People often ask us this, and the first thing that influences them into making an informed decision in purchasing food service appliances is the cost.
Capital Investment – the visible bit…
On the whole, electric appliances tend to have a lower initial purchase price, compared to their gas counterparts. Plus, complicated Gas Regulations (detailed below) and more intricate requirements also mean that the enabling costs for a gas installation tend to be higher.
Gas Safety – (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998,
Gas Appliance (Safety Regulations) 1995,
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, to name a few.
The hidden cost balance…
With planning constraints becoming more restrictive and an increasing number of premises changing use, the requirements for ventilation systems are becoming ever more complex. Traditionally, a kitchen canopy simply had to remove the harmful bi-products of combustion, now it also needs to conform to environmental standards for noise and odour, adding additional layers of cost. This has led to many advances in heat recovery and local vent-less solutions for the commercial kitchen which mitigate some of these constraints and help engineer around the problem.
Air changes are still required for the working environment, but nowhere near as many per hour which means you’re also not spending additional money on heating or cooling the workspace. Using vent-less electric does tend to bump up the capital investment cost for the equipment, but saves on your ventilation requirements.
Gas vs Electric rates…
The costs for electrical equipment may have a cheaper initial outlay, however the exponential costs of running the two over a prolonged period swing back the other way. While the difference may seem small, on a day-to-day basis, the saving you make using Gas equipment over several years can in fact cover the difference in purchasing cost. Certain advances in technology, with forced draft burners or systems utilised by appliances such as the Synergy Grill, can offer larger returns still.
The cost of maintenance…
This is an area that will always be open to debate. By in large it differs per appliance. Generally speaking, gas prime cooking equipment tends to be cheaper to repair and very robust, with very few component parts subject to failure, compared to their electric counterparts – but this can differ massively depending on the control systems utilised.
At BFES, we collect a lot of data which we then look at not only across brands, but also specific models of equipment. This means as long as it’s been in the market for a while we’ll have the data to advise you properly.
In terms of your ongoing maintenance, there’s a common misconception that electrical equipment doesn’t need to be serviced. However, under the H&S at Work Act 1974 and the Electricity at Work Act 1989, there are still obligations placed on employers to protect their employees from harm, and all maintenance programmes should be suitable and sufficient.
Gas appliances are able to reach optimum temperatures much quicker than electrical appliances (excludes induction). Plus, the ability to manually control the size of flame allows for more direct cooking control. The cooling aspect again is much quicker with gas, as once the gas is switched off the flame is extinguished, allowing the surrounding area to cool. With electrical appliances, the cooling takes time, including the surrounding area. Gas appliances tend to allow loss of energy around the base of your pots and pans, which can directly lead to a hotter kitchen.
So, which is the best option for you?
As you’ve probably guessed, there’s no absolute rule. Customer requirements, planning constraints and innovation mean there are constant variables, what may be right for one client, but not the next. At BFES, we like to treat your problems and constraints as our own, that’s why we’re always seeking to find the solution that ultimately works in line with your goals and objectives.
Electrical appliances in question exclude induction cooking.