A commercial deep fryer is one of the cornerstone pieces of restaurant equipment in the United States. No matter what type of fryer you ultimately equip your restaurant with; each of them makes it possible to quickly, safely, and hygienically fry large amounts of food in oil with considerable ease. If you are new to the restaurant business, or if this will be your first fryer purchase, you might find yourself overwhelmed with the sheer amount of options you can find when searching for a commercial deep fryer. This article will help you sort out the differences, and help you decide which one is right for you.
1. Shape, Size, and Placement
The first step to understanding fryers understands the different sizes, shapes, and placement possibilities of each type of fryer. The first fryer to consider is the countertop fryer. Commercial deep fryers intended for countertop placement appear somewhat like the personal deep fat fryers that some home cooks utilize. As such, they are ideal for restaurants with small demands for deep fried food. Even the smallest of commercial countertop fryers are considerably larger than home fryers, but a countertop fryer has limits in regards to how much food can be produced using it. Countertop fryers tend to come in two sizes: single-tank and double-tank. A double-tank model might be ideal for a smaller restaurant that tends to make a lot of French fries, for example.
For restaurants with greater frying needs, such as fast food restaurants, a countertop fryer is unlikely to fulfill the needs. Restaurants producing large quantities of fried foods are likely to need to go with floor fryers. A floor fryer is a much larger piece of equipment, usually closer in size to a professional oven. Floor fryers allow for mass frying of food and often come with multiple tanks or bays for oil.
Some restaurants or stands may make specialty fried foods, like funnel cakes, corn dogs, or doughboys. For restaurants like these, there are uniquely shaped fryers that can ensure the best experience for cooks. Most specially shaped fryers still come in countertop and floor sizes, but they often look much different and have specially made additions that help create the food they are designed for. For example, funnel cake fryers usually contain a wide, uninhibited bay for oil and a side tray for cooling. Funnel cakes must be quickly dropped into oil and allowed to cook while floating on the top of the oil. Funnel cake frying is much harder to do in fryers with baskets or separators.
2. Heat Type
Like most cooking equipment, fryers come equipped with various methods of generating heat. Depending on your restaurant or stand, you may have very different needs in regard to heating methods. Most fryers are either gas powered or electrically powered, or each type has benefits and disadvantages. However, before any other considerations are made, the access to each power type should be considered. A restaurant that does not have gas hookups is clearly going to be unable to employ the use of a gas powered fryer. A food truck utilizing gas tanks, however, might find a gas fryer to be much easier to use than an electric fryer.
Outside of limitations of use, there are other considerations to weigh before you decide on a gas or electric fryer. Electric fryers are cheaper to run, offer very consistent temperatures and can quickly cycle. Electric fryers also tend to have more “smart” options, including programming, presets, and built-in digital displays.
Gas fryers, however, outpace electric fryers in the amount of time it takes to heat up oil. Gas fryers, much like gas stoves, can distribute heat across the heating element in such a way that more oil is warmed at any given time. While gas fryers do not often have smart features that electric fryers offer, many cooks find analog gas controls intuitive and flexible in a way that digitally-controlled electric fryers are not.
It’s always worth discussing with your cooks or frying chef what their preferences are (if your restaurant could accommodate either type, of course). A chef may do their best work on one type of fryer simply because of familiarity and experience with that type.
Fryers are an essential component of a good kitchen for most restaurants. Keeping these basic concepts in mind will help you make the right decision for your restaurant, and will hopefully leave you and your customers satisfied for years to come. When you are ready to explore your options in full, come visit us at www.gatorchef.com. Our team of professionals knows the business better than anyone, and our prices are the best around. We love the food service, and we want to help you be ready for whatever surprises may come your way!
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