Even a budget commercial pizza oven can help transform your restaurant kitchen into a thriving pizzeria.
Commercial pizza ovens come in many shapes and sizes. You may have seen them in restaurants before and never even realised. You know, the stone bake oven at the local Italian restaurant, or the oven with the pizza conveyor belt in the local take away? These types of oven are perfect for anyone looking to expand their food business into the Pizza market, or can take your pizzeria business to the next level as the perfect replacement for your old unit.
Looking for a professional pizza oven can be time consuming and involves a lot of work. Somewhat inconvenient, especially if you are a busy restaurant or takeaway owner. The stress being that you want something which is both cost-effective and reliable, efficiency also plays a huge role when you are looking to purchase your pizzeria oven. Given that a huge amount of people love to order pizza when in a restaurant or takeaway, the pizza oven is now one of the most popular pieces of equipment to have in the kitchen.
It can be either the success or downfall of your restaurant as if you cannot deliver a perfect pizza quickly and with consistency, then you’ll be setting your business up to fail.
Things to Consider in a Commercial Pizza Oven
Firstly, ask yourself how much pizza you need to produce.
When you are looking at a pizzeria pizza oven from a business point of view, you will be looking for the most efficient and cost effective one out there on the market. Of course, with higher capacity and output comes a higher price tag, and often higher operating costs.
Below are some tips based on your production amount.
Low Production Rate
Commercial convection ovens have a small output when compared with other types of ovens available, most generally have around 2-5 racks which can hold one to two 16” pizzas each. The time to cook pizzas can vary based on the amount of pizzas that are currently in the oven and the overall temperature of the oven itself, with the temperature being lost each time that the door is opened to either add or remove pizzas. These types of oven would suit small chain restaurants and takeaways which don’t have a huge number of orders for pizzas. For example, maybe you offer pizza on your menu but it is not your speciality dish.
Medium Production Rate
Deck ovens increase the overall production time of pizzas but are priced slightly lower than conveyor pizza ovens. Each deck typically has the capacity for 4 – 6 pizzas and an average cook time around 6 – 8 minutes. The pizzas being cooked in this type of oven will need to be constantly monitored and moved around to prevent them from burning, it can also cause all the cooking space to be taken up slowing down the overall production rate due to heat loss. The way a deck oven overcomes these challenges is by having multiple decks which are stackable, this helps to increase the cooking space and lessen the heat loss.
Brick / Stone Ovens
Brick or Stone ovens are very similar to Deck ovens in two ways, in that they have limited cooking space and a slower production time. Brick ovens only have a single cooking platform – this space is usually larger than that of a deck oven but only contains a single deck to cook on. With the capacity of a brick oven generally being around 10 – 12 pizzas and if the temperature is at the correct setting then it is possible to cook a pizza in less than 5 minutes, it is important to ensure that the fire is maintained well as this will reduce the heat loss.
High Production Rate
If you own a busy takeaway or restaurant and the amount of pizzas produced per hour is important to you, then you will probably be looking at getting a conveyor belt oven. These ovens have a fast and efficient production rate, meaning that they would be a perfect fit in a fast paced environment. Once you place your pizza on the conveyor belt to be cooked, the oven does all the work, with the belt pulling through the pizzas at a consistent rate and the temperature being even throughout the cooking process. Some of the higher end professional ovens available for purchase have 3 – 4 stack conveyors, increasing the amount of pizzas which can be made up to four times.
The total cooking time is typically around 4 minutes and with the pizzas being passed through at a consistent speed and through heating elements which are constantly emitting, there is no heat loss meaning there is a consistent cooking time.
How Much Space Do You Have Available?
If you are a small shop owner or are looking to add a pizza oven to your current equipment list, then the convection ovens do not take up a lot of space. Convection ovens usually range from 15 to 60 cubic feet, which is ideal if you are looking to place it in a tight space.
If you have a reasonable amount of space and would like to increase your pizza sales, then a deck or brick oven may be the right one for you. Deck and stone ovens would be a great fit for someone looking to offer pizza as a specialty or as their main dish, as you will have to sacrifice a little more space in your kitchen for the unit itself. The amount of space taken will be dictated by the number of decks or the cooking area of your stone baking oven, but typically these are large pieces of equipment so should be used regularly to get the most out of them.
A conveyor oven will require a huge amount of space in order to operate efficiently, as space is needed at both the start and the finish of the conveyor. With most conveyor ovens capable of having two large pizzas side by side, you’ll need a wide open kitchen – presumably a dedicated pizza kitchen or restaurant. This type of oven is the perfect investment for dedicated pizzeria owners who want the best results from their oven, with a large cooking output.
Consider the Price Tag
With convection ovens being at the low end, it is possible to make a small investment into them and see a reasonable return, but you’ll be slowed down by the limited capacity and output. The overall upkeep and maintenance costs are relatively low, especially if time is spent to ensure that all the parts and cooking surfaces are kept clean. A commercial convection oven would be ideal if you have a budget which is on the lower end, however these aren’t typically dedicated pizza ovens.
For those with a slightly higher budget, the deck and conveyor pizza ovens are clearly the most suitable choice. The complexity of the conveyor units along with the high number of moving parts means that servicing costs can be quite high, however if they are properly maintained then you’ll be able to run a successful pizzeria for years to come.
People with a larger budget may look at purchasing a customised stone oven for their restaurant, as these require a professional construction and lots of hard wearing material. Visually these are probably the most appealing, and are the type of oven commonly found in a traditional Italian restaurant which serves stone-baked breads and pizzas.