A hot dog roller grill provides one of the easiest ways to add impulse-buy foods to your offerings, from the hot dogs they're most commonly used for to kebabs, sausages, spring rolls, churros, chimichangas, and tamales. They're meant to not only warm those foods, but also to merchandise them, with the intention of increasing sales, particularly impulse sales. Perhaps best of all, they require little attention from the operator, which is particularly helpful in settings where they'll be left turning for long periods of time.
Comparing Flat and Slanted Grills
The first versions of this countertop equipment were flat, which not only provided efficient rolling, it also prevented items from migrating down the wheels and kept customers from knocking them down. That same design is available in many of the units we sell and has proven itself over years of use.
Also included in the selection are units with rollers that slant down toward the customer, to make it easier for him or her to access dogs at the back. This also keeps users from dragging shirt sleeves over the other food as they reach for their selection.
Perhaps more importantly, these also present your foods in a way that markets them without you even having to try, which might translate into increased impulse sales.
Temperatures and Controls
Most of these hot dog machines are built to take your dogs and other cylindrical foods from cold to fully heated, though some are made just for holding foods you have already warmed. In the latter case, trying to cook an item on your grill will leave it too long in the temperature danger zone - that range where bacteria is most likely to grow.
This equipment is rated based on the temperatures it can maintain, with a higher range for cooking and a lower range for warm holding. The temperature is set with either a dial or a touchpad with an LCD display. The operator can select either a temperature range or a specific target temperature.
With manual controls, the operator sets where on a range between high or low he or she wants to keep the rollers. This type of control is less precise than those based on specific temperatures, but that may not be as important on this type of equipment since it won't be doing complex cooking jobs. Typically only dial-based systems offer manual adjustments.
Touchpad adjustments are more precise, offering control over the exact temperature of the grill. This can come in especially handy in an operation that has a lot of turnover, as new employees can be given exact settings for any food being offered. It's also important if you're in an area where specific settings must be recorded for health and safety reasons.
If a unit has heated bun storage, it will typically have separate temperature controls for that area and the grill.
Hot Dog Roller Grill Optional Features
There are several types of rollers used in these units, with each manufacturer experimenting with its own designs to find the best way to keep your foods moving to get them properly heated. Some models have a chrome or other non-stick finish that keeps items from staying in one place and burning. Others accomplish that with a coarse finish that grips foods better, or with oblong rollers that push food as they move.
Heated and Unheated Bun Storage
To make your hot dog machine more useful, consider a unit with a bun storage drawer. These not only provide a sanitary and readily accessible place to keep your breads, they also can enhance your products. Many of them offer either electric or steam heat, which means your buns are warm and soft when your customers want them.
Since these grills keep food in the open for extended periods of time, it's important that they provide your offerings with some protection from airborne contaminants. Sneeze guards, sometimes called breath guards, do just that. Not only do they provide translucent protection for your foods, they can also give your customers confidence that what they're buying is sanitary. Beyond those benefits, they are also required by many health codes.
Some models come standard with one of these coverings. If the one you choose doesn't, consider ordering one separately to provide that protection for your customers.