Easily one of the most important pieces of equipment you will purchase for your commercial kitchen, restaurant-quality ranges can perform a multitude of tasks, including everything from grilling and sautéing to broiling and even baking.
Whether you’re looking to source a commercial range for your new restaurant or replace the one you currently have, it’s helpful to know exactly which types of commercial ranges are available so you can choose the right version for your foodservice business. With a wide variety of options on the market, this article will list and describe the different types of commercial ranges you might consider—including gas, induction-top, electric, dual fuel, and a few specialty ranges—so you can learn a bit more about what they are and how they’re used.
Full-size commercial ranges
Most full-size ranges will feature cooktops, including:
- flattop grills
- French tops
Commercial range bases can include:
- standard, convection, or space-saving ovens
Just keep in mind that the configuration of these features and what’s included will vary depending on the manufacturer’s offerings. You might be able to mix and match these features with some units, whereas other versions might be sold as is. Be sure to go over these options with your commercial kitchen equipment provider, and they should be able to help you sort out the best range for your business.
Gas ranges are a popular choice in the restaurant business; they are quick to heat up, cheaper than electricity to run, and give consistent cooking performances. They will generally use either propane or natural gas, and they can be manufactured as “restaurant ranges,” which are ideal for lighter traffic establishments, and “heavy-duty ranges,” which are needed for busier commercial kitchens. They are generally more hazardous than electric and induction options since they work by igniting gas and producing an open flame, but they can also be operated without electric as you can manually light the burners. They also require a specific area of the kitchen that has the proper access to electrical hookups and gas lines in order to be installed. With gas ranges, you can specify the number of burners you need in addition to how many BTUs they put out (the larger the BTU, the hotter the flame).
Although the coils on electrical range tops take longer to heat up, they are much simpler to install and cheaper upfront (not as much in the long run, however, as gas is cheaper to fuel than electricity). The upside is they are generally safer than gas ranges, since you don’t have to worry about leaks or open flames. They are still used often in restaurants today, so it just depends on your preference. Electrical ranges also come with a variety of cooktop accessories and
Induction-top ranges are becoming increasingly cost-effective, although when they first came out, they were much more expensive than gas and electric ranges. They use a combination of electricity and magnetism to create heat in the pot itself (the heat doesn’t come for the coil, but the coil helps make the heat in the pots and pans) that initiates from a copper coil underneath a ceramic-glass surface, which is flat and extremely easy to clean. In order to produce heat, however, you need to have special iron-based pots and pans as copper and aluminum won’t work with these cooktops. They also don’t always require a hood.
Dual fuel ranges
Duel-fuel ranges also come in a variety of configurations, but in a general sense, they are commercial ranges that use both electricity and gas to heat your food. Although dual fuel ranges look just like any gas range, you will see the biggest difference in the way it cooks your food. For example, if the range has a gas cooktop but electric convection oven, the heat is drier, making it a bit more optimal for baking, whereas gas-heated convection oven can be moister, making them, on the other hand, better for cooking roasts and other dishes you don’t want drying out. Despite the way they cook, they’ll still have all the available features of the other standard ranges, such as multiple burners, stovetop griddles, and easy-to use controls.
Specialty commercial ranges
These smaller, compact units also come in gas, electric, or induction models. They provide the same service as your full-size ranges, but often sit on the countertop and are generally much smaller. Many of them cook specific foods; for example, wok ranges provide extra stirfrying power to your commercial kitchen. Some of the specialty commercial ranges you can find include:
- hot plates
- salamander broilers
- stockpot ranges
- wok ranges
They are a great way to add burners and other cooktops to an overcrowded, busy commercial kitchen.
Which range is the right fit for your commercial kitchen?
The biggest indicator of which commercial range(s) will be the best fit for your restaurant? Your menu! The dishes you plan to cook and prepare for you guests will ultimately lead you to the best options. Bakeries will need drier-cooking ovens, whereas restaurants with a versatile dinner menu might opt for gas. Talk to your foodservice equipment provider so they can help walk you through the process and be sure to go in with an idea of what you’ll need so you can ask the right questions and get the best information possible.
Can BHS Foodservice Solutions Help?
BHS Foodservice Solutions has over 80 years’ experience helping restaurants like yours find the best equipment and supplies for their commercial kitchens. If you have any questions, contact us, and one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives will help you find the equipment and services you need to increase kitchen productivity and maximize your food-industry investment with a solution that’s right for you.