Buying a Pizza Oven
Purchasing a large piece of cooking equipment is not a decision easily made. We all spend days researching what is best for our business and shop around for the absolute best prices. Maybe you’re opening a pizzeria or just looking to expand your current menu by including pizzas and/or flatbread. Determining which pizza oven is right for your business can be determined by asking yourself four questions:
- What kind of pizza are you interested in making?
- What volume of pizza do you intend to be making each day?
- How much is your budget?
- How much space do you have available for the oven?
Depending on how you answer these questions, it steers you toward one maybe two options of the four types of pizza ovens which are a conveyor, deck, brick, and convection. Each has its advantages and disadvantages; some may not be able to suit your needs at all while in some scenarios they all may be acceptable choices.
- What kind of pizza are you interested in making?
What this comes down to is whether you are making a thinner crust pie or a thicker and deeper pizza like a Chicago or Sicilian. All four oven choices can handle thin and normal crusts with moderate toppings. The issue arises when you’re making the thick and deep crusts, in which case you are limited to deck and brick ovens. A conveyor and convection would not be able to cook your pizzas evenly and thoroughly.
It’s also important to consider whether you have a takeout/delivery business model or are a sit-down restaurant. Conveyors and convection tend to be the ovens of choice for delivery and pick-up pizzerias as they are able to cook pizzas quickly, in five to six minutes, and consistently. Deck ovens allow more control to the chef, allowing for varying finished product. Brick ovens are unique in that they are viewed as the artisanal approach to pizza making. There is an aesthetic to having a large brick oven visible to your customers, allowing them to observe the process. They do, however, require the most skill to use because if you have different chefs operating the oven, you may get different levels of doneness. You must frequently move and rotate pizzas within a brick oven and monitor them closely as these ovens provide the fastest cooking time, often under four to five minutes.
2. What volume of pizza do you intend to be making each day?
If your oven cannot keep up with the demand of your customers, then it simply isn’t the oven for you. One of the most important things to consider when the volume is an issue is how many pizzas that you can have in the oven at once as well as how many can be made within an hour. Convection ovens have the lowest output as you have limited space to work with and are often losing heat due to opening the door to check as well as insert and remove pizzas as they finish. Brick ovens tend to be difficult as well for the sole reason that space becomes a huge issue. Yes, you have a quality product but a brick oven takes up a lot of space (not as easily maximized as a deck, as an example, by stacking) as is and also have limited space within the oven to use.
About the middle of the road is deck pizza ovens. They have a relatively low pizza output, however, they make up for this in that they’re able to be stacked one on top of another. It is not uncommon to have a pizza oven with four, five, even six decks which allow what would normally be a low output oven to produce a reasonable amount of pizzas per hour. If you’re needing something to produce many pizzas in a short amount of time, nothing quite compares to the production of conveyor pizza ovens. Because they’re continually fed through the oven by its belt, you can churn out cooked pizzas as quickly as you can assemble them. If that isn’t enough, similarly to deck ovens, you can also stack conveyor ovens to permit an even higher level of production.
3. How much is your budget?
The price points for different types of pizza ovens somewhat correlate to their volume of production. Convection ovens are seen as an entry-level and affordable or budget-friendly option. These can be found anywhere from a couple thousand dollars up to nine or ten thousand, varying with the size. Conveyors and deck ovens, as previously stated, are stackable and thus have a huge range of pricing. These can be found as cheap as a few thousand up to twenty or even thirty thousand dollars. Because you have the option of stacking, the ceiling is the limit. Brick ovens are easily the most expensive of the four, though. This is because it requires construction and installation. You do not buy an oven and have it delivered; it is constructed in place and is quite large. It requires an experienced professional to build this, though you can construct one yourself if you are handy (and daring) enough. Typically the only restaurants that utilize a brick oven are for high-end kitchens; those looking to create a high-quality product and dazzle waiting customers as it is a sight to see.
4. How much space do you have available for the oven?
This is an easy one to determine, though you may be dissatisfied as space doesn’t go too far. If you’re severely limited on space and really want to add pizza to your restaurant’s menu, that entry level convection may be just what you need as they take up the least amount of space by a considerable margin. Approximately 20ft³ to 55ft³, they can fit in even when limited on kitchen space. Deck and conveyor ovens are fairly large, coming in around 100ft³ to 190 ft³and 140ft³ to 300ft³, respectively. Conveyor ovens are larger than the deck ovens and can be awkward fitting into your kitchen space, due to the conveyor belts extending in both directions for a few feet to allow pizzas to be placed and removed. Brick ovens are often the size of conveyors but can also be much larger. They too are awkward to place in your kitchen space as they need to be installed and built in place. It’s much different than getting a piece of equipment. If space is an issue for you, a brick oven is often not going to be a possibility. This is complicated even further that it takes up 100% of the space as it’s built from the ground often to the ceiling.
There are a lot of things to consider when buying a pizza oven for your business; these four questions are the largest and most prominent factors to consider but are only the beginning. It is not a decision you can make lightly. We hope this has helped you understand the application of the four types of pizza ovens and when one might be more appropriate over another. If you have any questions or specific needs to be met that aren’t covered in this brief guide, drop us a comment and we’ll get back to you or stop in one of our warehouse stores, call into our order office, or live chat with us, and ask any of our equipment specialists.