Grills and griddles come in a variety of sizes and types that are geared for a wide range of menu items. Operators need to carefully weigh their options when specifying these units.
Type of Unit
Determine what type of grill suits the menu and operation. Cast iron grills are pricier, but offer better heat retention than stainless steel. Stainless steel radiants are easier to clean and offer better heat recovery. Lava rocks and briquettes are less expensive options, but are consumables and need to be replaced on a regular basis. If natural wood is a consideration, keep in mind that an appropriate storage space is needed.
Griddles are available in manual and thermostatic models. Although less expensive, manual griddles are best suited for operations that have static, specific needs. Thermostatic griddles operate at a set temperature. Electric griddles, are less common than gas, used in smaller volume operations and have the heating element mounted to the bottom. The thicker the griddle plate, the better it will maintain heat.
Space and Storage Needs
Determine the storage needs when specifying grills and griddles. If lack of space is a concern, consider a tabletop unit. For higher volume operations, a base with refrigerated storage may be necessary.
For additional heating capabilities, griddles with warming drawers underneath can hold food or melt cheese. Ovens or refrigerated drawers also can be built beneath griddles for added flexibility and efficiency.
Gas and Ventilation Requirements
Ventilation requirements are an important consideration with grills and griddles. Specifying the appropriate hoods with these units is critical. In addition, proper gas pressure is another factor. In many instances, too little or too much pressure not only can damage the unit, but can also cause equipment failure.