CHOOSING A COMMERCIAL MICROWAVE OVEN
A hugely popular cooking and defrosting method, the microwave oven has come a long way from its original introduction in 1947. Microwaves are now seen in homes and businesses across the world, however microwaves in businesses are quite different from their domestic counterparts. Many people assume that a commercial version is just bigger, better and stronger - there’s much more than meets the eye...
View our range of commercial microwave ovens here.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMMERCIAL AND DOMESTIC MICROWAVES?
Visually, a commercial microwave seems very much the same as a domestic version, albeit larger and with steel construction. However, under the cover, commercial microwaves are much more powerful and are designed to be durable enough to cope with the day-to-day bashing that most appliances receive in busy kitchens. Specifically, commercial microwaves are built from components designed for constant, long periods of use, whereas domestic units generally lose power as they get older, taking longer to cook and providing inconsistent results – a massive risk in terms of food hygiene.
There are other, smaller differences in commercial microwave ovens that may be easily missed. For example, most domestic microwaves would feature a rotating glass turntable to ensure food is cooked consistently. In commercial versions, the turntable is removed and fans are used to disperse microwaves intelligently throughout the cabinet. The flat base makes the machine much easier to access and clean, whilst allowing you to use the full cavity and square dishes – not always easy in domestic microwaves.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR COMMERCIAL MICROWAVE
- Light/Heavy Duty: The major consideration when buying a microwave is largely down to how many covers you expect to serve at maximum capacity. For example, a small light duty microwave is perfect for occasional use such as warming desserts or to give the “just baked” warmth to scones and bread products. However, as a main kitchen cooking machine in a mass catering establishment, a light duty microwave could struggle to keep up with the pace. Conversely, a large heavy duty microwave would excel in the busiest kitchens, whilst being far too big for a small village hall, cafe or mobile caterer.
- Power: It’s simple. More power means faster cooking. Faster cooking means more covers and happier customers. This is one of the areas where a powerful commercial microwave can really make a difference. A jacket potato can take around seven minutes to cook from scratch in a standard domestic microwave, whereas a powerful 1800W commercial microwave would have the same results in less than three – a massive difference when customers are queuing.
- Control: The most common method of controlling a microwave is via either a top or side mounted control panel with push-buttons or dials. Dial control is generally very easy to use and the microwave can quickly cook with minimum effort. Push button microwaves normally have a digital display and timings are accurate to the second, ensuring consistent results every time - especially useful for chains or businesses with lots of staff. Additionally, push button microwaves are usually programmable – helping to prevent user error and reduce waste. Programmable microwaves are especially valuable in chain restaurants, as food is cooked consistently at each site.
- Warranty: It’s really easy to overlook the warranty. Given that microwaves are a vital part of the kitchen, you need to know that the machine is going to be reliable and that if anything does go wrong, the machine is covered by a guarantee. Domestic microwaves are not designed for commercial use, so if they fail it’s unlikely that any warranty claim would be honoured – potentially leading to costly repairs or even a new machine. All commercial microwaves at Nisbets are sold with a commercial warranty.
OTHER TYPES OF MICROWAVE
Although the traditional microwave is used to speed up cooking times, there are other types of microwave ovens that can benefit you and your business.
- Accelerated/Rapid Cooking Ovens: A real innovation and a massive time saver, accelerated cooking ovens use a combination of microwave and convection or impingement technology to cook food incredibly quickly and thoroughly – sometimes up to 15 times faster in the top models. These microwaves are popular in quick service restaurants, especially sandwich shops and cafes which sell hot snacks.
- Hybrid Microwave Ovens: Similar to Accelerated Cooking Ovens, hybrid microwaves usually have another function built in, such as a grill or oven to save kitchen space and increase your cooking options. Typically, this is more common in domestic models, however there are some incredibly versatile commercial versions which can be programmed to use the various functions in one routine to obtain the desired results. For example, reheating a lasagne using the microwave function and then browning off the cheese topping with the grill – all at the touch of one button. Perfect for reducing the workload of constantly moving dishes between appliances.
Browse the full selection of commercial microwaves and combi microwaves here at Nisbets.