In most foodservice facilities, a range remains one of the more basic and versatile pieces of equipment that an operator can use. In fact, in smaller facilities, a range may be the only piece of equipment on a cook line, depending on space restrictions or budget limitations.
Here, consultant Jennifer Rohn at Foodlines in Lincoln, Neb., provides insight into what operators should consider when purchasing a restaurant series range.
In order to correctly size and customize the range for a client, we present alternate range-top configurations for their consideration. Those may include an integral griddle or charbroiler, but the standard options from most manufacturers also include hot tops, French tops and planchas for heavy-duty models.
Options for the range base are a storage or cabinet base, convection or conventional oven, and, from some manufacturers, a refrigerated base. Our clients most typically ask for a storage base or conventional oven. We have heard from many clients over the years that convection bases are either just not big enough to bother with or that they are not powerful enough and are unreliable.
In determining whether to specify a restaurant range or heavy-duty model, we look at the hours of use, the menu and the availability of service/maintenance.
Any facility that is not using its range all day, every day, will be well-served by a restaurant range. This includes most smaller restaurants typically seating less than 125 people, church kitchens and many schools.
One benefit of a restaurant range for a smaller client is that it will typically be less expensive. The trade off is that it may not last as long and may have fewer Btus per burner.
We will always specify a heavy-duty range for a hospital, university, large restaurant or correctional facility, or any other facility serving three meals a day to a large population.
A heavy-duty range traditionally is manufactured from a heavier gauge of steel and may last longer than a restaurant range, although it generally will cost more up front.