Selecting the Commercial Range that's Right for Your Operation
A range is a key piece of equipment in many commercial kitchens. Whether you are outfitting a new location or renovating an existing location, it is critical to first think about your menu and your cooking processes. This will help you think through what options you need so that you be able configure the range that best fits the needs of your operation.
After you’ve considered your menu, take some time to think about:
- What volume of cooking does my operation complete daily? How many meals per day will I be cooking? What are my hours of operation? Manufacturers generally offer two types of ranges: restaurant and heavy duty. Restaurant ranges are typically suited for lower volume operations while heavy duty ranges are ideal for high volume operations and are designed with productivity in mind.
- How much space do I have available for a range? Ranges are typically offered in widths ranging from 12” to 72”. Remember that you can't stick a range into just any open spot in your kitchen, it has to go under a hood, so you need to make sure you have enough hood space and capacity to accommodate the range you are considering.
- How many burners does my operation need? What types of pots/pans do I use? Which cooking method is employed most often on the range top (searing and sautéing? Boiling, simmering and braising?) How you answer these questions will help you determine how you need to configure your top. For instance, whether or not you need an open burner or a solid top.
- What do I need in a base? Your needs here will guide the configuration of the base. Whether or not you need a standard or convection base will be determined by it intended use. i.e. Are you baking and roasting or solely finishing? If you don't need an oven then you can configure your range to have a cabinet for added storage. You can even configure your range to have a refrigerated base to go right from cold storage to prep.
- What is my preference for sheet pan orientation? If you have to have a preference as to how your sheet pans fit into the oven cavity then you need to consider these preferences when configuring the depth of your base. Some manufacturers offer ovens that will accommodate both orientations.
- What type of fuel source do I use in my kitchen and what is my elevation? It would be a real bummer to order a gas range when all you have is electric hookup! Make sure you know what type of fuel you need, whether that be natural gas (ng), liquid propane (lp), or electric. Note that if you you need natural gas or liquid propane then you also need to account for elevation. If you are over 2000 feet above sea level then a conversion kit will be needed in order for your gas powered range to correctly operate. Most manufacturers will make the necessary modifications for free in the factory before shipping out your unit, if you specify on the order that you are above 2000 feet.
- Will my operation require further versatility in a range? While you need to think about your menu as it stands today, a smart configuration allows for menu transition and growth in the future. French plates, griddles, planchas, charbroilers, work-tops and salamander broilers offer great flexibility so that you can provide a varied menu to your guest quickly and consistently.
A range is a central piece in any commercial kitchen. Today's ranges allow for great flexibility. If you are aware of all the options and give some thought to your future needs then you can choose a configuration that will serve you well for years to come. Happy hunting!
About Vulcan Equipment
Vulcan, a division of ITW Food Equipment Group LLC, is a leading manufacturer of cooking equipment in the U.S. with a broad line of products including ranges, convection and combi ovens, fryers, griddles, charbroilers, steamers, braising pans, kettles and heated holding cabinets. Vulcan sells both to the foodservice and food retail end-user segments, including chain and independent restaurants, hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, K-12 schools, colleges/universities, hotels, casinos, recreation, corrections, and grocery stores. Build the product that best fits the need of your operation by using Vulcan’s Range Configurator.