When thinking about adding new cooking equipment to your commercial kitchen, it’s critical to ask:
- What’s on my menu today and how might it change in the future?
- Will potential additions to the menu resonate with my patrons?
- Are the menu additions appropriate for my concept?
- How many meals will I need to deliver and how will this vary by day of the week and time of day?
After answering these questions, it is likely that you will review the brands in your existing cooking equipment line-up as well as the reputation of other brands in the industry. Your experience and research will aid you in developing a short-list of manufacturers for the type of cooking equipment you are seeking. It is also likely that you will evaluate these manufacturers and their equipment based on a set of chosen criteria such as ease-of-use, performance, reliability, warranty/service and so on.
One piece of equipment many operators have recently considered adding to their operation is dual-sided grills. Often referred to as clamshells, this griddle accessory enables kitchen staff to prepare large batches of product easily and efficiently and thus is ideal for quick serve, fast casual and sport/ recreation operations. In these settings, consumers are particularly looking for speed of service and the ability to customize their order to their tastes.
While there are automated floor-standing dual-sided griddles in the marketplace, manual clamshells mounted to countertop griddles provide operators with great menu flexibility in a small footprint. When in the up position, the entire surface of the griddle may be used as needed. When in the down position, the clamshell plate heats the product from above while the griddle heats the product from below thus enabling both sides of the product to cook simultaneously. Advancements in functionality have boosted the ease-of-use of many clamshells with kitchen staff able to lift and lower the clamshell with one hand.
Most manufacturers offer the clamshell plate in smooth and grooved steel. The smooth plate is ideal for batch cooking product such as bacon or quesadillas while the grooved plate leaves uniform markings on product such as panini or chicken breast. Some manufacturers offer a special composite plate which allows for more even heating and quicker recovery times than standard steel.
Compatible with both gas and electric griddles, clamshells may be mounted to a griddle before shipping out from the manufacturer’s facility or may be mounted to an existing griddle in the field. Offering the ultimate in versatility, clamshells may be installed every 12 inches on a griddle. For example, some operators may install two clamshells on a 36 inch griddle, thus leaving one 12 inch cooking zone open to toast buns or cook other product.
If your current menu or potential future changes to your menu have your griddle running at full capacity, consider adding a clamshell to your operation to maximize griddle production, reduce cook times and add consistency to the cooking process.
About Vulcan Equipment
Vulcan, a division of ITW Food Equipment Group LLC, is a leading manufacturer of cooking equipment in the U.S. with a broad line of products including ranges, convection and combi ovens, fryers,griddles, charbroilers, steamers, braising pans, kettles and heated holding cabinets. Vulcan sells both to the foodservice and food retail end-user segments, including chain and independent restaurants, hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, K-12 schools, colleges/universities, hotels, casinos, recreation, corrections, and grocery stores.
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