Making The Switch to Energy Efficient Catering Equipment

The cost of living bites hard, and there appears to be no end in sight. With this in mind, it is more important than ever for businesses to find ways to save money. One area where caterers can save significantly is the company’s catering equipment.

Even though it might not seem significant, spending money on energy-efficient catering equipment can save more money over time. You’ll not only reduce your energy costs, but you’ll also be helping the environment.

Restaurant table

Choose Energy-efficient Catering Equipment for Long-term Savings

Now fuel bills make up the most considerable expense for many catering businesses, so it is essential to make informed buying decisions, investing in equipment that not only works well but is cost-effective in every way.

Cost-effectiveness, in this instance, means investing in energy-efficient catering equipment that will save you money in the long term.

How Can a Chef and Caterer Save Energy?

Like most things in business, it’s not what you choose; it’s why you choose it – meaning energy efficiency is not about making enormous sacrifices or massive changes; it’s simply about being more mindful and thoughtful in your decision-making.

Switching to energy-efficient catering equipment such as the wide range available at FFD is one way to make a big difference without compromising quality or service.

Cook and Hold Ovens

One example of such catering equipment is the cook and hold oven. The manufacturers design these ovens to be more energy efficient than traditional ovens with some other benefits and operational features attached.

Typically, cook and hold ovens require less power to operate than standard commercial ovens and can be plugged into a standard 13A socket – making them a ‘plug and play’ option for most professional caterers. The cook and hold oven also eliminates the need for costly 1ph and 3ph setups.

Other benefits to consider are…

  • Less shrinkage
  • Slow cooking abilities
  • Auto adjust functions

And that’s not all – cook and hold ovens can gently ‘hold’ food at serving temperature after the cooking program is complete without drying it out or overcooking it.

Commercial Combi Ovens

Combination ovens often have more energy-saving features when compared to regular commercial ovens. Combi ovens work by using a forced-air fan system which circulates hot air around the cooking chamber. This means that food cooked in a combination oven cooks evenly and quickly.

Another not to be sneezed at advantage of combi ovens is that chefs and cooks can use them for multiple functions – such as steaming, baking, roasting and grilling – making them a versatile addition to any catering kitchen.

Restaurant oven
photo credit: Gustavo Fring / Pexels

Commercial Fryers

Commercial fryers are notorious energy guzzlers. But there are ways to make fryers more energy efficient.

For example, choose a machine with an automatic basket life. An automatic basket lift can reduce heat loss. When the basket lifts, the heat turns down or off. The mechanical lift basket is just one way to reduce energy consumption.

You can also save energy using an ‘idle mode’ fryer. The idle mode means that when the fryer is not being used, it will automatically enter a low-power standby mode, using less energy.

A commercial fryer with a quality filtration system can also save energy. An efficient filtration system will prolong the life of your oil, meaning you won’t have to change it as often. All these options, plus machines with quick recovery times and that use less oil will save you money and energy.

Commercial Chargrills, Griddles & Salamander Grills

Commercial grills, griddles and chargrills require high energy and, as a result, are considered expensive to run. Pay attention to specific features to address the potential efficiency of the unit.

With regards to commercial griddles consider the plate material. Cast iron is great for holding the heat.

When it comes to chargrills, and also with griddles, take note of the number of heat zones. Having multiple heat zones means that during quiet periods only half the cooking area needs to be heated while during busy services the entire cooking area can be utilised.

Salamander grills offer features including adjustable hoods to reduce heat loss, ‘hold functions’ to maintain temperatures without cooking foods further, electrical timers, rapid heat up and some even offer infra-red heat. These are all great ways to help save energy.

It’s also worth considering how you’re going to use your grill. If you only use it for specific menu items, then buying a smaller model might be more energy-efficient in the long run than choosing a large unit that is surplus to requirements.

Induction Hobs

Induction hobs are becoming increasingly popular in a professional kitchen. Being nearly 50% more energy-efficient than gas hobs and 20% more energy-efficient than ceramic hobs, businesses can immediately save money.

Induction hobs use electromagnets to heat the pan rather than the hob itself. Technology like this means less wasted energy with the heat only kicking in when it’s actually needed. They’re very responsive, so you can get cooking straight away and they switch themselves off when they are not in use – saving time and energy.

Commercial Dishwashers

Dishwashers are an essential part of any catering business, but they can be costly to run. However, there are ways to make them energy efficient.

Consider the insulation of the unit. Units with double skinned insulation will retain much more heat than those without. Also take note of models that offer ‘heat recovery’. This function uses excess or waste steam and heat that would otherwise be expelled to pre-heat the incoming cold water supply. Features such as eco modes are also a great idea to conserve energy.

It’s strongly recommended that every business observes correct set-up and commissioning as individual requirements will differ. Incorrect set-up can have a big impact on the efficiency of the machine.

Another simple yet effective way to make your commercial dishwasher more energy efficient is only to run it when it’s full. You’ll save money on energy bills by running your dishwasher less often.

Chef working in a commercial kitchen space
photo credit: Rene Asmussen / Pexels

Is Energy-efficient Catering Equipment Worth it?

To summarise, yes. It is worth switching to energy-efficient catering equipment for long-term savings. Not only will it save you money, but it will also help to reduce your carbon footprint.