Category Archives: Product Guides

Induction Cooking

Induction Cooking: How Can It Help Your Restaurant?

The basic methods of cooking have remained the same throughout history – apply heat to food. Most cooking methods today are done in an oven or on a cook top, with the classic cook top being either gas or electric. However, a third option for cook top cooking is quickly growing in popularity: induction cooking.

Induction Cooking is the process of heating a cooking vessel (the pot or pan holding the food) through magnetic induction rather than from a flame or an electrical heating element.

Induction Cooking

Induction cooking was first introduced in the early 1900s, but struggled to grow in popularity due to high price tags and foreign technologies. Advances in technology and manufacturing in the last few decades have highlighted the advantages of induction cooking, and price tags have become more reasonable as competition increases.

The main difference between induction cooking and tradition cooking is how the food is heated. Traditional cooking requires heat – a flame or electrical heating element. A pan is set on this heat source, which heats the pan, and then heats the food inside. With induction cooking, the element itself does not warm. Instead, electromagnetic properties in the element interact with induction specific pans, which heats the pan, and then heats the food inside.

Induction: Pan Warms when in Contact with Element –> Cooks food

Traditional: Element warms –> Warms pan –> Cooks food

Induction cook tops are great solutions for many operations, but it is important to understand the good and the bad new equipment, and how they compare to that of traditional cooking options.

Induction Advantages

  • Speed
    • Induction cook tops boil water almost twice as fast as a gas range. How? Induction captures about 90% of the heat generated in the pan compared to 40% and 70% with a gas and electric cook top.
  • Safety
    • With no flame, there’s no grease fires. No combustion. No gas leaks. In a similar fashion, electric stove top elements get extremely hot and can easily burn operators.
    • Induction cook tops only get warm because the pan is hot – just as any surface would that a hot pan is on.
  • Cleanliness
    • Smooth, ceramic-glass plate is easy to wipe down. Element stays relatively cool through the cooking process so food does not “burn” onto the element.
  • Energy Saving
    • Induction cooking requires specific cookware where the magnetic energy heats the pan, then heats the food. Traditional cook tops heat the element, which heats the pans, which heats the food. Less energy usage means lower utility bills.
  • Precision
    • Gas cooking is often sought after because of the ability to easily control the heat to the food. Induction offers even more precise cooking than gas – no m ore burn spots!

Induction Disadvantages

  • Price
    • Because the technology is relatively new, induction cook tops are more expensive than traditional cook tops. However as the demand increases, more competition will increase efficiencies and drive the price down.
  • Cookware
    • Induction cook tops require specific cookware that contains iron that will react with the magnetic field.
  • Sound
    • At high settings, the cook top can make a hum or buzz sound from either the vibration from the magnetic field or a warped bottom of a pan.
  • Scratches
    • The glass top of induction cook tops is fragile just like an electric cook top. Carefully set down heavy cookware and avoid sliding around cookware with a rough bottom.
  • Repairs
    • Because the technology is relatively new, repairs will be more expensive when necessary.

Induction Cooking

The needs of every operator are different and each type of cook top has advantages and disadvantages. Still not sure if induction is the right choice for you? Speak with one of our helpful product consultants at 800.215.9293 and browse all induction products from top vendors with Central!

Commercial Hood Systems - Central Restaurant Products

Restaurant Hood System: Why it Matters and Everything Your Kitchen Needs

The Importance of a Restaurant Hood System

restaurant hood system is an essential piece of equipment for a safe commercial kitchen. These ventilation systems are the first line of defense to preventing fires in the kitchen. Restaurant Hood Systems are designed to remove heat, smoke and grease laden vapors that are generated while cooking to keep your commercial kitchen running safely and efficiently. With proper airflow established, these systems also reduce odors, improve air quality, and lower energy consumption in your commercial kitchen. In addition to all of these crucial benefits, kitchen ventilation systems are required by fire and health inspectors as well as insurance providers.

Components of a Hood System

Vent Hood

Placed over cooking equipment. Designed to remove excess steam, water vapor, heat, grease, smoke, odor and flue gas from the kitchen environment. Available in two types – type I or type II

Hoods require hood filters. Filters are available in stainless steel, galvanized, or aluminum; Welded or riveted in construction.

Baffle Filter

Series of vertical baffles that live within the hood. The filter captures grease and drains it away into a container. Designed for easy removal for cleaning.

Exhaust Fan

Gets the air moving within the system – taking the “poor” air out of the kitchen. Installed on the outside of the building.

  • Belt Drive Fans
    • Driven by belt and motor pulley
    • Friction caused by belt can decrease efficiencies and cause more repairs
  • Direct Drive Fans
    • Blade fan wheel directly attached to axle
    • More efficient system with less moving parts and maintenance

Make-Up Air Unit

Brings in clean air to circulate through the kitchen to “make up” for the grease laden air being suction out by the fan. Installed on the outside of the building.

Variety of Hoods

Hood systems are made in a variety of types, styles, sizes, and shapes to best fit restaurant kitchens around the world. There are two primary types of hoods, as well as 6 styles.

TYPES

Type I          
  • Used for the collection and removal of grease and smoke
  • Always include listed grease filters or baffles for removal of grease
  • Required over restaurant equipment that produces smoke or grease-laden vapors. This includes: fryers, ranges, griddles, broilers, ovens, tilt skillets, etc.
Type II           
  • Considered general hoods for the collection and removal of steam, vapor, head and odors, where grease is NOT present
  • May or may not have grease filters or baffles
  • Typically used over dishwashers, steam tables, and the like
  • Can sometimes be used over ovens, steamers, or kettles if determined that they do not produce smoke or grease laden vapors

STYLES

Wall-Mounted Canopy Mounted flush with a wall and used for all types of cooking equipment located against a wall
Single Island Canopy Ceiling mounted over a single line cooking island and used for all types of cooking equipment
Double Island Canopy Ceiling mounted over a back to back cooking island and used for all types of cooking equipment
Backshelf Hood Used for counter height equipment. Normally located against a wall, but are also used as freestanding units
Eyebrow Hood Used for direct mounting to ovens, as well as some dishwashers
Pass-Over Style Hood Used over counter-height equipment when a plate pass-over configuration is required

When Are Hood Systems Required?

Hood systems are required in commercial kitchens where heating elements are used. Over stoves, fryers, grills, tilt skillets, etc. The size and type of system required depends on the type of equipment being used and the number of cooking units. Note that manufacturers now offer some ventless hood options where the units are self-contained with powerful fans. These units open up opportunities for kitchen design and use of the unit.

The size and style of restaurant hood system needed for a kitchen varies greatly depending on the equipment used and local codes. It is best to work through your specific kitchen layout with an industry expert for assistance purchasing the correct system. Our team of knowledge and friendly product consultants is always ready to help at 800.215.9293

What Hood Filter Does My Kitchen Need?

Two things to consider when selecting the right hood filter for your commercial kitchen are the volume of product being cooked and the visibility of the kitchen to customers. A high volume kitchen requires a heavy-duty filter to withstand the abuse it will be receiving, so a stainless steel or galvanized filter would best. Additionally, if the kitchen is visible to customers, a shiny filter such as stainless steel would be most attractive. Of these two considerations, the durability of the filter should be the primary concern.

Material:

  • Stainless Steel
    • Most durable and easiest to clean
    • Best for high-volume operations
    • Attractive, shiny finish
    • Most expensive material option
  • Galvanized
    • Strong and long lasting
    • High performance at an affordable price
    • Stands up to degreasers and cleaning chemicals
    • Metal may become discolored after using cleaning chemicals
  • Aluminum
    • Light weight and affordable
    • Prone to corrosion and damage
    • Attractive, shiny finish
    • Cannot use harsh degreasers and cleaning chemicals

Construction:

  • Welded
    • Baffles are made from the same single piece of metal as the frame
    • Back and front are welded together
    • Rigid and durable design – won’t easily bend
    • Heavy duty and long lasting
  • Riveted
    • Made of multiple pieces held together by rivets
    • Series of individual baffles inside filter
    • Somewhat flexible allowing rivets to loosen over time
    • Less expensive, but less durable option

When Should Hood Filters Be Replaced?

There is no standard time frame of when hood filters should be replaced. While the filter could last a couple of years in some kitchens, it could last only 6 to 8 months in another. Factors to consider:

  • Type of filter
  • Type of operation
  • Level of maintenance

It is important to inspect hood filters on a regular basis for wear or damage. When a filter is damaged, it cannot effectively do its job and becomes a fire hazard. If a filter is worn, clogged, damaged, or has excessive grease build up, it should be replaced right away.

When purchasing a new hood filter, it is important to know that the actual size of the filter is about half an inch less than the size listed.There is no standard sizing for hood filters. Keep baffles vertical to measure your filter and know that the vertical dimension is followed by the horizontal dimension.

Example:

  • Actual size: 9-5/8″ x 15-3/4″ x 1-3/4″
  • Filter size: 10″x16″

Hood Filter Cleaning

Regular upkeep of your hood filter keeps your kitchen safe. If the filters are ignored, grease can build up and cause a number of problems including poor air quality, excess heat, increased utility costs, and fire hazard. A regular cleaning schedule will prolong the life of your filter and overall system, but keeping a safe and clean kitchen.

  • Dishwasher
    • Run commercial dishwasher on highest temperature
    • Avoid harsh cleaners
    • Inspect that all reside was removed before drying
  • Soak Tank
    • Investment that saves time and labor
    • Fill soak tank with water and add safe cleaner
    • Soak filter overnight and rinse in the morning before reinstalling
  • Hand Wash
    • Use hot, soapy water and non-abrasive sponge
    • Avoid using harsh chemicals
    • Dry immediately after washing

Time to Shop!

Have more questions? Or ready to design your restaurant hood system? Call us at 800.215.9293 for one on one assistance! You can also browse online at our full line of hood systems and components!

How to Avoid “Buttering Out” Your Soft Serve

When you buy a soft serve machine, your next step is most likely to find what flavor mixes to use with your unit. If you’re new to making soft serve, you may just buy whatever flavors sound the tastiest. However, there are a few important bits of information you need to know about your soft serve machine before you buy your mix.

Buttering Out

Soft serve typically has a low milk fat content, usually between 3% and 6%, and the soft serve machine uses augers to introduce air into the mix, giving it that smooth, creamy texture that customers love. It is important to know how much milk fat your soft serve machine is designed to work with. If you use a mix with too much fat, the machine’s centrifugal action will begin creating little pearls of butter in your soft serve, making the product grainy and generally unappealing. This process is known as “buttering out.”

To help avoid buttering out, know the fat content of your mix before you buy it. Sticking to a 4% milkfat content should be a safe number. Check with your machine’s manufacturer, or chat with one of our helpful product consultants, to see what amount of fat the machine can handle. Looking for a soft serve machine? No problem! We have a huge variety of machines to fit your volume.

Top photo credit: vwcampin via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

Get to Know Types of Beer Glasses

With the craft beer craze showing no sign of slowing down, it is a good idea to know the different types of beer glasses.  Beer glassware is more than a way to convey beer to your mouth, some glassware is designed for a specific purpose.  So, if you plan to hop on (no pun intended) the craft beer bandwagon, it is wise to use glassware that enhances your beer experience.  As such, we have compiled the most common types of beer glasses and their distinguishing characteristics.

Types of Beer Glasses – Common Types and Characteristics

  1. Pint Glasses – Are the most common type of beer vessel in the United States and are commonly used in restaurants.  As its name implies, this glass holds a pint (16 oz.) of beer and is a suitable choice for Ales, IPAs, Lagers, and Stouts.
  2. Beer Mugs – Mugs are sturdy, come in many sizes, and the thicker glass acts as an insulator keeping your beer cold longer.  Also, the handle does more than give you something to hold onto, it keeps your hand from warming your beer.
  3. Steins – Steins and mugs have similar shapes and handles, but there are differences.  The biggest distinction is the hinged lid that protects your beer from bugs, dirt and etc.  But, a less common distinction is that steins can and are made out of different materials like silver, stone, and wood.
  4. Tulip Glasses –  Tulip glasses enhance the aroma, flavor, and head of your beer.  Generally used with hoppy or malty beers, these glasses have a small stem with a foot and an outward curving lip atop the bowl.  Much like a snifter, the bowl at the bottom lets you swirl your beer around in a classy manner.

Now that you know a bit more about some common types of beer glasses, it’s time to hit your local pub and show off that knowledge!  Want to enjoy your drinks at home?  Central has you covered with a wide range of glassware to choose from.  Visit our website, live chat, or call        1-800-215-9293 to speak with a product consultant today!  Cheers!

Energy Star Rebates

You work hard to build a successful restaurant, run a school cafeteria, or serve residents at the local nursing home. But the electricity and gas bills are making are making it hard to stay on budget. Energy Star products are engineered to use less energy and to have a smaller footprint on our environment. These products have the same functions as standard products, but do with using less energy. Plus, many Energy Star products qualify for large rebates!

Energy Star has a plethora of information available on their website for helping you know how these products can benefit your operation. Information includes a guide for cafes, restaurants, and institutional kitchens as well as an Equipment Savings Fact Sheet. But how large of a rebate can you receive? Take these few products as an example:

Central #515-174

Commercial Griddles

Lifetime savings: $1,100 (gas) or $1,300 (electric)

Benefits: Improved thermostatic controls and
high production capacity

Rebates: from $20 up to $1,500

In California, The Vulcan VCCG48 (pictured above), receives a rebate of $400

 

Central #440-019

Commercial Fryers

Lifetime savings: $1,200 (electric) or $4,800
(gas)

Benefits: Quicker recovery for continuous production and
improved thermostat accuracy

Rebates: $20-$1,900

In Pennsylvania, the Pitco 40D (pictured above), receives a rebate of $1,400 Per Fry Pot. With a sale price of $885, that puts  $515 in your pocket!

 

Central #894-350

Glass Door Freezers

Lifetime savings: $2,000-$4,300

Benefits: Improved fan blade design and uniform
cabinet temperatures

Rebates: $25-$1,000

In California, the TurboAir TGF-72SD (pictured above), receives a rebate of $1,000.

 

Energy Star products range in their lifetime savings and their rebates. Rebates will also vary greatly by state. Be sure to check the rebates available from your state’s energy website. Have further questions? Speak with one of our helpful product consultants at 800.215.9293 and browse our website to see all of the great Energy Star qualified products we have available!

 

Which Pizza Oven Does My Restaurant Need?

Can we be candid for a moment? Who does not love a good pizza?! Perhaps the most common type of restaurant, pizza shops naturally need a pizza oven that fits their operations. But with so many options, how can you know you are purchasing what will fit your operation and you are getting the best value for your money? Here are some important factors to consider!

Type

The age-old question when purchasing a pizza oven is the difference between a deck and a conveyor oven. Generally speaking, the industry has come to the consensus that deck ovens provide a better bake than conveyor ovens, but of course, there is no science to back up this claim! Major differences between deck ovens and conveyor ovens are volume, space, and amount of interaction with the product. Generally speaking, conveyor ovens are able to produce a great volume of pizzas per hour and take up more space then a deck oven, but they cut down on how much pizzas have to be touched, or moved in the baking process. Consideration of these factors will help determine the type of pizza oven that your restaurant requires!

Capacity355-020

The biggest question to consider when purchasing a pizza oven is how many pizzas you intend to cook per hour.

Low Production

Does your restaurant offer pizza, but you wouldn’t consider yourselves a pizzeria? No need to purchase a specifically pizza oven. Your convection oven will do the trick! With on average 2 to 5 racks per oven, and a cook time of less than 10 minutes depending on temperature, your convection oven should have no problem turning around 20 to 50 pizzas an hour.

Medium Production

Deck ovens are more ideal for medium production facilities such a small pizzerias because ovens hold more pizzas at a time than convection ovens, but generally have a lower output than conveyor ovens. Deck ovens come in a range of sizes with number of decks varying from 1 up to 5. Deck ovens may require that pizzas are moved during the cooking process, so it is important to keep in mind how much you would like to touch the pizzas during the cooking process.

High Production

If your restaurant’s main focus is pizza, and you do so in large quantities, conveyor pizza ovens are you answer! Conveyor pizza ovens allow a large amount of pizzas to be produced without having added labor. A helpful hint? The longer and wider the conveyor, the greater volume of product that can be cooked due to staging products to be cooked. Conveyor pizza ovens can also be stacked to further increase production without taking a larger footprint of your kitchen. Want to bake 30% faster and at a lower temperature for a truly better taste? Check out the Middleby Marshall WOW! ovens, exclusive to Central Restaurant Products! Ask a product consultant for details!

Pizza Oven

 

Style

A new trend within restaurants is having an “open kitchen” where customers are able to see their food being prepared. If your restaurant does this or plans to utilize this concept, consider ovens that either genuinely allow the process to be viewed, such as a conveyor oven, or give the illusion of a brick fire oven with Marsal and Son’s line of deck ovens! These gas deck ovens function just the same, but offer a great decorative facade.

marsal-banner

 

 

Still not sure which direction to go? We are happy to walk you through the decision process! Give us a call at 800-215-9293 to speak with one of our helpful product consultants!

pizza

3 Essential Pizza Tools and Equipment for Your Restaurant

Pizza Tools and Equipment

People love pizza! The key to increasing regulars is consistent results and service. To make the perfect product over and over, you need the right pizza tools and equipment. Take some time to check your current tools and equipment. From here, determine what you can do to help your bottom line.

Pizza Ovens

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Deck and conveyor pizza ovens serve different purposes. Depending on the type of pizza you serve and your operation type, you might not be using the right oven. Deck ovens are great for crispy pizza. They use a conduction method of heat for an even bake. Also, they can accommodate several other menu items and provide the same great even bake. Deck ovens are an essential pizza tool for pizzerias and casual, full-service or larger scale restaurants. If you need something that cooks quick and is easy for any skill level, consider a conveyor oven. They provide a great pizza that you can deliver to your customer in a short amount of time. Plus, they are easy to operate and do not need the attention a deck oven would when it comes to cooking. Learn more about deck and conveyor ovens to find the best one for you!

marsal pizza oven

Image from Marsal ovens

Pans and Screens

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For the best final pizza product, using the right pizza pan or screen is crucial. Trays are great for a variety of crusts. They are great for the entire cooking and serving process to cut down on pizza tools used. For crispier crust, go with a pizza screen. Their perforated design allows the air to move through evenly for that perfect slice. Serving deep dish? There are a variety of deep dish pizza pan constructions to accommodate your budget. Pizza stones are another great option for crispy crust in artisan operations. Why? When preheated they transfer that heat to the product. Learn more about pizza pans and stones to determine if you are using the right serving and cooking pizza tools.

pizza tools pans and screens

Serving and Holding

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After the cooking process is over, you need the right pizza tools to hold and serve your pizza. Make sure you have the right tools to easily cut and serve. There are a variety of pizza tools, such as blades and rocker knives to make the process seamless. For delivery operations, make sure you have the right pizza holding cabinet.  This ensures your pizza stays warm. You need to have a cabinet that distributes heat evenly. You also need to ensure food remains at food safe temperatures. It can also be a challenge to maintain that heat if you need to deliver that pizza to a home. Invest in an insulated pizza bag that will ensure that pizza stays hot for customers. There are even some units with racks to help drivers pull out different orders. This pizza tool also helps prevent boxes from collapsing or smashing other boxes.

serving pizza
Let Central Help!

Looking for the right pizza tools and solutions for your restaurant or pizzeria? Central can help! Give us a call at 800-215-9293 and shop our pizza section. We have a variety of essentials to provide the perfect pizza that will keep customers coming back!

Make Learning Fun with Preschool Furniture from Central

It’s almost time for school to be back in session, and to celebrate, Central has added a brand new line to its furniture category: Preschool Furniture and Equipment. Over the past month, Central has added the entire catalog from four leading manufacturers in preschool and early learning furniture.

Jonti-Craft

Jonti Blog

Since 1979, Jonti-Craft has been one of the leading manufacturers of childrens’ furniture. With over 3,500 products, Jonti-Craft covers a wide array of furniture, from storage units with multiple back options, to cubbies, and more. Many of their products carry a lifetime warranty, which saves you money year after year.

To see the entire Jonti-Craft assortment, click here.

Whitney Brothers

Whitney Blog

For over 111 years, Whitney Brothers has been one of the pioneers of wood furniture for early learning and institutional childcare. They use solid hardwoods and plywood laminates sourced from responsibly managed sustainable forests.

In addition to wood furniture, Whitney Brothers offers a range of creative mirrors made from safe shatter-proof acrylic, designed to add sensory and emotional enhancement to any daycare or preschool.

To see the entire Whitney Brothers line, click here.

ECR4Kids

ECR Blog

Looking for activity tables? ECR4Kids has you covered. Central offers over 2,000 activity tables from ECR4Kids in a plethora of shapes and colors. With warehouses in New Jersey and California, ECR4Kids ensures that no matter where you are in the country, your product will arrive in a reasonable amount of time.

In addition to activity tables, ECR4Kids has a great selection of soft play activities for children. These colorful products allow children to sit, climb and play in a soft, stable environment.

To see the entire ECR4Kids assortment, click here.

Foundations

Foundations Blog

In addition to early childhood furniture, Central has partnered with Foundations, the foremost supplier of hotel and child care cribs in the U.S. Foundations’ cribs are built to be used in high use commercial environments where safety, ease of use, durability and comfort are paramount. They also carry a line of strollers that can fit anywhere from 2 to 6 passengers, perfect for daycares.

Foundations’ brand partner, Italtrike, offers a durable line of tricycles and other riding toys. Made in Italy, these toys promote fun and healthy activities you can offer to your children.

To see Foundations’ full line, click here. To see Italtrike’s line of trikes and riding toys, click here.

Shop Central

To find the perfect furniture for your daycare or school, be sure to visit our website or contact a product consultant at 800-215-9293.