Microwaves: An Overview

Commercial microwave ovens can be one of the most indispensable and frequently used pieces of equipment in the kitchen.

Commercial microwave ovens generally consist of three types. Light duty microwaves provide 1000 watts of cooking power. These are typically used at waitress stations, for office coffee service and in break rooms and vending areas.

Heavy duty microwave ovens start at 1200 watts and go up to as high as 2400 watts, with varying cavity sizes. These units are suitable for chain restaurants and convenience store foodservice. The ovens generally reside by the cook line and culinary staff use them to heat vegetables, rice and other side dishes.

Operators can use the third type of microwave as an alternative to a steamer. These units can handle higher volumes of food prepared in full-size hotel pans. Running off of a 30-amp single phase and either a 208 or 230 volt circuit, these microwaves are generally at least 2100 watts. A number of large supermarket chains utilize these microwave steamers as an affordable alternative to traditional steamers.

Although not technically a microwave, dual technology ovens combine impingement, microwave and radiant heat to cook and brown food.

Oven capacities range from .312 to 1.38 cubic feet, while cabinet sizes range from 13 to 25 inches wide, 13 to 25 inches deep and 13 to 19 inches high. Larger units can accommodate two 4-inch tall full-size steam table pans with covers.

These units typically feature stainless steel exteriors with ceramic interiors and bottoms. Heavy-duty hinges are designed for the wear and tear of commercial use.

Available features and options include clean air filter reminders, icons and braille on control panels, defrost pads, multiple quantity pads, lift handles, interior lights, stage cooking, programmable menus, power levels and touch controls.

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