Commercial Range Buying Guide

Most chefs would agree that the range is the heart of the kitchen. Commercial ranges are built to handle a multitude of tasks in a compact, space-saving footprint.

From sauteeing, grilling, stir-frying, boiling, simmering and braising, ranges are built to handle all kinds of cooking tasks thanks to their different cooktop configurations. It’s about maximizing space and performance in one piece of equipment.

Virtually every commercial kitchen serving hot food, from small restaurants to large hospitals and schools, is going to need a range, yet each place will have its own needs.

Here are a few steps and considerations to keep in mind when shopping for one of your own:

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  1. What Type & Size?
    The type of range you get is going to be directly related to the size of your restaurant and how many meals you’ll be preparing per day. The size of the range will depend on how much space you have to work with in your kitchen and how much power and cooktop space will be needed to satisfy the daily requirements at your restaurant.
    • Heavy-Duty Ranges: If you’re operating a kitchen that is putting out more than 250 meals per day, such as a large hospital, school or casino, a heavy-duty range might be the best option for you. These ranges have high energy outputs (upwards of 35,000 BTU per burner) and are designed with the specific intent to do high volume cooking all day long. They are built with durable, heavy-duty stainless steel and are designed to accommodate large pots and pans. These ranges are often seen connected with other heavy-duty ranges to form a long battery of cooktops.
    • Restaurant Ranges: For restaurants large and small, a commercial restaurant range is the industry standard. These stand-alone ranges are designed to keep up in the commercial sector and they have plenty of BTUs for the day-to-day. Restaurant ranges also tend to be less expensive than their heavy-duty counterparts and they come in a wide variety of sizes varying in 12” increments, from 12”, 24”, 36”, 48”, 60” and 72” widths to fit your unique size restrictions.
    • Specialty Ranges: Oftentimes, there are needs for a more specialty range. Stock pot ranges are one example and are most commonly used to heat up large, heavy pots full of liquid, which is why they have a lower height. Induction ranges are another commonly seen specialty range which are growing in popularity in the foodservice market today.

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  2. Menu + Cooktop Configuration
    Deciding on a cooktop configuration is your opportunity to determine how much of your menu will rely on a range with different cooking surfaces. From basic burners to griddles, there are numerous options out there that should be considered based on the kinds of items that appear on your menu, like eggs and hot sandwiches. There are also add-on broiler options that can be found on many commercial ranges, so you can have a cheesemelter or a salamander mounted on your range to nicely finish off your dishes.
    • Open Burner: The most common of the cooktop options, the open gas burner offers the operator a direct open flame that can be used with pots and pans to achieve all kinds of results, from boiling to stir-frying. The BTU of each burner ranges per manufacturer, though most can give off from 20,000 to 35,000 BTUs each.
    • Griddle: The smooth, flat griddle surface is another commonality on commercial ranges and adds a different dimension to your cooktop. If your menu includes breakfast, the griddle option will be key to cooking up eggs, pancakes and more.
    • Combination: Perhaps your menu calls for both burners and griddle space. In that case, you can get the most flexibility all on one cooktop. Commercial range manufacturers like Garland and Southbend have numerous design options to choose from.

  3. Hood Codes
    Knowing how much space you have under your exhaust hood is a key factor in determining range size. Most code requires that your hood extend at least six inches on either side of your range. So if you have a 60” hood, the largest range you could have would be 48 inches wide. It’s extremely important to check with your local health and safety codes to determine the specifications in your area.

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  4. Utilities
    Determining what utilities are available in your venue is crucial to knowing range you will need.
    • Gas vs. Electric : Whether your kitchen has gas or electric utilities, there are range options to suit your set-up. Gas ranges are the most commonly used in commercial kitchens and they’re reliant on a flow of natural gas or liquid propane gas from the utility source to the equipment via a gas connection hose. Having the right sized hose is imperative to ensuring your range is fed with the proper amount of gas. When gas is not available, electric ranges are, and knowing the voltage requirements at your hook up is key. Talk to a Mission Restaurant Supply agent to make sure you have the right unit!

  5. Other Considerations
    • Casters: Casters are a nice alternative to legs on a commercial range for their easy mobility so you can clean behind the range in those grimy, hard-to-reach areas. (These grimy, hard-to-reach areas also happen to be one of a health inspector’s frequently watched areas.)
    • Ovens \ Storage Space: Most ranges today have an oven cavity below the cooktop, and for larger models, there are often more than one to maximize your baking space. Other models have storage spaces in lieu or in conjunction with an oven, offering room to store pots, sheet pans and more.

If you need any help or have any questions about replacing an old range or buying a new one, please call us at 1-800-319-0690. One of our agents would be happy to help you find the right commercial range for your business.

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