In brand-new foodservice facilities, one of the earliest decisions to become made within the planning stages is what energy supply will be used to cook the food: gasoline or electrical power? Because it is often a matter from the chef’s personal preference, this really is a single of those questions that will continue to be debated for decades.
Without taking sides, the August 2002 edition of Foodservice Equipment and Supplies magazine did a good job of summarizing the benefits of every energy source:
Gas: 1. Overall, natural gas is much less expensive than electrical power, because it contains a higher cumulative amount of Btus (British thermal units) delivered from the point of extraction towards the point of use. An example:
A supply of 100,000 Btus at the well head, which is then converted to electricity, will have “lost” 73 percent of its original energy by the time it’s transferred through power lines towards the restaurant, delivering only 27,000 Btus for actual use. Take the exact same 100,000 Btus, keep it in natural gas form and deliver it via a series of gasoline pipelines to the same restaurant, and the restaurant receives 91,000 Btus, a net loss of only 7 percent (7000 Btus).
2. Electricity has an additional price, known as the demand factor, which gas bills do not consist of. 3. Natural gas doesn’t make additional demands on kitchen ventilation systems, which are determined by the cooking procedure, not the energy source.
4. Technological improvements in gas appliances consist of infrared fryers with 80 percent fuel use efficiency and griddles with consistent temperatures on their entire surface. Boilerless combi-ovens that use gas have nearly eliminated most costly combi-oven maintenance problems.
5. Gas-fired bakery ovens produce moister products with longer shelf lives. Electrical power: 1. Electric products is more fuel-efficient overall, because more of the power that it uses goes directly into cooking the foods.
2. Electrical fryers are a lot more efficient simply because the heating element (heat supply) is located directly within the frying oil, which results in better heat transfer. three. By design, electric ovens are much better insulated, and also the way their heating elements are placed gives them more uniform internal temperatures, which results in improved foods high quality and better item yield.
4. Induction range tops, which use electricity, supply faster heat, instant response, and simpler cleanup, and they contribute to a much cooler environment. 5. Electrical equipment is more energy efficient, because the way the thermostat controls the temperature, cycling on and off only as required, signifies the appliance’s actual power use is only a portion of its nameplate rating.
6. Electrical utility providers often provide so-called step-rate purchasing for commercial customers, meaning a lower cost per kilowatt-hour as consumption increases. You will find as many particulars about equipment construction as there are pieces of equipment. Be aware that the quality and workmanship you choose will assist determine the life of your products.
Before you shop, make a complete list of attributes you are looking for. You will also need this information should you end up ordering custom-fabricated products. The very first question to consider is: What is it created of? The substances utilized to construct most food service equipment are stainless metal, galvanized metal, and aluminum.
Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is the costliest and most commonly utilized material, and for good reason-if cleaned correctly, it may be the most resistant to corrosion, pitting, and discoloration. Within the case of cookware, stainless metal also doesn’t impart flavors or odors to the foods being cooked in it. Stainless metal begins as iron, but chromium and nickel are added to form a tough, invisible outer layer that gives it its durability.
Probably the most corrosion-resistant is 18/8 stainless steel, meaning it includes 18 % chromium and 8 percent nickel. Chromium combines with oxygen to form a strong, corrosion-resistant film about the steel; nickel provides the finished item its flexibility, allowing it to become shaped into numerous various forms.
An important note: In order for manufacturers to meet NSF International sanitation standards, stainless steel that comes into contact with food should contain at least 16 % chromium. The term “austenitic steel” signifies it’s nonmagnetic steel created with 16 to 26 % chromium and 6 to 22 % nickel. 18/8 is a kind of austenitic steel.
The American Iron and Metal Institute ranks stainless steel in five classifications, called grades or kinds, according to its chemical composition. Each grade is identified with a threedigit range; the ones you’ll discover most often in foodservice are Grade (or Type) 304, 301, 420 and, to some lesser extent, Grade 403. Grade 420 is used for cutlery, cooking utensils, and some cookware.
In recent years, nickel costs have been volatile, prompting steel manufacturers to experiment with alternatives that contain much less nickel to keep costs down. They might replace some from the nickel with manganese or nitrogen; they may reduce both nickel and chromium content and add a bit of copper.
These new alloys are acceptable alternatives, and some of the resulting products and cookware has the extra benefit of reduced weight. You might be asked what finish you desire for your equipment, meaning its degree of polish or shine.
The various finishes are given numbers on a scale of 1 to 7: 1 is very rough; 7 is an almost mirrorlike shine. For most work surfaces, 3 or 4 (brushed or matte finish) are preferable because it can otherwise reflect glare from lights. The greater the finish number, the a lot more expensive, so even choosing a three rather than a four can save 10 % or so on the products cost.
Galvanized Steel: Galvanized means the iron or metal is coated with zinc. It has the strength of stainless steel, but the galvanized coating or baked-on enamel utilized to prevent corrosion eventually chips and cracks, thus leaving the underlying steel to rust. Galvanized metal is still a good option wherever appearance is not so essential, as for products legs or the bracing that strengthens them. It is not recommended for locations of a kitchen that are usually damp or wet.
Aluminum: Aluminum is a soft, white element found in nature that must be converted to a metal of the same name. It is tempered (mixed with other substances) to improve its density, conductivity, strength and corrosion resistance, prior to being used in hundreds of manufacturing applications. Tempered or alloyed aluminum could be nearly as strong as stainless steel but not nearly as heavy.
It could be sanitized, is rust-resistant, reflects heat and light, does not ignite or burn, could be polished to an attractive finish, and doesn’t get brittle under cold conditions-making it a good choice for refrigeration units. Its thermal (heat) conductivity makes it useful for water heaters, condenser coils, and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system parts. One of the environmental advantages of utilizing aluminum to make appliances is that it’s completely recyclable.
Wood: Everybody loves the look of wood, but few individuals realize the challenges it must survive in a busy foodservice setting. Wood countertops or wall paneling should never be used around wait stations, coffee makers, or anywhere there is a lot of traffic or moisture. Never use particleboard in foodservice fabrication, because it loses its shape and consistency when it gets wet.
For countertops, plywood is acceptable if it’s covered with plastic laminate or woodlook veneer, which should be glued on with an exterior-rated glue typically meant for outdoor use. Again, moisture is the issue, and you want your countertops as moisture-resistant as possible. The greatest plywood is graded with a three-letter code; if the last letter is X, that means the glue is exterior-rated.
If money isn’t an object, request marine-grade plywood, which is heavier (and a lot more expensive) than regular. Solid-Surface Resources: In recent years, really appealing countertop options have been formulated from granite, marble, concrete, and man-made materials for example Corian® and Formica®.
For long-term quality, numerous recommend granite because it is not impacted by intense heat, as some other resources are. High-grade granites are quite expensive, but lower grades are obtainable that are durable and won’t break the budget. An interesting Web website that contains directions (and recommends items) for cleaning, sealing, and polishing a variety of these countertop resources is http://www.stonecare.com. Other Construction Details. The gauge of the metal (abbreviated GA) signifies its thickness.
The reduced the number, the thicker the metal. Pots and pans are usually 18- to 20-gauge metal, because they have to be light enough to conduct heat well. Low-impact surfaces such as counter aprons or exhaust hoods are generally 18 or 20 gauge. But heavy-use and load-bearing surfaces, for example worktables and counters in food prep and delivery areas, ought to be 14 gauge.
For surfaces in serving areas, 16 gauge is sufficient. In terms of price, the thicker the metal (or reduced the GA range), the a lot more costly it is. This really is why you use it sparingly, only in the locations wherever it’s truly needed for safety and sturdiness. It’s important to reinforce equipment that holds a great deal of pounds or may be impacted by heavy objects.
An unreinforced countertop can bow noticeably from the weight of products; a storage shelf can even crease or buckle if overloaded. Sturdy leg structure demands horizontal support to prevent wobbling or buckling. Tie rods can accomplish this on mobile racks, cross-rails, or worktables. The least efficient reinforcement method is simply to “hem” (turn under) the edges of the enclosing metal sheet frame, which doubles the edges and makes them somewhat stronger.
This kind of reinforcement may be sufficient for cabinets, but if they’re located in heavy-traffic aisles wherever mobile carts can hit them, a lot more substantial framework is needed. Equipment is most frequently held together by welds. Welding, the joining together of two pieces of metal by heating them, is by far the sturdiest and most permanent method but also probably the most expensive.
A completely welded piece of equipment will outlast a single that has been fastened by other signifies. It’ll also cost more to be shipped, if it needs to come from elsewhere, because it will already be fully assembled. Manufacturers like pop rivets simply because they’re quicker and much less costly, but every pop rivet has a hole in the middle where debris can collect.
They cannot be replaced if they snap off. Screws are also less desirable; they tend to vibrate loose from the metal when equipment is in use. The screw can fall out entirely, or the screw hole can become stripped beyond repair. Choose these less costly choices only for light-duty products.