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Introduction to Commercial Induction Cooking

Commercial Induction CookingOver the past few years, many professional kitchens have turned to induction cooking. The number of available options increased as the demand went up as well. Despite the ton of choices, commercial kitchens still find it difficult to decide the best type of cooker that is suitable for their needs.

Before you select the induction hob for your business (either in full or part), it is essential to know the basics first. Technology advancements have indeed facilitated the creation of products that make cooking efficient and enjoyable at the same time. An induction hob can offer a more convenient cooking experience than traditional means.

What is Induction Cooking and How Does It Work?

Compared to conventional method of cooking, induction helps make the process faster, safer, and better. The hobs come in a simple shape and structure to promote powerful heating without taking a huge space in the kitchen. As a result, you enjoy both a versatile piece of equipment and great output from it.

Induction looks similar to an electric hob, but it is more advanced. The electric version typically comes with heated coils, which when used, will turn orange to red. On the other hand, induction hobs do not heat up the glass surface and the surrounding unit. Instead, an electromagnetic field is generated. It is best to use with cast iron, stainless steel, and aluminium clad equipment. However, pans made of aluminium and copper are not recommended.

Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic principles back in 1831. Later on, this technology was adopted in cooking to make the process more efficient and simpler. The equipment has a glass plate, which makes the hob easy to clean.

Additionally, cooling is much faster compared to gas or ceramic cook surface. It is due to the cookware getting exposed to heat and not the cooktop itself. Since the surface cools down quickly, users can expect it to heat up fast as well.

The coil underneath the surface is responsible for cooking. Unlike electric and gas stoves, it uses alternating energy, which flows through the coil. A magnetic field is generated, which passes under the induction. Make sure that you only use a cooking vessel that is compatible with the device so that it will work properly.

The bottom of the pan or pot will generate current. Since the cookware is energy-resistant, the electrical energy is conveniently converted into heat energy. Lastly, this heat energy is passed on to the food from the cookware.

Pros and Cons of Induction Cooking for Your Establishment

Induction cooking has numerous advantages, which is why it is becoming a favourite method in many commercial kitchens, benefits include:

  • They heat up fast. With induction cooking, you do not have to wait for a long time. The devices can heat themselves up faster than other gas or electric cooking appliances. It is because they convey energy to the pan or other cookware faster than other cooking methods.
  • Changing temperature applies quickly. Temperature change is immediately reflected unlike with radiant ceramics where it takes some time to take effect.
  • Induction cooking is much safer. Compared to other methods of cooking, you do not have to worry that much with induction cooking when it comes to safety. The element does not get hot. Therefore, you can touch it without burning yourself. An exception is if you have had the hot pan on the device for some time.
  • It saves energy. This feature would depend on the brand and model that you have. However, most of the induction cooking devices these days come with an automatic switch. It is useful for those who often forget to turn off the appliance. With this feature, it will automatically turn itself off if there is nothing on the cooker. Therefore, you waste less energy if ever you or your staff did not switch it off.
  • The device is easy to clean. Induction hobs have flat surfaces, which can make cleaning a breeze. The cooktop also does not get too hot, which means that spillage is less likely to burn the glass surface.
  • It is one of the most efficient cooking methods. With an induction hob, you can heat food quickly and accurately. There are a variety of power and temperature settings, which allow you to control the material.
  • The device is versatile. Induction cooking hobs have become popular among caterers and restaurateurs but they are also great for homes and social events. Additionally, you can use them not just for cooking but to warm food as well.
  • Induction hobs are lightweight, compact, and small. They are also user-friendly so anyone can use them, including those who are beginners in cooking. Plus, they are easy to transport, which makes it convenient to bring with you to a special event.

Induction hobs, certainly offer a substantial benefir, however, there are also a few disadvantages, which you should know about in case you are planning to buy one:

  • Installation can be a challenge. It may depend on the model you want to use but several induction hobs may require extra work when you install them.
  • Temperature settings can be difficult. The learning curve in setting the temperature can be a bit stiff. However, it will mostly depend on the brand you are using since several devices are geared towards being user-friendly.

Perhaps the biggest problem with this method of cooking is that the cookware you have to use should be compatible with the device. Note that there are only specific types of pans and pots that you can use on the cooktop.

To check, hold a magnet at the bottom of the pot or pan. If it clings to the cookware, it is compatible with the induction device. Also, you should check that it does not have any dents. If your cookware has a flat bottom, you will mostly never have a problem using the induction hob.

Some caterers and other businesses choose to purchase a complete induction ranges. This way, they do not have to worry about whether or not their pots and pans work on the device. However, you can still use the ones you have, provided that they are made of magnetic stainless steel and cast iron.

Tips for Choosing the Right Induction Equipment

Several factors affect the price, including the size, dimensions of the cooking surface, safety features, number of burners, and the power capacity. The cost also depends on the power and temperature levels, timer capabilities, and other design features.

If you are searching for a more affordable option, you can opt for one with smaller sizes. However, they are not truly recommended for businesses since they only have basic features and capabilities. In fact, most of them come with the typical qualities that you will find in a free-standing or built-in stove or oven.

Induction Buying Tips

1. The Size

Select the size for the induction hob that you need, there are a few things to think about. If you are simply replacing your existing device, you may want to use the same size. For instance, if you have a 60cm cooktop, it will take up to three zones without making you feel the space is too cramped for your other cooking activities.

If you try to fit four zones on the same cooktop space, it can become a challenge when you try to access the controls. The key is to know your available space first before you purchase.

2. Power Capacity

A 1.8 kW unit often meets the needs of households and even small restaurants. Single and multi-hobs come in a variety of power capacities. You will often see units with 0.45 kW but also some that can produce up to 5 KW. Of course, you can still find higher capacities, which is why you should check a multi-hob device for higher output.

3. Your Purpose

Before you buy, you should already know why you need the induction cooking device for your business.

Great for buffet styled services, iIt can help save on energy bills while still ensuring that food remains at safe temperatures.

If you are looking for versatility, a standard induction range is often the most ideal option. An induction griddle is also a great choice for premesis in clean air zones.

4. Durability

If the model you choose is designed for home use, you can expect it to last up to 10 hours daily for the whole year or 2,500 hours of regular use.

Look for commercial hobs offering 10,000 hours to 30,000 hours, meaning they can last up to eight years if you regularly use them 10 hours daily.

5. Glass Thickness

Domestic grade units often have 4mm thick glass but commercial grade ones have 6mm. If you have a busy kitchen, you should always opt for thicker glass units so they can withstand the tough environment.

Other Considerations

How much food your establishment cooks at a certain time.

1. Single vs. Multi-Hob Unit

If you only have to use a sauté or a frying pan on one unit, a single induction hob without many features is already a good choice. While the extra capabilities may look appealing to you, they will just add more to the cost of the hob.

If your business often requires making large food quantities, which you would put in large containers, a multi-hob unit is your best bet. Opt for a device with a large surface area, which will allow you to expose most parts of the cookware.

If you have limited space, you can choose a step-up unit. This type saves counter space since its hobs are aligned vertically.

2. Drop-in vs. Countertop

The most commonly used cooker is a countertop induction range. It has a simple design and the controls are right in front of the device. This unit typically comes with a low profile with structures that allow easy cleaning for the users.

Countertops are preferred because they are more affordable than other types. Therefore, you will mostly see them in start-up businesses. They are also a popular choice for kitchens that require better cooking efficiency without needing to provide more cooking space or removing other valuable items on the countertop.

Meanwhile, a drop-in unit often has two pieces but you can also find one with three pieces. These units have control panels that are not attached to the cooking area. In this case, they should be installed in a countertop or any flat surfaces. Additionally, you should also mount the control panels on a smooth surface.

This type of unit has a sleek appearance, which makes them an ideal choice if you plan to cook in front of your customers. They look more modern and stylish with extra features as well.

3. Check the Warranty of the Hob

As with any commercial equipment, it is a good practice to know about the warranty period of the induction cooker. It should also cover the parts and the site labour. Make sure the company provides a full support package after sales, including preventative maintenance agreements.