If you own a restaurant, you know how much work that implies, and how careful you have to be to please all of your clients. At the same time, you have to attract other customers too, and that may be an even harder task.
When there are a lot of clients and you need to cook for all of them, commercial fryers would be a great addition to your restaurant’s kitchen. They are basically kitchen appliances that allow you to fry chicken, fish, chips, doughnuts, fries, and many others. However, there are three types of fryers you can choose from, and it may be hard to know which one fits your restaurant’s kitchen: floor fryers, deep fryers, and countertop fryers.
This buying guide will show you what you should consider when planning to purchase a commercial fryer for your business. We will tell you about the features you should consider, as well as the pros and cons of each type.
Floor Fryers - Important Factors to Consider
Floor fryers are great to own if you have a lot of available space to use. Moreover, if you have a restaurant where people are coming on a daily basis, you will have to cook a lot. So, a floor fryer will help you when you are barely resisting all the work. It has a bigger capacity, meaning you can cook a higher amount of food.
If you have enough space to store a floor fryer, it will be a very useful appliance.
Commercial fryers can be pretty expensive, and the larger the capacity, the higher the price. You have to be ready to spend some money if you are considering a floor fryer, instead of a smaller one. So, if your menu has meals that need a large capacity fryer to cook at the rates the customers order them, then you will have to spend money on a bigger one.
Moreover, there are long term costs involved with it as well. Depending on whether you are buying a gas or electricity one, you will have to pay for the power source too. Gas is usually a cheaper option.
Also, you will have to spend a lot of money on fryer oil. Considering that floor fryers are bigger, they will need more oil and you will be using more of it, meaning that there are higher costs included.
Ease of Cleaning
Kitchen appliances are used a lot, for a wide variety of foods, so it’s only normal that they need to be cleaned from time to time. However, cleaning a fryer is not a fun activity, especially if your kitchen owns a floor fryer. They are very big, take a lot of space, and have a bigger area that needs to be cleaned.
It’s essential to keep your fryer clean, though. If it’s clean, it will last longer and the flavors of the food you fry will not suffer. You will have to drain the oil once every couple of months to properly scrub it. So, if you and your team are ready for such a responsibility, then a floor fryer may be good for you. It may require a lot of cleaning, but if it’s an appliance that will be of huge help in the kitchen, then you shouldn’t hesitate.
As mentioned, fryers work on either electricity or gas. Which one you choose depends on the setup that your kitchen already has. So, you should purchase the fuel taking that into consideration. In case you decide to switch from a gas to an electric one or vice versa, you have to know that the costs for the setup change will be bigger.
In general, gas fryers cost less, and they’re a great choice if the floor fryer already implies a lot of costs. Moreover, gas fryers usually heat up more quickly and have higher temperatures than electric ones. Also, large capacity fryers will usually come on gas, as electricity works better with smaller capacity fryers.
What are you going to cook for your clients? If you need to cook more types of foods and in bigger capacities, a floor fryer is what you need for the restaurant’s kitchen. This time, you’ll spend less time having to cook more food at the same time, and your clients will get their order in real time.
Pros and Cons
|Good for larger kitchens, where space is not a concern||Generally more expensive|
|Cooks a larger capacity of food||Require more oil, meaning more additional costs|
|Harder to clean, as they are generally very large|
Deep Fryers - Critical Factors to Consider
When purchasing a deep fryer, you may want to check your budget, as you don’t want to get the cheapest appliance out there. It’s still cheaper compared to floor fryers, but you will have to spend a good amount of money on a high-quality unit. However, the price will not be such a problem if the appliance will be of use in your restaurant’s kitchen.
Deep fryers can have various sizes, depending on the model, and each one has a certain capacity when it comes to the amount of oil used and how much food it can cook. They can be measured by physical dimensions, tank number per unit, oil capacity, and the maximum number of French fries per hour.
As mentioned, depending on the physical size of the fryer, the capacity may vary. For instance, a one or two-tank fryer may have an oil capacity ranging from 25 to 50 lbs. At the same time, a three-tank fryer may have a capacity of as much as 150 lbs or more. If the fryer has multiple tanks, it offers you the advantage of being able to cook more foods simultaneously. So, you will preserve the oil flavor in each tank.
Deep fryers have three main types of fry pot styles: tube-type, open-pot and flat-bottom. The difference between them is the use of the “sediment zone”. It is located at the bottom of the fryer, where the bits of food that break of during the frying process collect. In that area, oil temperatures are lower, to prevent the food bots from overcooking and thus damaging the oil’s flavor.
Tube-type fryers are suitable when heavy frying is involved, and they have wider sediment zones with a tube system. Although they can be difficult to clean, the wide sediment zone comes with an advantage. It allows a bigger volume of particles to settle at the fryer’s bottom, meaning the tube doesn’t require frequent cleaning. This may be great for your restaurant, especially if the employees are not trained to clean the appliances all the time. They can do it less frequently.
Open-pot fryers have deep, narrow sediment zones and an open, unobstructed frying area. It’s easy to maintain, meaning that your employees won’t have to struggle when it’s time to clean it. Moreover, it is the cheapest option out of all the three types. In addition, open-pot fryers are very versatile, allowing you to cook a lot of foods. However, they are best suited for foods such as chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, and French fries. These foods have low sediments, so they are perfect for fryers with smaller sediment zones.
Flat-bottom fryers are basically an extension of the open-pot ones, except they don’t have a sediment zone. Most of the times, they are used for dough, or foods such as tempura and tortilla chips, because they float at the top of the oil and don’t collect sediments. They are not the best when it comes to high volume cooking, and they are harder to clean as well. However, for certain items, this type of fryer may be the best bulk-frying option available.
Deep fryers work on either electricity or gas, depending on the model you want. Electric-powered fryers have burners encased in tubes that are lodged within the fry pot. At the same time, gas-powered fryers use burners, sometimes even external ones.
You can decide which one works best for you depending on the setup of the restaurant’s kitchen, as well as the costs involved. Most of the times, natural gas is cheaper than electricity, so kitchens that have budget constraints usually choose gas. However, this may depend on the area, as gas costs may rise. It’s better to check and compare the costs in the area before deciding on a fuel type.
Moreover, there are differences when it comes to the cooking efficiency and gas line/electrical outlet availability. For example, gas-powered fryers are faster cookers and can reach higher maximum temperatures than electric ones. Also, electric outlets are easier to set up.
When thinking about which fuel works best for your kitchen, you can take these advantages into account:
|Less heat is lost because the heating elements are immersed in oil||Heat up faster compared to the electric counterpart and can achieve higher cooking temperatures|
|More mobile because they don’t have a connection with a gas line||Can be fueled with propane as well as natural gas|
|Recovery time between frying cycles is fast|
Basically, when you drop something in a fryer, it’s going to cool down the boiling oil, especially if the food is frozen. So, the time it takes for the oil to reheat and start boiling in order to fry the food is important. The quicker the process, the faster the customers will get their orders and will be more pleased with your ability to serve them.
What is even greater is the fact that fryers with a good recovery time also save on energy costs. They don’t require a lot of energy to reheat the boiling oil each time you use them. When it comes to recovery time, electric models are better than their gas counterpart, even though it takes them longer to heat up when you first turn them on.
It’s important to have the right temperature for the oil because if it’s too high, it can burn and ruin the food’s taste. What can be worse than losing clients because the food is overcooked? At the same time, if the cooking time is longer than it should be, the product will absorb more oil and won’t be as crisp.
For that reason, most newer models of fryers come with computerized controls, so you can control the frying temperatures, cook more consistently and sync with timers. What’s even greater is that you can save energy at the same time. They also come with safety thermostats, so they power down the fryer if the oil reaches dangerous temperature levels.
Pros and Cons
|Oil lifespan is longer||Can be expensive, depending on the exact type|
|Space saver||Not all foods can be cooked with these units|
|Safer for employees because they are vent-less|
|Installation costs are lower|
|Products are cooked at better quality|
|Not too messy|
Countertop Fryers - Important Factors to Consider
When your restaurant kitchen is not too big, and you don’t have enough space to store a bigger commercial fryer, a countertop fryer is the answer for you. They are smaller and thus easy to store, so they won’t be an obstacle in your employees’ way when they are cooking.
If you own a smaller restaurant that isn’t always crowded with hungry customers, it’s a better idea to own a countertop fryer than a floor or deep one. It’s better to cook the right amount of food than to cook too much and having to throw it away.
Countertop fryers let you cook foods that don’t require a bigger amount of oil to fry accordingly.
Because they’re smaller, countertop fryers are cheaper compared to bigger commercial fryers. Additionally, they don’t have so many additional costs included. Also, you cook smaller amounts of food, which means that you won’t have to spend a lot of money on frying oil.
Pros and Cons
|Much cheaper compared to other fryers||Cooks smaller amounts of food|
|Easier to clean|
|Requires less space|
|Fewer additional costs|
Information on the Costs of Owning a Commercial Fryer
Basically, you don’t only have to pay for the fryer itself – there are some additional costs included as well. Here is what you will need to spend money on:
Fryers come with baskets that let you lift the food from the oil and serve it. Although many fryers already come with the baskets, it may be useful to buy some extra ones for different types of foods, as a backup.
A fryer wouldn’t work without frying oil. There is a wide variety of oils to choose from, and they all have certain benefits and different costs. You should know they add to the costs and choosing a more expensive one may rob you of more money. However, those are usually healthier, so your clients will reap the benefits.
Fryer oil filter paper is a useful addition, as it is used in fryer oil filtration units. Basically, it allows oil to pass, while food particles are kept out, so the oil is free of contaminants.
The Maintenance of the Fryers
Regardless of the type of commercial fryer you choose to purchase, it needs to be cleaned, because it may accumulate dirt over time, by cooking so many foods. So, not only that the food will be healthier, but cleaning extends the life of both the deep fryer and the oil.
So, you should consider the cooking oil first. Clean oil should be a must, and it should be filtered daily, sometimes more than once, depending on the amount of food you cook. You can do it by pulling or draining the oil through a filtration system. It keeps the food particles away, and the oil will be cleaner, healthier and won’t change its flavor.
Moreover, the fryer should be entirely cleaned daily, maybe between shifts. So, you don’t only have to drain the oil into a filtration system but remove the food sediments in the fry pot and/or filter pot as well. Some manufacturers use boiling water in the cooking pot to clean it. If you do that, you should be aware that you have to dry the fry pot, or the oil will splatter and possibly result in a burn when you use the unit.
All in all, make sure to scrub the surface daily, so it’s always clean. This way, the food will be delicious and healthy, and the flavor will not change.
Final Thoughts on Commercial Fryers
Owning any type of commercial fryer can benefit your business. You will be able to fry food faster, more efficiently, and even fry bigger quantities of food at the same time. In case you consider purchasing one, this guide can be helpful and prepare you for what is about to come.
Basically, you have to think about what type of fryer fits your restaurant’s kitchen, whether it is going to use electricity or gas and how are you going to handle the additional costs. Moreover, you have to consider how easy it is to clean.
We hope that this guide was helpful enough and included everything you wanted to know about floor fryers, deep fryers, and countertop fryers. There are many things to consider but, with the right advice, you will be able to buy the best unit for your restaurant’s needs.