Ovens are one of the most important pieces of equipment in a restaurant kitchen. Depending on the volume of customers and the cuisine you serve, you may have several ovens in your commercial kitchen, including convection ovens.
Convection ovens offer many benefits to restaurants. Let's look at what these ovens are, how they work, and some of our top models.
What is a Convection Oven?
A convection oven is designed to cook foods more evenly and quickly. It works differently from a conventional oven, which uses radiated heat from its heating elements to cook food.
How Does a Convection Oven Work?
A convection oven uses a fan and exhaust system to circulate hot air around the food and eliminate cold air space.
Generally, convection ovens deliver a more consistent and uniform temperature, allowing food to cook more evenly and more quickly. Any food that you would normally cook in a traditional, radiant oven can be cooked in a convection oven.
How To Use Convection Oven
Convection ovens have similar controls to a traditional oven, but they should be used a little differently when cooking food.
When using a convection oven for restaurant kitchens, there are a few important things to know:
- Cooking time is reduced by up to 25%.
- Cooking temperatures should generally be reduced by at least 25 degrees.
- Using cooking pans with low sides will help improve air circulation.
- Some foods, especially baked goods, may cook very quickly and should be watched carefully.
What to Consider When Buying a Commercial Convection Oven
When choosing an oven for your restaurant, there are several important things to consider.
American (Traditional) vs. European (True) Convection Ovens
When comparing convection ovens, you'll likely come across two terms:
- American (Traditional): The traditional convection oven is similar to a radiant oven in that it has heating elements above and below in addition to the fan to keep warm air circulating.
- European (True): The true convection oven adds an extra heating element that sits in front of the fan to heat the air that is being blown. These ovens tend to have even more uniform temperatures and quicker cooking times.
Types of Convection Ovens
There are two main types of convection ovens: countertop and floor. The right one for you will depend on the size of your kitchen and the type of food you serve.
- Countertop: These are, essentially, convection microwave ovens. They're compact, easy to install, and come in a few different sizes. Countertop models are ideal for cooking pizzas, baked goods, snack foods, and sandwiches. In addition, they're ideal for food trucks, quick-serve restaurants, convenience stores, and concession stands.
- Floor: These ovens come in a variety of configurations, and just as the name suggests, they are freestanding. You'll find half and full-size options, as well as single- or double-deck ovens.
Conventional restaurants will likely choose a floor model, but countertops are a great option if you have a quick-serve restaurant or only need a convection oven for occasional use.
Convection ovens can be powered by electricity, liquid propane, or natural gas.
- A pure electric convection oven is the easiest to incorporate into a restaurant kitchen because anyone can use it. However, high-powered models may consume a lot of energy.
- Natural gas ovens require the appropriate connections and are typically the cheapest option. They heat up more quickly than electric ovens, but they still require electricity to run the fan.
- Liquid propane ovens are a viable alternative to natural gas. These ovens heat up quickly and run more efficiently than natural gas, but the fuel tends to be more expensive. In addition, these ovens still need to be powered by electricity.
Weigh the pros and cons of each power option carefully to choose one that will meet your efficiency needs and budget.
Convection ovens come in different sizes:
- Single or Double Deck: Single deck floor models typically have space underneath for storage, equipment, or accessories. Double-deck models are better suited for high-volume operations, as they allow for double-digit racks to be placed inside simultaneously.
- Standard or Bakery Depth: For high-volume operations, models with a "bakery depth" are typically the best option. They have an interior cavity that is 4" deeper than the standard oven. Pans can be loaded more strategically to maximize airflow. Deeper convection ovens do require an additional exhaust system.
- Full or Half: A half-size oven is ideal for a lower-volume operation, whereas a full-size oven is better for most operations. They can hold five or more standard sheet pans.
Restaurant Convection Ovens Reviews
With the above points in mind, let's compare and review some of our top restaurant convection ovens.
The AX-HYBRID+ is a full-size convection oven with digital controllers. This model comes with five full-size sheet pans, 99 cooking programs, and a precise core probe. With this convection oven, you can easily roast, fry, gratin, and reheat food. With a power output of just 5.6 kW, this electric oven is highly efficient.
The Nemco GS1200 is a countertop model that can hold three quarter-size pans. This compact model is ideal for restaurants that bake in small batches. The stainless steel cooking chamber is durable and easy to maintain, and the oven can reach temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Turbo Air RBDO-23
The RBDO-23 is an electric convection oven with 2 trays and a digital display. With this versatile oven, you can grill, roast, and bake with ease. For bread baking, the steam injection and stone plate option help produce a crisp crust. Each shelf in the unit can accommodate up to two 16" x 24" trays.
Garland's MCO-GS-10-S is a full-size convection oven that still has some space below it for storage, accessories, and more. The unit is powered by gas for quicker heat-up times and greater efficiency. The exterior features stainless steel construction, while the inside cavity is made from enameled porcelain.
These are some of our best convection ovens for restaurants, but they are just a few of the many available in our online shop. With their efficiency and enhanced performance, a convection oven is a great addition to any restaurant kitchen.