How to Choose a Fryer like a Boss (I)

Choose a fryer like a boss blog

You chose the restaurant biz because you love food. And you love seeing the power your dishes have over people. Their eyes light up with expectation as your signature grilled salmon is brought to the table and roll back behind closed lids as they play your savory beef bourguignon across their tongues. You've done it again - like a boss.

Just as important to your business and almost as powerful, however, are the fried foods that compliment your menu. Whether french fries, onion blossoms, or mozzarella sticks, these are the extras your patrons demand, and they help drive your bottom line. Like everything else you do, you want to deliver fried fare with excellence. The first step, of course, is to choose a fryer. Over the next few blogs, we will engage three questions that will help you navigate the available options and choose a fryer like a boss.

How Much Do I Need?

The “size” of commercial deep fryers is usually stated in their tank capacity - how much oil they can hold. A 45-50 lb. fryer holds roughly 45-50 lbs. of shortening. Production capacity, by contrast, indicates how quickly the fryer can crank out your fried fare. Production is gauged by how many pounds of french fries the fryer can cook in an hour.

Because of other varying factors like BTU input and efficiency levels, there is not a perfect relationship between oil capacity and production rate. Some manufacturers and dealers say their production is double the fryer size, but that is probably a stretch. When tested independently, most fryers have an hourly production right above 1-1/2 times the weight of shortening. For instance, the Frymaster H55 (50 lb. fryer) is rated by the Food Service Technology Center as maxing at about 69 lbs/hr. The Vulcan 1GR45A (45 lb) does a bit better with a 72 lbs/hr production, but still lands near the mark of 1.5 x shortening capacity.

Visual comparison of fryer tank size with production capacity

If you have very small demand, a small entry-level fryer like the popular Vulcan LG300 may be the perfect fit. Most floor models, however, range in size between 45 lb. fryers like the Vulcan 1VK45A and 75 lb. fryers like the American Range AF-75. While some manufacturers make larger fryers, most customers with bigger dreams opt for doubling up two or three smaller fryers in a "battery". This allows one fryer to sip energy in an idle state during most of the day, but kick in to handle the volume during heavy meal times. Having two wells also allows you limit taste transfer when cooking fish or other strongly flavored foods. If you're thinking about choosing a double or triple battery, often the in-fryer filtration system (which we'll discuss in our third fryer blog) can be shared.

Your demand will determine the size of fryer you need. Here’s an example: if you are planning to serve a 5 oz. serving of french fries to 200 people in one hour at peak, you would need 62.50 lbs. of fries. One 45 lb. fryer would get the job done. As you calculate, be sure to account for your busiest lunch rush or weekend evening so your orders don't bottleneck at the fryer. So, how fried is your menu?

Hourly Fry Servings Hourly Fry Total Size of Fryer(s) Needed
200, 5 oz. servings 63 lbs. of fries (1) 45 lb. fryer
300, 5 oz. servings 94 lbs. of fries (1) 65 lb. fryer
400, 5 oz. servings 125 lbs. of fries (1) 85 lb. or (2) 45 lb. fryers

(Check back for our next installment when we'll compare available fryer grade options, equipping you to choose a fryer like a boss).

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