Why it’s important as a business owner to know which Commercial Pizza Oven is best for your business.
Selecting the right restaurant oven is essential to starting your pizzeria. From large, commercial operations to small family-owned businesses. What’s appropriate for one setting may not work for a different kind of establishment. Things like volume, space, fuel source, and pizza type are all things to consider when choosing a pizza oven for any food service space. Let’s explore a few of these factors and discuss the details that go into buying the best commercial pizza oven for your business.
Types of Commercial Pizza Ovens
There are four main types of commercial pizza ovens:
1.Small Counter top Ovens/ Microwave + Convection
2. Commercial Brick Ovens/ Deck Ovens
3.Conveyor Pizza Ovens
4.Wood Burning Ovens/ Dome Ovens
Knowing the trends in the pizza world when choosing your commercial pizza oven. The preferred choice among most American pizza consumers and suppliers change from time to time, depending on the trends, marketing push of a certain group or brand and/or from the media depending on which are believed to offer the best quality pizza.
Opinions are vastly different on what can produce the “best pizza”. It’s like asking someone what’s the best make and model of car? Everyone has their own preference of what a good pizza should look like. Traditionally, deck ovens were the ovens everyone was using. Brands like Blodgett and Bakers Pride stamped their dominance in the pizza market by creating a solid box type deck oven that satisfied most users, producing a good quality pizza with very few parts to go bad. As skilled labor started to become a valuable commodity, conveyor ovens started to gain momentum. The idea of placing a pizza on one end and get a consistent product from the other end appealed to the masses. Some larger chains started switching out, increasing volume and keeping consistency at bay. The problem of finding the right oven for your business isn't hard to solve—you also need to consider how much pizza you want to produce, how much space you have available, what kind of pizza you want to make, and how much money you are willing to spend and the cost of utility. Let's look at how different types of pizza ovens fit into these categories.
Electric vs. Gas & Wood Pizza Ovens
Conveyor, Deck, and Wood Burning ovens are all available in either gas or electric. Some wood ovens use only wood as the source of generating heat or some come with gas back-ups. There are some slight differences between gas commercial pizza ovens and those that run on electric. Working with a high BTU [British Thermal Unit, measuring the burn rate/ consumption] gas ovens tend to be the popular option for the high-volume entities, commonly referred to as the “Recovery Time,” which tends to be minimal.
Electric commercial pizza ovens tend to produce a crispier crust and cook the pizza more evenly mainly because most commercial pizza ovens have elements directly below or above the baking deck, hence offering a more focused heat distribution.
In case of the gas commercial pizza ovens, typically the gas burners are placed in the base or back of the oven and heat is directed through various channels into the baking deck.
It also truly boils down to what utility your establishment has available. If your business doesn’t have existing lines to natural gas, then liquid propane or electric models will be the only option. A gas commercial pizza oven is normally a better option for businesses that depend on mobility, like food trucks and concession carts, unless you plan to tow a house size transformer behind you or have access to high AMP source at the locations you travel to.
Anticipated Production Volume
Low Production. e.g. Gas Stations, Bars, Corner Stores, generally where pizza is not one of the main menu items
Small counter top commercial pizza ovens and fast cooking convection/microwave ovens have a relatively low pizza production output compared with the other oven types. They generally have 1-4 racks and can fit one pizza on each rack. It usually takes a commercial pizza oven in this class about 2-12 minutes to fully cook one pizza. This time will vary depending on the type of the oven, temperature and the number of pizzas in the oven at one time.
What are you cooking? Fresh? Frozen? Semi-frozen? All these factors determine the cook time. These types of commercial pizza ovens are great for bars/restaurants that wouldn't necessarily be considered pizzerias but still want pizza as a menu option. In most cases, the pizzas need to be monitored and moved around unless you have microwave incorporated in the mix. Such well-known brands in this sector include Peerless, Bakers Pride, Turbo Chef and Merry Chef.
Next, we move on to free standing deck commercial pizza ovens which generally have a limited production output than conveyor ovens. Depending on the model, each deck can generally hold around 1-6 pizzas at a time. Cook times are normally longer (about 6 to 20 minutes for fresh dough, depending on thickness and the pan used) and the pizzas need to be monitored and moved around. This means that it is possible to run out of cooking space and/or to lose time recovering any lost heat. One way in which deck commercial pizza ovens overcome the lack of cooking space is by having multiple decks stacked.
Multi-deck commercial pizza ovens [not to be confused with stacked] offer large capacity but best suit applications where the commercial pizza oven is not being used heavily and the products need to remain in the oven for longer periods as they typically only have one burner at the base heating up all decks. e.g. Great for cooking Pan Pizzas, Calzones, Mexican food, etc.
Commercial brick ovens is another term used for deck ovens when the cooking chamber is covered in bricks. These are like deck ovens in some way. They have limited cooking space and slower cook times than conveyor commercial pizza ovens. They do however offer a more intense heat, a better recovery time and a darker, more crisp finish. Faster recovery time always equates to more production.
Picture yourself on a Friday night during the peak of the evening rush. The door of your deck commercial pizza oven is practically left open for long periods of time. Without a sufficiently large enough burner, the recovery time will continue to extend to the point where you will have hungry [angry] customers chasing you around the restaurant.
Marsal MB Series Ovens, Bakers Pride BL Series Ovens and the new American Range ARSDO Series commercial pizza ovens are great examples of fully Brick-Lined ovens.
If producing a high volume of pizza is a priority, then you will want to consider a conveyor oven. Conveyor commercial pizza ovens feature a continuous cooking platform that constantly churns out pizzas as fast as you can make them. Once you place them on the conveyor belt, the oven does the rest of the work by pulling the pizza through a set temperature at a set speed. Some models even feature as many as 3 or 4 stacked conveyor commercial pizza ovens, for an even higher level of production. In total cooking time, it can take 4 to 7 minutes to cook a pizza. Also, because the pizzas are passing under or through a constant barrage of targeted heat, there is no time lost for heat recovery.
Many of the true pizzaiolo [Italian word for the expert pizza maker] believe you can never get a real pizza out of a conveyor commercial pizza oven. But technology is changing fast and a new wave of ovens such at the Italforni Stone conveyor commercial pizza oven, can offer more users the best of both worlds.
95 percent of all conveyor commercial pizza ovens use a system called impingement. Impingement is the process of delivering targeted heat through specially designed panels at high speed. This offers speed and consistency, but many operators feel this method changes the texture and dries up the product in the process.
Wood/Wood Gas and Coal commercial pizza ovens have gained popularity recently. These commercial pizza ovens can typically reach very high temperatures, offering a very quick cook time for Neapolitan type pizzas but only appeal to a certain sector as generally they require skilled labor, need to be constantly monitored to keep a constant temperature and let’s face it, 90 seconds of cook time does not leave much room for mistakes!
Consider what is your space available?
Compared with the other three commercial pizza ovens, smaller convection/microwave type ovens don't take up much space. One of these commercial pizza ovens will fit on any counter top of about 3 to 4 feet. This is perfect for restaurants that are severely limited with space. Some even have a narrow width and an elevated height so that precious floor space is reserved for other pieces of equipment or counters.
Smaller deck or conveyor commercial pizza ovens are ideal for the pizzeria that have little room to spare or the owner would like to allocate more space to other pieces of equipment. Obviously, it depends on the number of decks and their individual measurements, but a mid-size oven such as the Peerless 2348 can fit into a 50” space with capacity for 16 x 16” pies!
Conveyor commercial pizza ovens such as the Lincoln 1300 Series or the Lincoln 1100 Series commercial pizza oven are also ideal for kitchens with limited space that seek automation.
A conveyor oven/large deck, brick-lined or wood commercial pizza ovens all need a lot of room to operate. Space is needed for the conveyor belts at the entrance and exit of the oven. Also, most full-size conveyor commercial pizza ovens are wide enough to fit 2 large 16” pizzas side by side. Normally the full-size conveyor commercial pizza ovens could take up anywhere between 85-100” from one end to the other.
Large deck commercial pizza ovens can take up 80” or in width. Wood commercial pizza ovens come in different shapes and sizes but a large full-size oven such as the MaraForni NP180 can take up to 90” of space in diameter. For most restaurants, the wood type ovens are as much about presentation as they are about function. Therefore, it is a centerpiece attraction, built large enough and in a location where customers can watch and appreciate it in action.
Here is a great reminder to keep in mind when buying your next commercial pizza oven.
General Pizza Oven Statistics
|Pre-Heat Time||Baking TIME||Baking methods|
Simple Operation Parts last longer
Skilled labor needed
|60 min-1hr1 5||6-8 min||Convector heat or thermal heat|
Easy to use
|10 min-30 min||4-10 min||
Or thermal radiation
Easy to use
quality of finish
|30 min-1hr||5-10 min||
Difficult to use
|1hr- 1hr 30||5-10 min||Convector heat|
Cost is a factor
Unfortunately for most people, the deciding factor for choosing which commercial pizza oven to buy is the price.
Operators tend to forget the oven in many cases is the heart of their operation. When you have been fortunate enough to be able to try hundreds of different types of commercial pizza ovens over the years, the difference that the oven makes in the quality and finish of the product is mind boggling.
What styles of pizza do you want to sell?
Depending on the creativity of the chef, there is almost no limit to the types of pizzas that can be made. However, there are a handful of classics that most pizza shops center their menu around. If you're not sure about the differences between them, contact one of our experts. The style of pizza you want to make is an important factor to consider when choosing a commercial pizza oven because certain ovens lend themselves better to specific styles of pizza.