Range Power Type
Cooking ranges are available in both electric and gas. Before committing to a specific range, it’s best to know how your commercial kitchen is outfitted and what adjustments will be necessary. For commercial electric ranges, know your voltage (208V, 240V, etc.) and phase hookup, single or three. If you’re opting for a gas range, it is important to know your gas plug ahead of time.
Electric ranges are simpler to operate and generally considered safer, ideal for school cafeterias who won’t be constantly operating their range. Additional benefits of electric cooking equipment include: considered cheaper and easier to install, no danger of a gas leak and more efficient because energy input is converted directly to heat.
Gas units are still the most popular in commercial kitchens and for good reason. Some benefits of gas heating include: greater control over heat intensity, reduced wait time as the heating element heats up, quicker cool down, not inconvenienced by power fluctuations and to heat faster for quicker turnaround.
The larger the width, in theory, the more product you’ll be able to produce. You’ll want to consider how much product you’ll be cooking up during high volume rushes, and factor that into the size. You’ll also want to keep hood space top of mind. Many health codes require hoods to extend at least 6” beyond the piece of equipment.
If space is becoming an issue, there are other options besides open burners. Griddle tops are popular among restaurants and diners specializing in breakfast foods. If you’re working with a menu with more variety, you’ll want to take into consideration the number of burners vs. griddle space to configure your unit.
Different Range Top Configuration
Open Burner/Grate Tops: The most popular of the range top configurations, these feature cast iron or steel framing supporting the pot or pan above the burner. They allow for more flexibility, accommodating several different types of cooking methods. They usually come with a removable tray under the grates to catch any spills for easy cleaning.
Hot Tops: These steel plates typically range between 12 and 18 inches wide and ½ to 1 inch thick. The heat input is generally greater for hot tops than for a single open burner.
Graduated Hot Tops: These feature two or three concentric rings that may be specified to accommodate different size stockpots. The burners are designed and positioned to heat the different rings, beginning with the center and moving out to match the base diameter of the stockpot. If a smaller pot is being used, only the inner rings are heated.
Griddle Tops: These steel plates fitted over the range are great for cooking a wide variety of foods like pancakes, breads and buns, bacon, hamburgers, chicken, etc. They transfer heat from the plate directly into the food. The thickness of the plate is important as it directly affects the cooking process, determining how quickly the desired temperature is reached. Medium-duty griddle tops are between ½ to ¾ inch thick, whereas heavy-duty tops are typically around 7/8 to 1-1/2 inch thick. The thicker the plate, the longer the heat retention, more even the heat distribution, and the less likely to warp.
French Hot Plates: Most common on commercial electric ranges, these round metal plates are traditionally 6 to 10 inches in diameter and designed to fit over the top of a burner. They are used in lieu of an open burner to provide a more even heat distribution and easier cleanup.