French fries, fried shrimp, jalapeno poppers, onion rings…
What do all of these foods have in common? They are fried. And for a restaurant, that means having a top-performing fryer(s). Commercial Fryers are heralded for their ability to cook menu favorites quickly and efficiently, yielding delicious results. For a restaurant kitchen, deciding what kind of fryer is needed is an important decision that is based heavily on capacity. How much food are you going to need? How many people will you be serving? How much of your menu is fried? All of these factors should determine whether you need a series of heavier-duty floor fryers, or for smaller volume, a countertop fryer. Keep in mind also that as you grow, this number could double, triple, or quadruple, and investing in a slightly larger fryer might be a wise investment.
CAPACITY- What kind of fryer do you need? So how should you go about determining what capacity you need? Traditionally, the capacity of a fryer per hour can be calculated by doubling the amount of oil the fryer can hold. So if you have a 50 lbs fryer, it should put out roughly 100 lbs of fried food product per hour. While most commercial fryers operate on natural gas, for example the heavy-duty floor fryers, there are also some fryers, like the countertop units, that have an option between electric and natural gas. Electric fryers have a smaller capacity and could be right for your operation if daily usage is at a minimum.
HEATING DESIGN There are 3 main designs when it comes to the heating element in fryers: Tube Style, Flat Bottom, and Open Pot.
Tube Style fryers have a series of parallel heat strips on the bottom of the fryer which the gas flows through to heat the oil. When particles fall down into the fryer they sink to the “cooling zone,” that is, the area below the heated tubes that stays cool and prevents the food particles from burning, and the carbonization of the oil. Preventing this keeps your oil fresher for a longer period of time and it keeps your food free from any unwanted burnt taste.
The Open Pot Style features a distinct metal base outside the tank that heats the oil when either the natural gas or the electrical element reaches it. It has a convenient sediment zone that lyes conveniently below the heating zone, allowing food particles to escape to a cooler spot that is easy to clean, unlike the tube style fryers, which are more difficult to clean.
The Flat Bottom Style features a heating element that rests underneath the tank, heating the oil when the gas or electric heat hits it. This fryer type does not have a cooling zone for sediments and thus requires frequent oil changes. It’s also advised to not fry foods in this type of fryer configuration that will break apart easily.
MAINTENANCE Like most restaurant equipment, maintaining a fryer is incredibly important. Keeping it clean, changing out the fryer oil, and ensuring that it is being used properly can help prolong the life of your unit, and failure to do so could ruin the equipment, and worse yet, your customer’s dining experience. Read up on some proper maintenance techniques, like this blog on the benefits of filtering your fryer oil. Shop all of our Commercial Fryers, Baskets, Filters & More!