For the new restaurant owner, deciding on a pizza oven can be a challenge. And if your available space is limited, you have even more considerations to make. There are four different types of commercial ovens that are used to cook pizzas, but when space and budgets are limited, convection ovens and deck ovens tend to be the suitable choice, particularly since they can be super-sized down to countertop models. Here are the key differences between the two so you know which one to invest in for your business.
Convection ovens are considered incredibly efficient because of their unique way of cooking. Fans circulate hot air around the food, which means you'll get more uniform temperatures, fewer burned crusts, and minimal "hot and cold" spots on the pizza. They can also cut down on your cooking time by 25%.
- Size: 15-60 Cubic Feet
- They come in a range of sizes, but by far tend to be the smallest of the commercial pizza ovens. So if you have a small kitchen—or a large kitchen but need the space for other appliances—this is a great choice. Food trucks, convenience stores, shopping mall pizzerias, schools, and restaurants with no floor space can benefit from these smaller ovens.
- Output: 2-10 Pizzas
- Convection ovens generally come with 2-5 racks on the inside, with each rack holding 1-2 sixteen-inch pizzas. So if you don't plan on churning them out like the more high-volume restaurants, a convection oven is the way to go. Also, those that aren't necessarily an Italian restaurant but still want the option of having pizza on the menu can count on this type of oven to deliver.
- Cost: $1,000-$10,000 You can certainly find a broad range when it comes to pricing, but convection ovens are about the cheapest on the market, making them the preferred choice for the new startup business or restaurant.
- Type of Pizza: Thin to Medium Crust. Probably the only disadvantage to the convection oven is that they're not really geared towards making a thick-crust pizza. If your restaurant will primarily be serving New York or Neapolitan style pizzas, this is the option for you.
- Maintenance: Medium. Food and debris should be removed regularly, but owners should be diligent about keeping the fan and accompanying parts clean as well. Once a week, clean the intake fan, paying attention to where the fan attaches and clearing away any particles that could obstruct movement and air flow. Once a year, you'll need to oil the fan as well.
The primary difference between the deck and convection oven is how they cook. Deck ovens use a direct heat source but they can cook via gas or electricity, making them quite versatile. If you purchase a gas deck oven, keep in mind that only one temperature can be used for the varying levels. If you plan to use it exclusively for pizza, this shouldn't be a problem.
- Size: Up to 160 Cubic Feet
- Deck ovens take up a little more space than a convection, but fortunately they can be purchased individually and stacked on top of one another, using vertical space as you upgrade down the road.
- Output: 4-36 Pizza Pies
- Like convection ovens, they have multiple levels or "decks," ranging from 1-6 in total. Each level can hold and cook around 4-6 pizzas at a time, with the average cooking six pizzas at once.
- Cost: $5,500 - $22,000. Again, you've got a pretty broad range to choose from, and obviously you don't have to invest a lot of money to get a deck oven that will do the job.
- Type of Pizza: Thin to Thick Crust. If you need a wide variety in the types of pizzas your business cranks out, from a thin and crispy crust all the way to a thicker Chicago or Sicilian style, go with a deck oven. And here's a perk: if you plan on offering other menu items like artisan breads, subs, or even a nice, juicy steak, deck ovens can take care of that with no trouble.
- Maintenance: Easy. Deck ovens are easy to clean, requiring not much more than a simple wipe down and daily scraping of food and ash. They additionally cost less to repair, primarily because they don't have any moving parts that are apt to break. They're also expected to last through several decades of regular use, making them an excellent long-term investment.
Learn more about these options and how they'll best serve your business by contacting companies like Louis Wohl & Sons Inc.