The Guide to Buying Ventless Commercial Cooking Equipment
There are many reasons we’re seeing more and more foodservice operators turn to ventless commercial cooking equipment. But the main reason is the versatility that ventless cooking provides. Regardless of the type of operation or the menu offered, ventless equipment can be used in just about any type of location, turning otherwise unusable real estate into centers of production and profitability.
Ventless cooking equipment can also save time by eliminating lengthy HVAC buildouts that can often push back openings by weeks if not months. Between the required permitting and the actual construction time, these setbacks can be extremely costly. There’s also the ability to keep up during high-demand service periods and the ROI from using ventless equipment. Making use of otherwise unprofitable spaces improves service and provides a return on investment that helps increase revenue.
Types of Ventless Commercial Cooking Equipment
When purchasing ventless equipment, your investment stays with you. Unlike an investment in an overhead hood or HVAC, ventless equipment can be moved from location to location. In the past few years, innovation in the ventless space has accelerated, resulting in ventless options for the entire kitchen. From fryers, broilers, pizza ovens, and more, the options are almost limitless with ventless hoods.
The latest innovation in ventless technology is the ventless broiler. Consider the fact that the broiler goes up above 700 degrees Fahrenheit and Burger King needs to know it could still make a burger with a flame. More than perhaps any other restaurant, they’ve attached their brand to the notion of “flame-broiled” and have built million-dollar marketing campaigns around it. While the great, smoky aromas outside a Burger King might attract customers, those emissions are prohibited in many locations without a hood. Burger King has turned to ventless broilers to open new storefronts where before just wasn’t possible. Ventless broilers can help operators continue to deliver on the promise of flame-broiled flavor, even if the location is hood-prohibited.
Ventless hoods can create the opportunity to use almost any type of commercial foodservice equipment without traditional Type-1 ventilation, but there are a few things to remember when deciding on a ventless hood.
Only electric foodservice equipment can be used under a ventless hood. (Consult our guide on electric foodservice equipment to learn more about Middleby’s full range of electric solutions.) It’s also important to review product documentation, as some hoods can only accommodate specific types of electric equipment. Middleby brands are always at the forefront of the latest ventless technology. For example, innovation has led to recent advancements in ventless hoods, with the aforementioned, first-ever ventless broiler system.
Fried foods are some of the most popular and profitable on the menu. When you include a countertop ventless fryer as part of your cooking lineup, it’s easier to deliver on both. This compact solution is great for kiosks, food trucks, and places where space is limited. The right ventless fryer can help operators maximize counter space, automate the cooking process with preset cook times, and not have negative impacts on the surrounding air. Units from Perfect Fry, for example, are odorless and contain an integral fire suppression system.
Ventless Rapid Cook Ovens
Ventless rapid cook ovens provide an operator with the ability to be efficient and versatile. Many rapid cook units are countertop-ready, making them ideal for implementing menu expansion. That coupled with reduced cook times are what makes these ovens shine. For example, consider the following food items and their cook times in a TurboChef i5 oven:
- Roasted vegetables – 4 minutes
- (6) stuffed chicken breasts – 6 minutes, 30 seconds
- Roasted pork loin – 7 minutes, 30 seconds
- (12) baked potatoes – 14 minutes
Many different operation types utilize griddle cooking as part of their culinary execution. Whether it’s a Japanese steakhouse or the corridors of a college football stadium, ventless griddles can help operators make the most out of any given space with any given menu. Since ventless griddles are easy to relocate, they open up new areas of opportunity for operators.
Ventless Conveyor Ovens
Pizza is arguably the most popular and profitable of all take-out foods, but that’s not all that can be cooked in a conveyor oven. When an operator can leverage the power of a ventless conveyor oven for multiple menu items, that profitability can come from just about any space within the operation. The largest ventless impingement oven in the industry bakes up to 30 percent faster than traditional conveyors and is stackable up to two high. Customizable conveyor ovens with a split or single belt make it easier to prepare other menu items simultaneously, including chicken wings or spinach artichoke dip.
Ventless Modular Ovens
How can we do more with less? Less labor? Less space? Less time? These are important questions in today’s commercial foodservice operations. Ventless modular ovens are one of the ways the industry has responded. By allowing operators to add several different cooking methods within the same oven, these innovative units can provide high-speed convection, high-intensity dual fan impingement, rapid cook oven with shuffle, or any combination of the three on a single user interface with one plug.
Ventless Combi Ovens
Combi ovens are responsible for creating juicier, higher-quality dishes. Not only are they extremely versatile, but they can also save space and lower costs in your kitchen by eliminating the need for a traditional steamer and convection oven. Ventless combi ovens operate without Type I or II hoods, and some do not require consumables.
Ventless Convection Oven
Delivering versatility without the expense of HVAC equipment, ventless convection ovens work well in a wide range of operations. From healthcare to college campuses to restaurants, convection is a critical component of foodservice kitchens, and now it doesn’t require a hood. Whether you need a half-size or double stack, there are many ventless convection oven options.
Know Your Local Codes
Before purchasing ventless commercial cooking equipment, make sure to understand all state and local regulations. There has been great adoption across the United States of ventless equipment, but these codes still vary based on your city and state. They will determine the type of ventless foodservice equipment you can install in your commercial or institutional kitchen. Compliance is crucial.
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