8 Reasons You Need a Commercial Microwave in your Restaurant Kitchen
If you're not currently using a commercial microwave in your restaurant kitchen, or if you have one that's been sitting around underutilized, you may be missing out on some valuable opportunities. Maybe you feel like you don't have a use for it, or maybe you've been turned off by some of the myths that persist about microwaves only producing sub-standard results. We're about to dispel those myths and give you eight solid reasons that a commercial microwave can open up new possibilities for your business.
1. Expand Your Restaurant's Menu
With a powerful microwave in your lineup, you're free to start offering a whole range of dishes you couldn't before, whether that's a trendy new dip you want to test or a brand new side to drive sales. Microwaves can be used to quickly heat individual portions of food as they're ordered, so you can begin to offer items that you won't sell in volumes that justify preparing ahead of time. There are even microwaves specially designed for steaming food. Those accommodate full hotel pans, letting you prepare fresh, steamed food without bulky equipment or even an external water source.
2. Retherm Frozen Foods Fast
Chances are, you're not cooking everything in your kitchen from scratch. There are bound to be items on your menu that you purchase pre-cooked, and then there are the items that you cook ahead of time and reheat to order. If you're currently relying on a water bath or steamer to reheat those items, a commercial microwave can get those items from fridge to plate much faster.
3. Defrost Frozen Foods Quickly
If any of the foods you cook in house by traditional means come frozen, you can still save some time by defrosting them in a microwave, even if you don't want to cook them there. Not only is this method faster than slacking them in a refrigerator, it can also help make the thawing process much safer because it's easier to keep food out of the temperature danger zone where bacteria grows fastest. You can also cut down on waste and keep a tighter control on inventory when you defrost individual portions as needed.
4. Serve Food Faster
The quick heating provided by a commercial microwave means you can get orders out to your customers quickly. It just so happens that many of the dishes that you need the quickest do incredibly well in the microwave. Soups, because they're mostly water, are among the easiest and most reliable foods to reheat in a microwave. Dips to accompany chips and bread are always popular appetizers, and they can go from the fridge to ready to serve in less than five minutes. Dishes that incorporate ground or shredded meats - think mini tacos, nachos, pulled pork, and sliders - those ingredients reheat perfectly in the microwave, too.
5. Heat Food - Not Your Kitchen
Unlike most other equipment - ranges and ovens especially - microwave ovens don't create ambient heat in your kitchen. They create heat inside the food, meaning no extra heat is generated that doesn't work directly to warm or cook food. This can help maintain a more comfortable working environment for your staff and take a load off your HVAC system, keeping your cooling costs in check.
6. Simplify Your Operations
Modern commercial microwaves include features that make operating them as simple as pressing a button, even for multi-stage recipes. Many models provide the option of programming procedures for hundreds of individual menu items that can include stages to defrost, cook, and hold foods at proper serving temperatures. That ease of use can be an enormous timesaver in an industry where staff turnover is high and training time is limited.
7. Cut Your Electric Bill
Because microwaves are so quick and efficient, they use significantly less energy to produce the same results as other equipment. As a matter of fact, most mid-sized microwaves use less than a dollar worth of electricity a day. Also consider that microwaves don't have to preheat, and they only use energy when they're actual cooking. Add all that to the fact that you're cutting down on HVAC needs and that savings shows up in your energy bill.
8. Microwaves Can be Installed Nearly Anywhere
A commercial microwave's low profile and light weight means it can be installed just about anywhere there's room. Place one on virtually any countertop, underneath your prep area, or mount it on the wall above. Unlike the majority of cooking equipment, microwave ovens never have to be installed under a range hood, freeing you to put one just about anywhere front- or back-of-house. Units with intuitive dial controls are also available for use in self-serve environments - places like convenience store snack stations and break rooms.