Gas vs Electric Restaurant Equipment.

As a restaurant owner, you know the right restaurant equipment in your kitchen can make all the difference in the menu items you serve. You also know that the culinary industry has had a long debate regarding whether gas or electric equipment is better. The line is drawn and staunch supporters are in each camp of a debate that will likely never be resolved.

Debate aside, the truth is that gas and electric both have advantages and both can fit in very nicely with your kitchen. Let’s explore!

Many commercial kitchens choose gas ranges. Price is certainly a factor; gas has traditionally been far cheaper than electricity. Of course, this is assuming that you already have a gas line installed in your restaurant. If not, gas installation, when all is said and done, could prove costly.

Gas can produce far greater BTU than electric at a fraction of the cost, which means more heat for the dollar when it comes to gas. Electric ranges are much more efficient as well; they have far lower heat loss, meaning most of the electrical energy is converted directly to heat, so that will keep your chefs comfortable and your cooling bills lower.

Cost aside, chefs like gas ranges because they are more flexible, an important factor during the busy dinner rush. Gas ranges get hotter quicker, so there’s no waiting time to begin cooking. Chefs consider it more artful too; gas is more difficult to maintain even temperatures with gas, but any chef will tell you that’s half the challenge and half the fun. A gas flame is more distributed, so the bottoms, as well as the sides of cooking pans, are better heated. And, since a gas flame goes out immediately when the burner is turned off, a gas stove cools down much more quickly than its electric counterpart. Gas is more dependable too. Chefs don’t have to worry about power outages.

However, gas ranges do have safety concerns. Open flames may not be the best idea in a small kitchen space, so electric may be the safest option. An electric range is much less of a fire hazard because there is no open flame present. Gas leaks can occur quickly with very little warning for all sorts of reasons ranging from careless employees to freezing outdoor temperatures. Until the leak is repaired, your restaurant is offline.

Kitchen maintenance should always be taken into consideration when purchasing equipment. In general, electric restaurant equipment is far cheaper to purchase, install and maintain. Electric ranges are also much easier to clean. Cooking with gas means far greater carbon residue on the range, so electric ranges are much easier to deal with. Many chefs prefer electric ranges because they can more evenly and consistently cook a variety of foods.

While most of us only think of gas ranges, chefs also must choose between a gas or electric oven. Electric models are initially cheaper than gas to purchase, but a gas oven is up to four times cheaper to operate. Electric ovens take a while to heat up but hold the heat better between oven uses. Because commercial kitchens have ovens that have nearly continuous use, consider your operating costs carefully.

The ovens do provide very different cooking styles given the two very different heat sources. Gas ovens tend to provide a moister heat, so meat dishes don’t dry out. Electric ovens do provide a drier cooking style for crispier, crunchier foods.

There is certainly no standard answer for choosing gas or electric. Gas is not a foregone conclusion; electric ranges offer many compelling advantages over gas. The choice depends on your specific restaurant – your space, your budget, your menu and so many other factors. Think about your restaurant’s specific needs and make the choice.