Should You Choose Gas or Electric Equipment for Your Restaurant?

When it comes to cooking equipment, there’s one issue that most restaurant owners or managers will run into when it comes to options. Do you want to install gas or electric equipment? The most basic response to this is to look at the kitchen the equipment will be placed in, if you are unwilling to change from electric to gas, or vice versa. There are other considerations though, like the cost of natural gas vs electric (gas is cheaper). Here are some things to think about when you’re trying to decide on gas or electric for your ranges; ovens; grills, griddles, and broilers; steam tables; and deep fryers.

1. Ranges

Other than the huge amounts of electricity a large electric range consumers, gas ranges tend to be typical in most kitchens because gas heats up much longer than electric ranges (as well as electric ovens), and in a commercial kitchen, speed is important. If you don’t have the proper ventilation or gas ranges available, your only choice is electric.

2. Ovens

It’s not always easy to decide whether to go with gas or electric on an oven. There are some situations where you don’t have a choice, but there some considerations here, too:

  • Rotisserie ovens, combi ovens, and gyro broilers: both rotisserie and combi ovens need electricity to run, and often have to be on for long periods, which makes gas preferable. Gas rotisserie and combi ovens cost more initially. Gyro rotisseries run the entire time when the business is open, but electric gyro broilers are really common and most gyro makers, especially mobile vendors, prefer electric.
  • Convection ovens: use electricity for the electric ignition and internal fan, but an all-electric convection oven uses a lot of power compared to a gas convection oven. Gas versions are more common and cost less to run.
  • Deck ovens: everything mentioned about the convection oven applies except deck ovens don’t need any electricity to run. Most have push button pilots, and since they typically run during the whole time the business is open, unlike convection ovens, gas is preferred.

3. Grills, Griddles, and Broilers

Grills, griddles, and broilers are some of the most commonly used equipment in a commercial line kitchen.

  • Flat grills and griddles: in businesses like 24-hour diners, griddles are on for extremely long periods of time. In these instances, gas is the preferred option. The heat can be lowered during slow times to minimize gas usage, but can be brought up to temperature fairly quickly. Electric griddles take a lot longer to reheat. There are some electric induction griddles coming out now that heat up extremely fast and use less energy than both standard electric griddles as well as gas griddles.
  • Char broilers: almost all operate on gas, but there are a few smaller electric char broilers available for people who don’t want to buy a larger gas piece.
  • Cheese melters and salamanders: salamanders have to be incredibly hot to do their job, and typically stay on through a shift. These tend to be gas. Cheesemelters run at lower temperatures, have sensors that turn on heating elements, and usually are electric.

4. Steam Tables

Portable electric steam tables are the most common since they can be kept on when dry; gas steam tables need a hot water bath for operation. Electric options tend to be safer as well, because they are surrounded by either stainless or wood, which can be a fire hazard around an open flame.

5. Deep Fryers

Commercial deep fryers come in either option, and certain types run better on electricity while others run better on gas. Countertop versions tend to be electric for easier placement, while standard floor models are usually “tube-fired” gas fryers. Open pot floor model fryers are usually heated with electricity.