Category Archives: Restaurant Equipment

What to Consider When Purchasing a Restaurant Range


The most common piece of heavy equipment in a commercial kitchen is the range. Ranges offer a lot of flexibility – you can use them for baking, broiling, boiling, roasting, sautéing, grilling and more. When shopping for a range, consider these things:


How big of a range do you need? Let your menu be your guide. Restaurant ranges come as narrow as 24″ or as wide as 72″ or more. Ask yourself simple questions to determine what your needs are:

  • How often will you be using it? Are you buying for a church or other type of location that does not need to use it every day or a busy 24 hour a day operation?
  • Do you already have a standalone convection oven, or will the oven in your range be the oven you use all the time?
  • How will you use the range? Will you mostly use it for sautéing or boiling in big pots?
  • What are you cooking? Are you cooking simple breakfast items or signature dishes?
  • How will you use the oven? Will you mostly be baking or roasting?

Key Tip: Local codes usually require ranges to be under a ventilating hood, with 6 inches to spare on either side. Check with your local code inspector to be sure you will be in compliance.

When determining the size you need, the available hood space is a good place to start. If you have a 14′ hood, consider what other items need to go under it. Convection oven (30″)? Deep fat fryer (2 @ 21″wide)? Charbroiler (30″)? How much room will be left? In this example, after deducting 6″ clearance per side, there will be 54″ of available space (14′x12″= 168″, minus 30″, minus 42″, minus 30″, and minus 6″ clearance per end). With 54″ of space available, the next questions to ask are what will you be cooking and what do you need to get that done? If you will be serving breakfast, a flattop griddle is a convenient timesaver. Hash browns, eggs, bacon, sausages, pancakes can all be done on a griddle. Determine the ideal width you would like to work with on a grill. 24″ is common, but you may need more or less. You can also have a finishing broiler underneath a raised griddle for melting cheeses or browning.

The remaining space available can be filled with burners. Burners are available in 12″ and 18″ widths. The narrow 12″ ones are convenient for sautéing and other frypan cooking; 18″ wide burners are more stable when using large stock pots for broths or sauces.

Space Efficiency

The next thing to consider is how to effectively use the space you have below the range. Oven(s) and/or storage? Convection oven or standard? Space saver or full size? Full size ovens can hold a full size sheet pan left to right and front to back. A space saver will only hold a full bun pan front to back. Decide what your kitchen needs the most- then you have your answer. These are just some of the questions to consider when designing your new range. There are multiple options available within these choices. Griddles can be on the  left or the right, burners can be raised in the back row for easier access, fans on ovens can have on/off switches. You can also mount a salamander broiler or cheese melter over the unit.

Key Tip: Ranges come in a good, better, best offering from most manufacturers. The better class is usually sufficient for most operations, but high volume or demonstration kitchens might need top of the line equipment for performance and appearance. A church or smaller, limited use operation might well be fine with the entry level ‘good’ category.


Make Your Restaurant More Energy Efficient


Your faithful refrigerator is one of the hardest-working appliances in your home. It never gets a rest. If you get up in the middle of the night craving some tasty leftovers from that night’s dinner, the fridge has you covered. The Department of Energy estimates that 14 percent of a given household’s energy-usage can be credited to the home’s refrigerator. That’s why it’s important to do everything you can to maximize your refrigerator’s potential. There’s no way around the fact that it costs money to keep your food nice and fresh, but make sure you don’t spend a penny more than you have to.

Make sure the seals around the door are airtight

The seals around your refrigerator door are supposed to be airtight in order to maximize energy usage. If the seals are in any way loose, the refrigerator will not be able to maintain its set temperature. It will start fighting an uphill battle to keep cool. This battle will leave you with a more expensive energy bill at the end of the month, and also put more wear and tear on your refrigerator.

If you aren’t sure whether you have a leaky seal, check for condensation around the door (there shouldn’t be any). To be doubly sure, grab a flashlight, turn it on, and place it inside your refrigerator. Make sure it’s pointed out toward your kitchen. Shut the refrigerator door and look for any spots of light around the door seal. If any light escapes at all, this means your door seal is not airtight and should be replaced.

Unplug any secondary refrigerators

If you’re like most people, you own more than one refrigerator. Most likely, you keep the second one in the garage. Though you rarely keep more than a six-pack of beer and a few extra bottles of ginger ale in there, that doesn’t stop you from keeping the appliance plugged in at all times. You want your beer and ginger ale to be nice and cold for when their big moment comes. But now that you have a better understanding of how much energy refrigerators actually draw, you know that this is terribly wasteful behavior.

Unless the spare refrigerator is jam-packed with all kinds of perishable food, you should unplug that thing right now. It’s wasteful of electricity to operate a whole refrigerator for the benefit of only a handful of nonessential items. Even though the unit’s only 20 percent full, that doesn’t mean that at the end of the month you’ll only have to pay 20 percent for the electricity bill.

Open the refrigerator door as little as possible

t can get to be a habit, especially in the summer, to keep the refrigerator door open for minutes at a time while you decide what it is you want to eat. Sometimes you open the refrigerator with no real plan whatsoever. It’s just nice to have a rush of cold air run through your hair. But every time you open your refrigerator, letting cool air escape into the room, you’re giving your diligent appliance a lot of extra work to do. It takes much less energy for your refrigerator to maintain a set temperature than to play catch-up every time you leave the door open.

Get into the habit of deciding what items you want before opening the refrigerator door. This way you’ll be far less likely to linger in the hypnotic glow of the fridge interior.

Once you realize just how much energy your refrigerator is drawing from your house, you might even get the urge to lose the appliance altogether and replace it with an old fashioned ice box. There’s no need to go there. It’s easy to make your refrigerator more energy efficient, and that translates to more money in your pocket at the end of each month.

Chili's Rolling Out Pizzas, Flatbreads, Mexican

You may know them more for their Big Mouth Burgers and their “can’t get it out of your head” Baby Back Ribs commercials, but Chili’s has begun tackling three new territories this spring, as a set of pizzas have hit their lunch and dinner combo menu, new Mexican dishes are being tested, and flatbread sandwiches will start in May, Nation’s Restaurant News reports.

The four pizzas that you can order are

  • Southwest Chicken Pizza (“Topped with chile-rubbed grilled chicken, chipotle pesto, cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey and pepper Jack, green & red bell peppers, red onion and house-made pico de gallo. [This dish contains nuts.]“)
  • Taco Pizza (“Topped with seasoned ground beef, salsa, cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey and pepper Jack, red onion and cilantro with a drizzle of cumin-lime sour cream and house-made pico de gallo.”)
  • Pepperoni Pizza (“Topped with mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Parmesan and classic pepperoni.”)
  • Five-Cheese Pizza (“Topped with cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey and pepper Jack, Parmesan, diced tomatoes and green onions.”)

The pizzas are available on their $6 Lunch Break Combo menu and their $20 Dinner For 2 menu, and are focused in a new series of commercials. Chili’s is banking on their low-protein cost to be profit movers for the company.

The flatbread sandwiches will be coming in May, and have tested well with women. In addition to these, Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas and a Tex-Mex Combo Plate are currently being tested. If they are successful, they’d likely join the chain nationwide.

Rolling out new pizza dishes seems to be the highlight of many companies right now, with both Little Caesers and Pizza Hut launching new dishes. Could the big guys taking these pizza chances be a sign that you should start trying your own?