Once the indulgences of the festive season are behind us, people across the globe are setting themselves New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier and get more exercise. But rather paradoxically pizza sales also spike in this post-Christmas period. Pizza giants Domino’s report that New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are their busiest delivery days of the year.
If you’re looking to get ahead of the curve and add pizzas to the menu, this guide should help you choose the right commercial pizza oven for your needs.
The Different Types of Commercial Pizza Ovens
When choosing an oven, it’s essential to consider how much you’re going to produce, the space you have available and how much money you’re willing to spend. Unfortunately authentic wood fired pizza ovens aren't a viable option for everyone. Luckily there are plenty of suitable alternatives to choose from although there are no one-size fits all solutions. Rather, it’s about choosing the oven that best meets the demands of your business.
Deck ovens are the most common form of commercial pizza oven. Most use either a stone, brick or ceramic tile base. Heat comes from a source below the deck, but the base allows for an even distribution of heat, therefore avoiding the normal cold spot in the centre of traditional convection ovens. Instead, both the crust and toppings cook at the same time—which gives Italian pizzas that distinctive crispiness.
Deck ovens can also use electric or gas. Electric versions use a heating element in the top of the oven and fans to re-create the heat distribution found in more traditional deck ovens. Gas versions most often feature burners mounted at the top and rear of the oven and produce a comparable cook.
- Cooks an authentic and traditional Italian pizza.
- Electric or gas.
- Comes in a range of scalable sizes from countertop ovens to free-standing ovens with multiple decks.
- Tend to have a lower production output compared to other ovens. But are often stackable meaning output can be increased to meet demand without taking up additional floor space.
- Takes around 3-6 minutes to cook.
- Requires training to use—it’s a more active cooking process because the pizzas need to be monitored and rotated to prevent burning.
- Priced between £800 to £1,500.
- Low maintenance and hold their resale value.
Best For: Businesses which need low to medium production output. For example, restaurants that serve pizzas as part of an eclectic menu or mobile pizzerias.
Conveyor ovens use a belt to move pizzas through a heated chamber at a consistent speed. The pizzas are cooked using either radiant heat, infrared head or forced air impingement.
Radiant ovens, like conventional ovens, use heating elements above and below the belt to heat the air inside the chamber as well as the interior walls. Infrared ovens also use heating elements, but ceramic ones—which allow for much faster cooking times. However, impinger ovens are the most effective. They use a fan to force high-pressured hot air over the pizzas, which can reduce cook times by up to 25%.
- Much more consistent than conventional and deck ovens. There is no room for error and all products are produced to the same standard.
- Electric or gas.
- Doesn’t lose time on heat recovery, because there’s no door to open it maintains the same temperature throughout cooking.
- Automates the cooking process allowing for high production output. Are also stackable.
- Takes around 3-5 minutes to cook.
- Ease of operation means it can be used without training, reducing costs.
- Priced between £4,000 and £16,000.
- Need a lot of floor space and can also be expensive to maintain—there are a lot more moving parts that can break.
Best For: Large-scale restaurants with a high production output and the floor space to match.
Commercial Convection Oven
Convection ovens tend to be more economical than investing in a more serious piece of kit. It’s a versatile oven and most restaurants will already have one for other purposes.
However, it’s important to consider that despite the fact that all pizzas can be cooked in a convection oven, they tend to cook from the outside in. This can lead to pizzas with burnt crusts and uncooked centres. Therefore, look to purchase a high-end unit that circulates heat evenly throughout the oven.
- There is an element of trial and error involved and the quality of can vary between pizzas.
- Electric or gas.
- Don’t take up too much room and can be used for a range of other purposes.
- Low production output and reduced cooking temperatures due to the circulation of heat. However, most convection ovens now use a high-speed fan to save time on heat recovery.
- Takes around 6-8 minutes to cook—but depends on how many other pizzas are in the oven at the same time.
- Require no additional training to use.
- Priced between £400 and £4000.
- Simple to maintain.
Best For: Restaurants that don’t need to regularly produce large amounts of pizzas.
By investing in the right equipment you can make sure your business capitalises on your pizza menu this year.