Microwave Feature, SLTN (24TH May 2018)
Please attribute any quotes to Kris Brearley, Sales Director, R H Hall
How important is the commercial microwave to today’s on-trade?
Today’s microwave ovens are sophisticated, yet easy to use and produce excellent cooking results in a fraction of the time it takes to cook foods conventionally and their versatility is underestimated. Many foods and dishes can be cooked very, very well in a microwave oven, with great results. The most obvious benefit to any operator is speed, but there is a great deal of versatility that a microwave can offer. Used properly, the microwave will form a key part of the kitchen operation and the ability to serve a full menu.
What have been the biggest changes in the capabilities of commercial microwaves in recent years?
A subject of current discussion is the use of RF Solid State cooking technology, which provides far better and more consistent power control, along with many other benefits. The cost of this technology is currently very high, but we will see it introduced to the market in time. As technology moves forward, more suppliers will be looking to offer their high-speed ovens with a 13-amp option – offering more versatility and market opportunities for this equipment. One example of this is the Electrolux Speedelight High-Speed Panini Grill, with a 13amp version of this already popular solution being launched in 2018. Improvement and attention to design and additional functionality is always on the drawing board as well as more efficiencies in terms of performance and reducing running costs, although the latter has always been the big plus point using microwave technology. R H Hall will continue to be at the forefront offering the very latest microwave oven products backed up with National approved dealer cover, demonstration and menu development in order for caterers to gain the most from their investment
With technology moving forward all the time, what are the latest developments in the commercial microwave sector that operators should pay attention to?
Manufacturers are always looking for new and innovative ways that microwave technology can be used. The Combination Microwave and High-Speed Oven market is continuing to grow – with these clever machines offering the speed of microwave cooking, combined with the versatility of more conventional methods. Many also include pre-programmable menu facilities, such as the Maestrowave Combi Chef 7 which includes Menu Creator 2.0™, allowing users to set up to 99 different menu settings and deploy these to as many machines as required via SD card – ensuring total consistency. We are currently seeing rapid progress with Combination Microwave technology and expect to see imminent changes in this area – we are currently working with some major manufacturers in developing the next generation! The use of barcodes with microwave cooking also continues to be exclusively marketed and developed by iWave. The company are currently planning an addition to the range that will be designed to appeal to the wider catering market. Keep an eye on www.maestrowave.com for the latest news. The microwave oven continues to be seen as a must-have kitchen product within commercial foodservice operations. We continue to work in partnership with our dealer and distributor network to offer the full microwave solution. Multi-sited chains may require additional support in the form of food testing, demonstrations or training, pre-programming, branding and more. Your specialist microwave supplier should always be able to liaise closely with the operator to offer these services and we have had notable successes with our Distributor partners – signing up a number of chain accounts in the last 18 months. We are here and ready to work with you!
Why should operators avoid purchasing domestic microwaves for a commercial environment?
Put simply, a commercial microwave is built for a commercial kitchen! From the power and output, through to the components and workmanship – every element of a professional machine is designed to operate under greater strains, regular usage and heavy wear and tear. It is very important to choose from a commercial range of microwaves, operators shouldn’t be tempted to go down the domestic route – a domestic machine will not cope with the rigours of a professional kitchen. Importantly, any warranty provided with a domestic machine will also be invalid if used in a commercial environment, meaning that an operator could be faced with regular costly repairs or replacements.
If possible, please provide a point by point list of 3-5 main aspects where commercial and domestic microwaves differ?
First and foremost, microwave wattage or output is a huge differential. Domestic microwaves will typically range from 800W to 1000W, with most models on today’s market being 900W. A commercial machine will normally start from 1000W, ranging all the way up to 1900W or further. This means much faster cooking and better results! Another big difference between commercial and domestic machines is build quality. A commercial machine should use on the best, heavy duty components – designed to withstand the intense use of a commercial environment. Domestic machines are built with light, home use only in mind – and therefore use much lighter duty components. Finally, consider the warranty provided with the machine. A domestic machine is designed for use in the home, so any use outside of this will invalidate any warranty it is sold with. Commercial microwaves should come with at least 1 year on site warranty cover, with many of the leading brands providing up to 3 years on site. Always consider the warranty offered on the magnetron – which is the heart of any microwave!
How important is a thorough maintenance programme when it comes to getting the most out of a commercial microwave?
Caterers should look for a full-service back-up in terms of on-site warranty and availability of spares from their manufacturer. Expect a least a year’s warranty, some manufacturers offer 3 years. Genuine service back-up in a commercial situation is absolutely critical. With annual servicing in place and by buying a recognised quality brand, there is absolutely no reason why your commercial microwave oven shouldn’t last between 3-5 years and even more, dependent on site and on how the oven is cared for! Regular cleaning and servicing are key to ensure users get the maximum lifespan from their microwave. When using your microwave on a regular basis, one tip that shouldn’t be overlooked for getting the best from a microwave is regular cleaning - keep the oven’s cavity and inner door clean of food spillage/deposits at all times. This will avoid cavity burn ups and prolong the life of its heart “The Magnetron”. This measure will also help the consistency and speed of reheat/ cook times. You could purchase the Microsave Cavity Protection System which is a unique and simple plastic cavity liner which is safer to use, easier to clean and provides long-term financial benefits. Designed for the extra heavy duty Sharp range, every model sold with the Microsave CPS comes with a lifetime warranty on the cavity.
R H Hall are the Sole UK and Eire Distributor for the Sharp range of Professional Microwave Ovens and Sole Worldwide Distributor for the Maestrowave range of Catering Equipment.
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