Commercial Convection Oven: Key Considerations
When it comes to choosing an oven for your commercial kitchen, there’s a lot to take into account. If you’re trying to decide on the right convection oven for your establishment, here is a walkthrough of the many options, features and more you need to consider:
Countertop vs. Floor Model
Space is the biggest consideration to decide whether you need a countertop convection oven or a floor model. Floor convection ovens come as single or double stack and are designed for high volume kitchens. Countertop convection ovens are portable and compact, and easy to install. They are great for quick serve restaurants with limited space, food trucks, convenience stores, catering businesses, and concession stands. Countertop models are perfect for small trays with some models accommodating half-size sheet pans. It is important to note that countertop models do not create as much output as floor models.
The typical convection oven has a cooking cabinet about 29 inches wide and 24 inches deep, providing room for a single full-size pan or two half-size pans on each rack. Most commercial kitchens will do fine with these measurements. Have in mind thou the these are interior measurements, the exterior width, depth, and height are bigger. There are, however, countertop and half size convection ovens that can offer the same cooking power in a fraction of the space. Standard full size and half size convections usually come with five racks, but have space for up to 7 at a smaller spacing. Countertop convections have four or less racks per oven.
Commercial kitchens often operate in strict space requirements, with limited floor space and lots of different units to accommodate. This may make it tempting to get a smaller oven, but have in mind that smaller size means reduced capacity. An oven which is too small may not have the capacity you need, but if it’s too big might not fit into your kitchen at all. Make sure to take measurement (multiple times) before the purchase.
While in restaurant kitchen you can set it and forget it, weight is a big issue for mobile kitchens and on-site catering business. You do not want something large and heavy when you have to transport it from place to place. Make sure to check the specs sheet and see how much the oven you are looking into weighs.
Convection ovens use one or more fans for forced air circulation, depending on the brand and model. Some ovens have two convection speeds: baking setting lowers the fan speed, and high fan speed convection roasting to brown and crisp the exterior of meat and poultry.
Time and Temperature Controls
Convection Commercial Oven controls can either be manual or programmable. Programmable controls allow you to create pre-programmed presets and settings you can choose from with a single push of a button.
Manual controls, on the other hand, provide operators with a lot of flexibility. Professional chefs prefer manual controls because it lets them adjust their cooking settings as needed.
Doors on a commercial convection oven can either be made from tempered glass or solid metal. Tempered glass doors let you look at the contents without opening and letting the heat out. Solid doors, on the other hand, are more durable and have better heat retention. However, constantly opening solid doors to check on your products could lead to heat loss and higher energy costs.
Doors can also be dependent or independent. Dependent doors open at the same time using a single handle. They let you open both doors with one hand only, which is useful when you’re holding a tray of food products with the other hand. Independent doors are not as convenient because they have separate handles. The advantage of independent doors is that they don’t produce as much heat loss as dependent doors.
Material – Porcelain Enamel vs. Stainless Steel
One thing that doesn’t come up often in commercial oven guides is the material. The exterior is made of metals that are resistant to temperature and corrosion, like coated aluminized steel, or stainless steel. The inside liner is made according to the industry standards, but there are options to choose from according to your preference.
The two liner materials offered by most commercial oven manufacturers are porcelain-enamelled steel and stainless steel. Porcelain enamel is typically the default material for most commercial ovens, while stainless steel does come standard on certain units that may endure heavier usage.
Porcelain is easy to clean and resistant to rust but can start to break and chip over time. Stainless steel doesn’t crack, but it requires some scrubbing to clean debris off.
Ease of Use
Sometimes a kitchen can become very chaotic. There’s million tasks to balance, so many things to get done right away. There is no room for any piece of equipment that will slow down your kitchen team, including the convection oven. Probably the most important criteria when choosing a convection oven are the ease of use, intuitive operations and simple maintenance. Commercial electric convection ovens are a popular choice, because they are simple to install, and easy to use.
Price is a major consideration for any business operator, especially a small one. If you run a small restaurant or a mobile kitchen, you do not need a high-end large convection oven anyway, which excludes the most expensive models. Don’t go for the cheapest option either, however tempting it might be. It is always a smart business decision to go for quality equipment over cheaper alternatives that might break down quicker or end up costing more in repairs than anticipated.
The best thing you could do to use your budget in the best possible way is to get your equipment from a knowledgeable supplier that will understand the needs of your business. In the end, it all depends on the sort of food that you’ll be preparing, the clients you expect to get, and how much you plan spending.
A commercial kitchen uses about 2.5 times more energy per square ft than other commercial spaces. Industrial kitchen equipment can be operated for hours at a time and is often very energy-intensive. In a world of rising energy costs and erratic climate change, it’s never been more essential to run a sustainable kitchen.
If you are in the market for new equipment, consider ENERGY STAR qualified appliances. ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. At this time, only commercial, full-size gas and half- and full-size electric convection ovens may qualify for the ENERGY STAR symbol. ENERGY STAR qualified ovens save energy by employing convection cooking technology, higher insulation levels and tighter-fitting door gaskets and hinges. ENERGY STAR qualified ovens are typically about 20 percent more energy-efficient than standard models.
Gas vs. Electric
Ovens can be powered either by electricity or natural gas. Electric convection ovens are easier to install, all they need is to be plugged into an outlet. However, some models use a lot of power, which can be inconvenient for trailer kitchens and food trucks that use generators. Gas convection ovens use less energy than electrical units and have lower operating costs.
But even gas models require some electricity to power their interior fans. Gas ovens also usually need at least 1″ of clearance around its pans’ sides to ensure adequate airflow throughout its cooking chamber.
The kitchen is the heart of your food business. With the trend moving towards open kitchen concept many restaurant owners started paying attention to the style of the appliances. Visually beautiful oven that seamlessly fits in the kitchen layout will help creating the workspace seamlessly connects with the consumer, without losing its functionality. Whether you opt for modern stainless-steel look or something more distinctive, a well-designed kitchen can have a positive effect on your staff, on the food preparation, and on the overall restaurant experience.