to help keep everyone comfortable.

2. Air Quality

Agreeably, cooking emits grease, smoke, and particulates into the air, which can be both uncomfortable and unsafe for respiratory health. Health department regulations normally mandate that ventilation hoods be installed over cooking appliances.

These codes tend to vary from one state and municipality to another, so it’s pertinent you consult with your local health authorities to make sure you are using the proper size and grade of ventilation hood for your equipment.

Also note that you can maximize your hood’s efficiency by setting your appliances as close to the wall as possible. According to experts, this will ensure that the entire cooking area is covered. If you are preparing greasy snacks, it’s also crucial to make sure that the hood you install is designed to filter grease—not all of them are.

3. Fire Suppression

In the United States, your building codes may also require that your ventilation hoods are equipped with fire suppression systems. Note that these may utilize either dry chemicals or inert gas (such as CO2) to douse any fire that may occur.

However, to keep fires from occurring in the first place, you should make cleaning the hoods a part of your regular routine.


Immediately a commercial kitchen extractor fan is installed, it is always better to have regular maintenance as this can make your extractor fan work for years without any issue.

In case of a commercial kitchen, air change tends to be done by a mechanical ventilation system, predominantly via an extract canopy that is located above the appliances to remove the by-product of the cooking process. Howbeit, sufficient outdoor air is expected to be provided through supply fans in order to replace the extracted air.