Your commercial electric griddle might be the most versatile, frequently-used piece of restaurant equipment in your kitchen. Essentially a large, flat cooking surface, the commercial flat top griddle is used to cook everything from pancakes, to burgers, eggs, fajitas, and much more. Before purchasing a commercial electric grill or commercial gas griddle for your restaurant, consider your menu. Do you serve all-day breakfast? Do you cook large amounts of frozen food? These types of questions will help you determine buying features like the griddle thickness, heating option (gas, electric, induction) or manual versus thermostatic options. At TundraFMP Restaurant Supply, we sell a variety of commercial grills for restaurants from the industry's leading manufacturers such as Star Manufacturing, Toastmaster, Cadco, and more.
The thickness of your countertop griddle is key to long-lasting performance. Thick metal plates heat more evenly and are less likely to warp than their thin-plate counterparts, making it a great option for grilling large meats, frozen items and other foods that need a longer cook time. That said, thin plates will heat more quickly and require less energy. Items that cook quickly (think bacon, pancake and other breakfast items) do well on a thin countertop flat top grill. However, if your business often cooks heavier items, a thicker plate may provide better long term performance.
Gas griddles may save you some in energy bills over time, but they can cost you more upfront. Because the burners are located beneath the griddle plate, gas griddles often reach temperature faster (and recover more quickly) than their electric counterparts. Chefs also tend to prefer gas griddles due to their heating precision.
Electric griddles feature a heating element either below or embedded in the griddle plate. When the element is turned on, it generates heat. Though you may find it takes longer for electric griddles to reach temperature, they are a great alternative for kitchens who do not have access to gas. Plus, electric griddles are often cheaper than gas griddles – and with some models becoming more energy efficient, they could be a more sustainable option.
Induction griddles, while used for decades in Europe, are starting to gain in popularity here in the United States. The most sustainable option with the least amount of energy loss, induction cooking is more efficient than either gas or electric griddle options. That's because induction cooking utilizes magnetic fields to generate the heat – instead of having a hot surface to create the heat, the heat is generated by the pan itself. Plus, with heat going through the pot instead of surrounding it, the chef is not emitting as much heat and energy as with gas and electric options. And precision? Well induction cooking is the most precise and accurate type of cooking method available to you.
Restaurant flat top grills come in manual or thermostatic options. Manual griddles offer you the most flexibility when it comes to adjusting temperature, which could prove useful if you often cook different types of food throughout the day. With ultimate control does come responsibility, and it'll be up to you to constantly adjust the amount of gas/electricity that is feeding the griddle to attain your desired temperature. On the other hand, for those simply looking to flip burgers or cook up fajitas regularly, then a thermostatic griddle enables you to set a desired temperature and forget it; the thermostatic griddle will automatically adjust to hold the desire temperature.
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