Managing a restaurant kitchen is difficult, considering all the orders your staff needs to get through across the day. Without the right equipment, your staff will feel the difference in their food preparations and cooking routines. Which inevitably, will be followed by the quality of the food that gets produced.
Now imagine a restaurant with the best-suited cooktop (or what you might also know as a range top). Arguably, it’s the most important piece of equipment in any Australian commercial kitchen. With the amount of versatility and control that a suitable cooktop brings to your kitchen staff, you simply cannot properly conduct your business without one.
Having a range top in your restaurant kitchen makes all the work more efficient, allowing your chefs to consistently cook exquisite dishes for your customers. If you are looking to buy one of the latest advanced commercial cooktop ranges for your kitchen but don’t know where to start, then you have come to the right place.
Here we guide you on choosing the right range top for your kitchen without having to overstretch your budget.
Types Of Commercial Kitchen Cooktops
First things first, and that is to know what options are available when it comes to buying commercial cooktops. There are two types of range tops available in the market: the restaurant range and the heavy-duty range.
Don’t be misled by these tags, as both of these types are suitable for restaurant kitchen use. A typical restaurant range cooktop is typically smaller, lightweight and has fewer variations with a single type of cooking surface. On the other hand, a standard heavy-duty range cooktop is larger, heavier and likely to have a combination of different cooktop surfaces, such as charbroiler, burners, griddles, etc.
Each of these range tops packs a lot of volumes, however, which means that you need to have a good amount of space to accommodate them into your commercial kitchen.
Now let’s talk a little about power types and how they will affect your kitchen’s performance.
Electric, Gas & Induction Ranges
The type of energy source matters a lot when you are going to buy a new commercial cooktop as it will influence how food gets cooked, along with the results. Your chef may already have a favourite between these different cooktop types when it comes to cooking your restaurant’s menu.
Electric: Ideal for Value & Easy Set-Up. Generally, electric cooktops have a thermostat that regulates the temperature between 150 °F to 500 °F. Electric cooktops are suitable for cooking at low temperatures and are easy to clean. However, they are also slower at adjusting to changes in temperature through the settings.
Gas: Ideal for High-Temperature Cooking. Gas gives your chefs more control over the flames. It doesn’t take much to light up the burner and start cooking food for your restaurant’s visitors. Which makes it a great set-up that helps ensure faster service. Having said that, commercial gas cooktops require an extensive setup. Moreover, there are many other safety procedures that your kitchen staff need to follow when using these ranges as they will be working with open flames.
Induction: Ideal for Temperature Control, Safety & Energy Efficiency. Induction range cooktops have only very recently come onto the market, which prices them higher than electric or gas. This type of range top is fuelled by electricity but responds immediately to changes in temperature settings with electromagnetic technology. This means your chefs (and waitstaff) will love you for it with the assistance to quickly cook and get out meals. Some professional chefs swear by it, and to make matters even better it’s also a more environmentally-friendly way of cooking than the options above.
Target Top: Ideal for Uniform Flat Countertop Heat. Using similar electromagnetic technology to induction cooktops, target top ranges utilise gas instead. Additionally, instead of operating through different heating zones, the whole surface can be used for versatile pot and pan cooking.
Almost every commercial kitchen will own a gas-powered or electric cooktop. With new technological options on the market, it may be worth considering if an induction or target top cooktop could be a great new tool to invest in. Like any decision about your commercial kitchen, we always recommend taking the time to discuss with your kitchen staff.
Every restaurant kitchen’s demands are different. Consequently, you need to understand the specific configuration needs of your new commercial cooktop before you can start making a purchase.
Your menu will dictate which kind of range top best suits your restaurant kitchen, and if you have been operating for a few years you will know what features you will need already.
Most commercial kitchens will probably use different configurations on their cooktops to address the different needs of their kitchen or invest in a combination on one cooktop.
Charbroiler: Ideal for Grilling. Charbroilers look a lot like a grill or a grate, that’s kept on top of your cooktop burners. This configuration assists your kitchen staff in grilling meat, large vegetables, fish and much more. Chargrilling also helps give an extra added smoky flavour to meat and vegetable dishes and gives food the iconic grilling markings that customers love.
Griddle: Ideal for Breakfast. Many can get confused between a plancha and a griddle cooktop. They both look remarkably the same, but griddles heat up evenly, whereas planchas distribute heat from the middle. With a griddle in your restaurant, you will be able to serve eggs, pancakes, sliced meat, and french toast. Which makes them a staple for cafes and restaurants that sell breakfast food.
Plancha: Ideal for Searing. This configuration comes with a flat countertop space like griddles. But in plancha cooktops, heat scatters from the dead centre and becomes less hot around the edges. Experienced chefs know how to leverage this heat distribution into beautifully seared dishes. Making it one of the best commercial cooktops to cook fish, meat, vegetables, etc. These range tops are commonly used in restaurants that specialise in serving grilled hot plate dishes.
Burners: Ideal for Simmering, Boiling & Stirfrying. Burner configurations provide what most people expect of an above oven range top. They are vital for simmering soups, sauces, stir-frying and work-based dishes.
Combination: Ideal for Versatility. Many commercial kitchens will use a combination of different cooktop configuration types, especially to make the most of a limited kitchen space.
Below Your Cooktop
Some kitchens may look past the importance of range bases. But you shouldn’t make the same mistake as them and instead, check these aspects before buying to ensure your restaurant gets the right option. Below the cooktop is often a great place to keep some extra features in your kitchen handy!
The most widely used range bases are standard oven bases, convection oven bases or space saver bases as it’s a choice that helps utilise the most space in your kitchen to help chefs cook. Having said that, many chefs prefer cooking food in other types of range bases as well, such as storage base, refrigerator base, broiler base, etc.
When it comes down to it, you need to select a base that best implements the needs of your kitchens and helps your staff cook. While you may not install an important function below your cooktop as a base, you can often still find another place to include it in your commercial kitchen design.
That’s why, like with any important decision, we recommend contacting an expert such as Liteco Hospitality to consult with your commercial kitchen design planning.
You can also look online for more comprehensive information about these different cooktop features so that you are most informed before making a decision.
Conversely, search through our product range and click on a product you are interested in to read through the brochure.
We believe this short guide from Liteco Hospitality was more than enough for you to know the basics of the commercial cooktops that are now out there. You can start browsing different range tops for your commercial kitchen today right here – we have a vast range of cooktops available at wholesale rates!