What is the Correct Commercial Fryer for your Business?
There are a number of commercial fryers on the market today. Knowing which commercial fryer to pick is sometimes difficult to determine. Here is some information to help you chose the right fryer for your business.
What size Commercial Fryer do I need?
Determining the size of the commercial fryer you need is the first step in choosing the right fryer for your business.
Tank size determines the capacity of most commercial fryers. Although, the amount of French Fries held at one time, or fried in one hour, determines some fryer sizes.
Typical fryer tank capacities are measured in pounds of oil they hold. Typically, a 40-pound fryer can hold 40 pounds of fryer oil. As a rule of thumb, a quality commercial fryer can produce a volume of food up to two times the weight of oil per hour. Therefore, a 40-pound fryer can produce 60 to 80 pounds of food an hour.
To determine the correct commercial fryer size for your business, use this formula as a starting point.
Food Volume/ Hour = (1.50 x (Fryer size in pounds) ) x (number of Fryers)
We are using 1 ½ times fryer tank capacity as a multiplier for determining minimum food volume needs.
Let’s test an example: We need to fry 120 pounds of French Fries an hour.
How many 40# fryers do we need? Or, would a single 40# commercial fryer meet our needs?
120/Hour =( 1.50 x (40)) x (number of fryers)
120 = 60 x (number of Fryers)
120/60 = (number of Fryers)
2 = (number of Fryers)
So, we quickly determine we need two fryers for our expected volume.
Is that all that is necessary to determine the correct size commercial fryer? No. It is only a quick start calculation to give you a rough estimate. Here are some other considerations to making a more informed decision.
An often-overlooked topic and one that does not get enough consideration is tank size. If you are frying French Fries, it is not as important because they are small individual items in a bunch. If you are frying larger items, consider verifying the fryer tank is large enough to accommodate your item.
For example, you are a specialty restaurant serving plank sides of fish. Does the tank dimension allow the plank to fit as it should or is the length too short for the item to fit without folding or breaking?
Recovery time is the time it takes a commercial fryer’s oil temperature to return to the optimum cooking temperature after submerging food in the oil. If this takes too long, food will have a greasy flavor and feel wet and saturated. This will affect food and operating costs as the food soaks up more oil per use cycle.
The faster the oil returns to operating temperature, the more efficient the fryer unit is and the faster the cycle time can be. Having a quick recovery time and short cycle time allows processing more food per hour. The trade-off is the cost of operation per cycle time. Utility or gas use may increase to shorten the recovery time and improve the cycle times. These trade-offs need to be considered to find the optimal commercial fryer for your establishment.
Manufacturer Specification Sheets list the Recovery and cycle times of every unit for easy comparison.
Although the quick calculation gets you in the ballpark, there are other factors to take into account. For example, recovery and cycle times, fryer type, sediment type, an electrical source, and other information.
Fryer type is the second most common question we get in determining the correct commercial fryer for your business.
It is a significant decision because it typically affects the cost of operation the most.
Gas or Electric
Gas is traditionally specified for fast cycle times and large volumes of food per hour. With commercial electric fryers specified for lower volume or infrequently used units. However, improvements in the efficiency of all units, and energy star appliance certifications for some commercial electric fryers, mean these traditions need to be reviewed for your specific use and location.
Utility Costs vs. Gas Costs
Utility costs vs. gas costs can make a drastic change in determining your overall operating cost for your area.
When specifying an electric commercial fryer do you need single phase, 120 volts, or 220-volt electrical drop? Alternatively, does the fryer you specified require 3-phase power to operate? Does your electrical supply support the required power requirements? Do you have room in your panel to add the necessary power sources if you do not have the right power?
Similarly, with gas, what volume of gas is needed to operate the fryer you are specifying? Will a ¾” gas supply, provide the necessary capacity to operate the fryer, or do you need a 1” supply for the unit? If you need a 1” supply per machine, how many units can you put on that supply before you cannot provide the correct volume of gas for efficient operation to all the units?
Tabletop or Freestanding
If your food volume is large, you probably need a floor-standing unit or multiple floor-standing units. If you are a smaller specialty operation or offer a niche product, a tabletop unit may fit your needs better because your volume is not as high, or your use is infrequent.
Why are Sediment Zones and Filtering Important?
Filtering the cooking oil on a regular basis keeps it clean and keeps debris out of the cooking chamber and off the customers’ plate. All quality commercial fryers provide a means of separating the debris, cracklings, small food particles, breading, and miscellaneous items out of the cooking chamber. This area is known as the sediment zone.
Manufacturers have different ways of achieving similar results. Sediment areas in all fryers use some form of a lower area or chamber for the sediment to sink into below the heating coils or burners of the fry-chamber. The temperature of the cooking oil in this area is lower than in the fry-chamber because it is usually below the heating elements.
As oil prices increase, so do your operating costs. Straining and filtering your cooking oil to extend its life is another way to improve your efficiency and reduce your operating costs. Commercial fryer manufacturers understand this and provide units with built-in filtering capabilities.
Depending on your volume, you may require all your commercial fryers to incorporate built-in filters or get by with a single unit having the onboard filter.
After determining your needs for the commercial fryer, you need to get it installed. Performing and verifying the installation prep work is correct before the installation keeps downtime to a minimum.
It also allows installation to go smoothly. This becomes a critical factor in choosing a reputable installation company as time equals money when you are down or behind schedule.
The installation company will verify the power drop is in the right location and it is the right power required for the commercial fryer. Alternatively, if using gas, they confirm the gas line is the correct size, and the gas connections are in the right locations.
They will then install the one-way valves correctly along with the proper gas fittings and swivels.
Moreover, a primary factor is that the installation will meet code; which may not seem like a big thing until a delayed opening shuts you down because you do not meet code, and you pay to have someone fix the issues.
Commercial Fryer Maintenance
After determining your needs for a commercial fryer, keeping it operating in peak condition is an ongoing task. Establishing a maintenance contract with a reputable service company is paramount. There are many options to choose from in this category.
Some operators choose the least expensive service option available and regret it later when they find it lacking or incorrect. Or, the service company cannot repair an issue promptly.
A Certified Factory Technician, supported by a well established, factory authorized service and Repair Company, with a proven track record, is better for your business than price alone.
If your business operation is relying on the successful maintenance and operation of your equipment, choose the most reputable company to service your commercial fryer equipment. That allows you to free yourself to operate your business and not stress about your fryer operating at peak performance.
As you can see, there are several considerations to take into account when selecting a commercial fryer for you business or establishment. We have covered the major areas of consideration to get you started.
We recommend speaking with a professional before making a large commercial fryer purchase. We also recommend talking with a professional before selecting a commercial fryer.
There will be things you have not considered or options you are not familiar with that they deal with on a day-to-day basis. Their knowledge could save you an enormous amount of both cost and headache that will seem well worth the price trade off over a seemingly inexpensive purchase of done incorrectly.