Dual Technology Ovens

From fine dining and quick-service restaurants to pizzerias and institutional operations, dual technology ovens can provide added menu flexibility, increase speed of service and deliver consistent results when specified properly.

A versatile piece of cooking equipment, dual technology ovens provide a combination of cooking capabilities to help foodservice operators expand menus, while providing high-quality, consistent results. These versatile units offer either impinged air heating, high-speed vectored air or a combination of impingement microwave and radiant heat.

Most often, dual technology ovens work in conjunction with other cooking equipment in order to increase speed of service. As a result, this equipment is frequently used for rethermalization or reheating.

When researching their purchasing options, foodservice operators and their supply chain partners should consider a number of factors.

When specifying dual technology ovens, it's important to not only know what items the ovens will prepare, but also establish that there will be tight controls over the food being cooked or reheated.

Based on the unit's setting, a dual technology oven will always use a fixed amount of energy when rethermalizing or reheating food. So if an item's temperature or size varies, even minimally, it will throw off the unit's energy balance, which will result in the food either not reaching the proper temperature or being overcooked in the allotted time.

When buying a dual technology oven, available power and power consumption represent critical factors to consider, especially in an older kitchen where the electrical system may need updating. Since dual technology ovens are all electric, these units require either 208 or 240 watts to operate.

The type of microwave feed the unit uses is another consideration if the foodservice staff uses a variety of cookware when rethermalizing or reheating food. For example, with some dual technology ovens using metal pans is perfectly acceptable but that's not the case with others.

Temperature range is another key factor to consider when specifying these units. For example, while some ovens provide cooking temperatures between 200 and 520 degrees F, other models cook between 150 and 475 degrees F.

Oven programming ability and flexibility provides greater product consistency. For extensive or fluctuating menus, dual technology ovens that offer pre-programming for 350 or more items would be more suitable than a model offering settings for 100 menu items.


Three Considerations When Purchasing a Dual Technology Oven
Following are a trio of factors to weigh when deciding which dual technology oven is right for a particular foodservice operation.

Sizing and Spacing
Dual technology ovens are typically small, allowing for countertop use, and generally don't require a hood for ventilation. This allows these units to be used virtually anywhere in a kitchen. When specifying, keep in mind that dual technology ovens typically require between 1 and 2 inches of clearance on the top and sides to facilitate proper air flow.

For operations where space is at a premium, consider choosing a stackable model. Some models require kits to accomplish this.

If ventilation costs and energy efficiency are issues, dual technology ovens can be specified in place of fryers, steamers and other cooking equipment that require hoods and additional floor space.

Keeping Clean
Dual technology ovens require minimal planned maintenance but because these ovens cook rapidly with high velocity air, this equipment generally gets dirtier than conventional ovens. This necessitates a daily cleaning regimen.

Units with hinged radiant elements and air filters that are easily removed can reduce the labor and time involved for routine cleaning and maintenance.

Expanding Use
In the past, dual technology ovens with impingement heat were designed with only one shelf so as not to block the products from the heat source. Newer innovations with these units have produced multi-shelf rapid cooking capabilities in combination impingement/convection ovens. This five-grid oven cooks five times faster than conventional ovens, while also providing uniform heating to all of the shelves.

The newer technology also will enable dual technology ovens to be used for applications that weren't feasible in the past, such as catering, banquets and high-volume bulk feeding in schools and cafeterias.
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