A deep fryer is a major essential when it comes to kitchen supplies and equipment. It enables you to prepare and serve a wide range of menu items – from the ever popular French fries, onion rings or fried chicken. If you are in the market for a fryer, you should carefully consider the following factors when making your choice:
- Menu items. What fried items are on your menu? Your choice of fryer will depend on the type of food you need to prepare. If you have food that is heavily battered such as fried chicken, a tube fryer would be ideal, since it has a spacious area for it to collect the sediment. For healthy menu items, there are air fryers that do not use oil. You can cook delicate items such as tempura, taco shells and donuts in a flat bottom fryer – as these allow for more items to float on the surface.
- Required capacity. At your restaurant’s full capacity, how much frying space do you need? When determining capacity, this is usually computed based on the capacity of oil, as well as the number of pound of food it can cook in an hour. Remember that a deep fryer should not be overcrowded, as this can compromise the quality and safety of the food. You need the right capacity and recovery time. When food (especially frozen food) is submerged into the oil, this affects the temperature of the oil. Consequently, the food will take slower to cook and will be greasy and oily. This will help determine whether you need one or two deep frying wells.
- Available kitchen space. There are table-top units, as well as standalone deep fryers. It depends on how much space you have. You may need to consider changing the layout of your kitchen space, to make way for the frying units, as well as to ensure that you comply with safety standards.
- Ease and safety of use. How simple and safe is it to use the fryer? Remember, this will involve the use of hot oil. The staff should have no trouble operating it. There are also units that come with computer controls so that you can also program the length of frying, as well as set the precise temperature of the oil. The monitoring feature may also notify you about the need to filter the oil. Additional safety features include an auto-off function (when the oil temperature becomes too hot) and a cool wall exterior (that keeps the outside surfaces cool to prevent burns when the walls are touched). The staff should also be able to get near it or even touch the exterior without getting scalded (this means it should have a cool wall exterior. The fryer should also be easier to clean, since it can easily get greasy, oil and filled with sediment after a day’s use. Usually, the more parts are removable, the easier the cleaning operations.
- Additional features that you may want.
- Energy efficiency. Look for fryers that hold an Energy Star rating. This signifies that the equipment is designed for long term energy savings. There also states and cities that provide tax incentives to restaurants that use Energy Star-certified equipment.
- Oil filtration system. There are fryers that come with a built-in filtration system that allows you to extend the use of the oil by filtering and straining it for reuse. Also look for units that have fryer grates that make it easy to take out that sediment that accumulate at the bottom.
- Basket lift. Rather than having the operator lift the basket, consider getting a fryer that does the lifting for you. This feature automates the process to prevent accidents and burnt food (which can happen in a busy kitchen).