If you are looking for a microwave oven to use for food business (whether as part of a restaurant’s kitchen, the go-to reheating appliance for a small coffee shop, or as one of your army of tools at home for a home-based food business), don’t stick to just any microwave oven. Go for a commercial-grade industrial microwave oven.
This post will let you know why it’s a good idea to invest in an industrial microwave oven, and the things to consider when buying one.
Features of an Industrial Microwave Oven
An industrial oven is designed to handle 200 or more batches of food every day. Because of this, they are perfect kitchen equipment for restaurants, quick-serve cafes, cafeterias, office pantries, catering companies and outdoor residential kitchens.
Like any microwave oven, industrial-type microwaves can bake, broil, steam, defrost, heat, melt, dehydrate, and perform other cooking tasks that your home microwave can do. It’s just that the industrial microwave ovens are built to handle more with higher power and less time between batches.
Here are some of the benefits and features of an industrial microwave oven:
- Extra Durability – The materials used for industrial microwave ovens are higher in quality compared to residential-type microwave ovens. Because commercial use would most likely be used more frequently (often several hours continuously at a time) than a home model, manufacturers make it a point to test these industrial models for heavy use. They are also designed with a restaurant-grade, stainless steel cabinet not only for extra strength but also for ease of cleaning.
- Large turntable and oven space – Another difference between industrial microwave ovens and residential models is the space and turntable sizes are bigger in commercial-grade ovens. This is understandable since restaurants would tend to cook bigger batches of food at a time, so having bigger interior space is essential.
- Special designs – Some industrial microwave ovens are equipped with special accessories and functions like rotating carousels to enhance cooking with even heat. Other microwave ovens come with doors that swing upward, which makes it easier for the restaurant kitchen crew to bring food in and out of the oven.
- Quick one-push buttons – Residential microwave ovens already have built-in buttons that are pre-programmed for specific oven tasks, food types or menus. But industrial microwave ovens come with a whole lot more options so that restaurant kitchens could streamline their operations more effectively. One-push buttons are pre-timed, so you no longer have to enter how long a batch of food needs to run in the microwave.
- Preprogrammed, customizable buttons – The industrial microwave ovens that come with a handy remote usually have the ability to program specific times into the unit. This remote is also equipped with memory, so it could save dozens of recipes and make it foolproof to operate even by new kitchen staff members. In fact, some microwaves even have a built-in USB port that lets users save, access, and download all pre-saved recipes and cooking times.
- Digital display – Most industrial microwave ovens have a digital display, but the functions that are displayed would vary between models.
- More powerful – Industrial microwave ovens have a maximum power output of 1,000 to 3,000 watts. Because they are heavy-duty microwave ovens, cooking in these ovens takes half the time as you would cooking in their residential counterparts. Do note that because of these higher power outputs, your power consumption in commercial kitchens will never be equal to what you used to consume with a residential microwave oven. Budget your power bill appropriately.
- Warranty – Most industrial microwave ovens are constructed to gain commercial certifications (UL, ETL, etc.). As such, they have better warranties than residential models, so the parts will be covered much longer.
If you’re still setting up your restaurant and are in the planning stages, make sure to measure the kitchen space you’re willing to give to the industrial microwave oven. Different brands and models come in different sizes, so in order to fit the right oven, take note of your preferred make and model’s measurements before buying.
Are you planning to buy two or more microwave ovens? Some brands manufacture stackable ovens. Not all industrial models allow this function, so if this is an important feature, look for brands that manufacture them.
Because industrial microwave ovens generally produce higher heat at a lesser time, you might need to train kitchen staff on how to operate the oven properly. Using them without training could lead to overcooking, burnt food, or unevenly cooked meals.
Industrial microwave ovens have fewer colors and designs when compared to residential models, but what they lack in options, these commercial versions make up in durability, power and reliability. They won’t break overnight and they’re less likely to stop cooking even food in the middle of a busy kitchen.