Sizing the range to the anticipated production needs and volume is important to meet the operator’s needs. Consider all the ways the culinary team will utilize the range.
One way to approach this is to list specific menu items for the burners and, if necessary, the oven, hot plate, griddle, charboiler and/or salamander. This will help determine the proper configuration. A heavy-duty model may not be necessary, and an operator may be able to work with 4 or 6 burners rather than 10.
In addition, operators can choose between a few surface configurations, from open flames to griddles, although six burners with an oven underneath represents one of the most common configurations. Because the grate design controls the direction of the heat, determine what type will work most efficiently with the menu. Operators can choose to add hot tops, French tops, planchas and 1-inch griddle plates to suit specific cooking applications.
In researching the specific application, operators can make the decision whether to include an oven base or refrigeration underneath the range. Will the range serve as a saute station or have a broader use? If using an oven in conjunction with the range, decide if a convection or standard oven is the better choice.
Determine whether the range should be gas-fired or electric, and how much power the unit requires. Btu ratings are essential so the kitchen tasks can be accomplished in an efficient manner, without wasting labor and utilities.
Open burners for sauteing use a 20,000 Btu burner, while a 30,000 Btu burner would be used for stock pots. Keep in mind the intensity of the burners impacts the types of menu items culinary staff can prepare on the unit.
Construction impacts the lifespan of a range, but operators should weigh that against the financial investment.
If the range resides in the customers’ view, many features like belly bars, copper and brass adornments and powder coating are options that may add to the unit’s aesthetics.
Operators also should consider cleanability and whether the range can be easily taken apart, as this is a daily protocol for the equipment. Some models feature removable burners, while other burners are designed to prohibit clogs. Ranges with a removable crumb tray and one-piece removable grates also facilitate easier cleaning. For longevity, stainless steel burner boxes and sides can be a plus.