The Definitive Guide to Commercial Ovens
A good commercial oven is the difference between a satisfied customer and an unhappy one. Because your business relies on feeding lots of people efficiently and effectively. This can only be achieved with an oven that:
- Cooks the food you serve at the right temperature
- Fits into your space without obstructing staff
- Is easy to use even when you’re rushed off your feet
- Suits your budget and growing needs
Pick the wrong oven and your reputation could take a hit. But with so many options to choose from, it’s easy to make a mistake.
That’s why we’ve created this guide. Understand all the different types of commercial ovens and how they can serve your business. Also, learn what features to consider when making your purchase.
What are the main types of commercial ovens?
Below we list the main types of commercial ovens, what they’re used for and how your kitchen can benefit from them.
- Standard oven
The simplest type of oven, standard models contain a heating element at the bottom. Because of this, heat isn’t distributed evenly throughout the baking chamber, which can result in food cooking at different speeds.
Despite this, standard ovens are popular due to their affordability and ease of use. A safe option for new catering businesses, but if you’re well established, it’s worth paying extra for a more advanced oven.
- Convection oven
Convection ovens are equipped with fans that circulate hot air into the baking chamber, reducing cooking times for higher yields. They also prevent meat shrinkage. While a consistent temperature cooks food evenly, no matter which shelf is used. That’s why convection ovens are preferred by bakers – they brown baked goods better than standard ovens.
- Combination oven
Also known as combi oven. It uses steam, hot air or a combination of both to cook food. And you can adjust moisture levels using a climate control feature, enabling quicker cooking times while also minimising the chance or dry or burnt food.
Combination ovens are around 30% more efficient at cooking than standard ovens, which makes them more expensive but a better choice for busy kitchens. Note: as they generate lots of steam, most models require a mains water supply connection.
- Conveyor oven
Conveyor ovens, known also as pizza ovens, use a set of rollers to steadily pull food past powerful heating elements. Thanks to a consistent speed, food is cooked the same every time. This makes them great for cooking pizzas, burritos, pies and the like. Which is why conveyor ovens are often used in takeaways and food halls.
- High speed oven
High speed ovens are, you guessed it, fast at cooking food. Make that ultra-fast – nothing compares for speed. They are 20 times faster than traditional ovens! That’s because high speed ovens combine multiple heating methods to cook much faster. They can also cook any type of food, making them a great all-rounder upgrade if you’re looking to reduce waiting times for your customers.
- Cook and hold oven
Caterers have been using cook and hold ovens since the 1970s! Because they’re great at cooking large portions of food at low temperatures over many hours. Plus, by holding food at the ideal serving temperature, you eliminate the need to check on your food so it doesn’t overcook, saving on time and labour while maintaining quality.
Cook and hold ovens are ideal for carveries, canteens and buffer restaurants that rely on serving tender meat to keep customers happy.
- Steam oven
Any good chef will rely on their steam oven to cook succulent fish, vegetables and rice. Cooking via water vapour ensures you retain nutrients while reducing food shrinkage. It also eliminates flavour transfer. However, you can’t brown or crisp food with a steam oven, so you might need another appliance to finish off your dishes.
- Potato oven
Everybody loves a potato. Especially one cooked to perfection: crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. You can rely on a potato oven to achieve this every time. Not only that but they can cook large batches quickly and efficiently.
As a portable oven, these models are great for mobile catering businesses when jackets are on the menu! They also make for mouth-watering displays to attract hungry customers.
What features of commercial ovens should you consider?
You should have a better idea now of the type of oven (or ovens!) your kitchen needs. But there are still a few more things to consider before making a purchase.
Save yourself from the agony of buying an oven that’s too big for your kitchen by measuring your space first! Also, make sure staff can easily and safely navigate around the appliance.
Do you have plans to grow in the future? Save money in the long term by buying a larger oven so you don’t have to replace it in the future.
Also consider how many dishes you’ll need to cook at once to keep up with customer demand, as that will affect the size you’ll need.
Ovens either use gas or electricity for power. Whether you should buy a gas or electric oven depends on your kitchen’s needs, your budget and your current power connection. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both power supplies to help.
- Cheaper running costs
- Heats up faster than electric
- Also cools quicker
- Gives you better heat control
- Difficult and expensive to install a new connection
- Requires more safety precautions
- Higher risk of uneven cooking if not monitored properly
- Cheaper to buy upfront
- Easier to install
- Cooks food more evenly
- Easier to clean
- Takes longer to heat up
- Requires lots of electricity
- Not as good heat control
Keep these facts in mind when shopping for your commercial oven and you won’t go wrong.
3. Plumbing and water
You’ll likely need a mains water connection near your oven if you plan to purchase a steam, convection or combination model. Also, consider fitting a water filter as part of the installation to protect your oven against limescale and validate its warranty.
Purchasing a canopy (also known as a chimney or cooker hood) with your oven will keep your kitchen safe and comfortable to work in. That’s because it channels and filters smoke, grease and heat out of the kitchen. Canopies also help to keep unpleasant cooking odours out of your kitchen.
Nobody knows ovens like you do
Not now that you’ve read this guide! Of course, there’s always more to learn. So go on and read our next article: How to Care for Your Commercial Oven.
Need more advice around choosing and installing the perfect oven? Call us on 0113 833 1234 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.