If you are looking to add to the production capacity of your business, it often seems like space is at an absolute premium. Countertop equipment can be a cheap addition to your business, but when is it a good idea and when is it a waste of money?
Below we outline the times when countertop equipment is a good choice and when it might be best to consider another option.
What’s different about a countertop fryer?
Countertop fryers generally:
- Are 13amp – so you can plug them into any socket
- Are cheaper than freestanding alternatives
- Are designed for light/medium use
- Have smaller oil reservoirs
What this means in practice is:
- They are easy and quick to install
- They put less strain on your operating costs when buying
- They cost more to run
- They struggle in high-traffic sites
When should I use a countertop fryer?
There’s three main instances where a countertop fryer makes absolute sense:
- When you have no floor space
- You are adding to boost capacity at peak times
- You need a specialist fryer for one element of your menu
Let’s look at each of those in turn:
- If you have no floor space, then a countertop is your only option. But if this is the case we advise selecting the highest power you can afford, so that the fryer does not struggle during busy sessions. A low power unit, with a 13amp plug, will struggle to maintain temperature if you are using it constantly for an extended period. This means that food takes longer to cook, and can take on a more ‘oily’ taste as it sits in the oil for longer. It also costs you more money to run the unit as the element will be running constantly to keep the oil at temperature. This will also shorten the unit’s operating life.
- If you are hitting capacity in a large or busy restaurant, cafe or pub, then this is an easy decision. Having a countertop fryer to for one part of your menu, for example, can make a massive difference to the speed of your service, and the quality of your food. This is because you are reducing taste transfer between the different foods you prepare in a fryer.
- This is a variation on number 2. Having a separate fryer for, say, vegetarian parts of your menu, helps to reduce taste transfer and reduces the pressure on your main fryer.
When you shouldn’t buy a countertop fryer?
If you have the space for a fryer, you should definitely invest in one. A countertop fryer is no substitute for a larger freestanding alternative. The amount of oil the larger units hold make them much more efficient and better at coping with busy periods at lunchtime or dinner.
There’s a lot of good reasons to buy a countertop fryer. They can help a business deal with busy periods, allow small cafes to add chips and more to their menu. This makes them more attractive to customers and boosts profits. They can be a dedicated fryer for vegetarian food, protecting your reputation and your customers from contamination.
But a countertop fryer should never be a replacement for a freestanding fryer if you have the space for one. They are less efficient, take longer to cook foods when used for extended periods of time, and they are more likely to break as their heating element is under more pressure.