Buying Guide: Commercial Toasters and Essential Toasting Factors to Consider

Ready to transform your breakfast service? Unwrap the secrets of buying the best commercial toaster. Will it be a pop-up, conveyor, or toaster oven? Pop in to discover!

Conveyor type commercial toaster
Conveyor Type Commercial Toaster

A commercial toaster is a cornerstone appliance in many food-based businesses, from bustling cafes to school canteens, catering services, and even small diners. This guide explores the key factors that you should carefully consider before purchasing a commercial toaster.

What is a Commercial Toaster?

A commercial toaster is a specialised appliance designed for use in restaurants, cafes, hotels, and other food service establishments. These toasters are more robust and efficient than their domestic counterparts, capable of toasting a higher volume of bread products in a shorter period of time. There are three primary types of commercial toasters: Conveyor Toasters, Pop-Up Toasters and Bun Grilling Toasters.

Things to Know Before Buying a Commercial Toaster

Before you purchase a commercial toaster, there are several factors you need to consider:

  1. What type of bread product will you be toasting? Commercial toasters come in different designs to accommodate various types of bread. Some toasters are better suited for toasting regular sliced bread, while others are designed for bagels, buns, or English muffins.
  2. What is the volume of toasting required? The size of your establishment and the volume of customers you serve will determine the toasting capacity you need. Commercial toasters can toast anywhere from 60 to 1,800 slices per hour.
  3. What is the available counter space? The size of the toaster matters, especially if you have limited counter space. Commercial toasters come in different sizes, so choose one that fits comfortably in your kitchen without compromising efficiency.
  4. What are your electrical requirements? Different toasters may require different voltage levels. Ensure the toaster you choose is compatible with your establishment’s electrical setup.

Understanding Types of Commercial Toasters

Primary understanding comes from learning the four main types of commercial toasters – pop-up toasters, conveyor toasters, bun grilling toasters and toaster ovens.

Pop-Up Toasters

Pop-up toasters are perfect for lower-volume operations such as small diners, coffee shops, and hotel breakfast services. These toasters can toast from two to six slices at once, operating with spring-loaded slots which ‘pop up’ the toast when ready. They can toast bread, bagels, and similar items, and come in models that can handle 60 to 380 slices per hour. They are usually compact, making them ideal for establishments with limited counter space.

Considerations for a pop-up toaster include:

  • Product Opening: Most pop-up toasters come with two or four slots. Check the slot size to ensure your bread products will fit.
  • Heat Control: Pop-up toasters generally have fixed operating temperatures. Some models have heating elements on one side, ideal for one-sided toasting or bagels.
  • Toasting Time: This is usually controlled by a timer. A longer toasting time results in darker toasts, while a shorter time results in lighter toasts.

Conveyor Toasters

These toasters are designed for high-volume toasting, making them ideal for large restaurants, catering businesses, and breakfast buffets. They use a conveyor belt system to move the bread past heating elements for even toasting. Conveyor toasters can toast anywhere from 200 to 1800 slices per hour and come in various sizes to suit your kitchen space and electrical requirements.

Considerations for a conveyor toaster include:

  • Product Opening Size: Check the size of the toaster’s opening to ensure it can accommodate the types of bread you plan to toast.
  • Heat Control: Some conveyor toasters enable you to control the temperature of the top and bottom elements independently for precise toasting.
  • Toasting Time: The speed of the conveyor determines the toasting time. Faster speeds result in lighter toasts, while slower speeds create darker toasts.

Bun Grilling Toasters

A bun-grilling toaster is capable of toasting all the same items as a conveyor toaster and more. It’s designed for high-volume sandwich shops or cafeterias that require a large number of toasted buns. These toasters can match conveyor toasters in output, making them a versatile addition to any commercial kitchen.

Considerations for a bun grilling toaster include:

  • Dry vs. Wet Toasting: Some bun grilling toasters allow you to toast with or without butter.
  • Product Opening: Most models feature a self-adjusting conveyor system that adapts to the size of the bread product.
  • Heat Control: The griddle plate’s temperature can be adjusted to achieve the desired toasting level.
  • Toasting Time: This is determined by the gear setting on the toaster. Different gears yield different toasting times.

Toaster Ovens

A toaster oven isn’t just a tool for toasting bread. It doubles as a mini-oven capable of baking and broiling, among many other functions. Designed to cater to various food preparations, it is a versatile appliance suitable for small to medium-sized cafes and bistros.

Considerations for a toaster oven include:

  • Functionality: Toaster ovens come with various functionalities, such as toasting, baking, broiling, and even defrosting.
  • Size and Capacity: Toaster ovens vary in size and capacity. Some models can accommodate a 12-inch pizza, while others are just enough for toasting bread.
  • Temperature Control: Most toaster ovens come with adjustable temperature controls, making them handy for different cooking tasks.
  • Cooking Time: Unlike traditional toasters, toasting time in toaster ovens can vary based on the item being cooked. Some models come with built-in timers for convenience.

Crucial Factors to Consider

1. Production Rate

The output or production rate directly impacts your decision. If you own a breakfast joint with a high demand for toast, a conveyor toaster, which can churn out up to 1800 slices per hour, would be perfect. However, if you only sporadically serve toasted items, a pop-up toaster offering 220 slices per hour may suffice.

2. Size and Space

Consider the size of the toaster and the available counter space. Commercial toaster dimensions can range from compact models measuring around 20cm x 30cm for pop-up toasters, to more substantial units that can exceed 50cm in width, 40cm in height and 70cm in depth for large, high-capacity conveyor toasters. Always ensure there’s adequate space around the toaster for heat dispersion and safe operation.

3. Power Requirements

Most toasters in the commercial arena have power requirements ranging between 1200W to 3600W. It’s essential to verify that your kitchen’s electrical infrastructure can support the toaster’s demand. Toaster ovens usually consume the most power, owing to their versatile cooking capabilities.

4. Versatility

If your menu includes a wide variety of toasts – from bagels and bread slices to artisan crusted buns – a toaster that allows for thickness adjustment would benefit you. Some advanced models even provide separate settings for different bread types.

5. Cleaning and Maintenance

To ensure prolonged efficiency, look for models that are easy to clean and maintain. Features such as removable crumb trays and non-stick interior coatings significantly aid the cleaning process.

6. Durability and Material

Commercial toasters must withstand heavy use daily. To this end, a high-quality metal build is preferable. Models with stainless steel exteriors offer reliability, durability and they’re resistant to rust and staining, a worthwhile consideration for the rigorous demands of a commercial kitchen.

7. Safety Features

For your staff members’ safety, opt for models with heat-resistant exteriors and automatic shutoff features. Some toasters also offer ‘cool-touch’ exteriors to minimise the risk of accidental burns.

How to Clean a Commercial Toaster

Maintaining a clean commercial toaster is crucial for ensuring its performance and safety. Here are some steps to follow when cleaning your toaster:

  • Turn off and unplug the toaster and let it cool down.
  • Wipe down the outside of the toaster with a damp cloth daily.
  • Remove the crumb tray, empty it, and wipe it clean.
  • Avoid shaking or turning the toaster upside down to remove crumbs as it can damage internal components.

Wrapping Up

Investing in the correct commercial toaster can bolster your kitchen’s efficiency, productivity, and maintain consistent food quality. By considering the factors outlined above, you’re well-equipped to make an informed decision catered to your specific requirements.