It doesn’t seem so long ago that a quality pizza offering would be limited to outlets dedicated to Italian cuisine (or to the local pizza and kebab shop), but more recently, it seems that pizza can be found on menus almost everywhere – from the increasing number of pizza-focused chains to independent hotels, from fine dining restaurants to grab-and-go by the slice and family-run pubs-with-grub to bigger pub chains.
With such a wide variety of businesses looking to profit from a pizza-loving public, there is an even wider choice of pizza ovens, designed to cater for the growing number of individual needs set out by the expanding marketplace.
When asked what the key differences are between the ranges of ovens on offer and what business benefits dealers should note when specifying a pizza oven, Steve Hemsil, UK and Ireland sales director at Welbilt (formerly Manitowoc), responded: “When choosing a pizza oven, various considerations must be taken into account before purchasing the equipment. These considerations include the volume of products the operator needs to produce in the oven, the establishment’s menu and the skill set and training of their employees.”
The usual key considerations that dealers take into account with kitchen equipment, such as cost and footprint, seem to be details that come into play much later in the specification process for pizza ovens. Many of the suppliers Catering Insight talked to point first to establishing the type of operation a distributor is specifying for. For example, dealers can immediately narrow the search for the right solution by discovering if the pizza oven will be a front of house feature.
As Richard Norman, national sales manager at Jestic explained: “Ultimately, the decision on which particular appliance is best suited for a particular business comes down to the positioning and expected demand. For example, there is little point positioning a wood fired pizza oven back of house, when a deck oven can produce similar authentic results at a lower cost, simply without the element of theatre that customers love so much.”
To select the right style of oven for an operation, David Chesshire, sales manager at Blue Seal, points towards access as another key concern for dealers. “Access to the kitchen is an important consideration to factor in, especially when working with listed buildings or installations with limited access, where you don’t have the option to remove doors or windows. Deck ovens are a great solution for this, as single deck ovens, such as our 430/DS-M electric model, can be taken in with ease and stacked up to three high. With each deck capable of cooking up to four 12”pizzas at the same time, operators can still keep up with high demand. Furthermore, this model uses a refractory stone baking surface so they won’t be compromising an authentic Italian taste and finish to the pizza.”
Blue Seal has supplied these ovens to high street restaurant chains, championship golf courses, major hotel chains as well as general café and restaurant trade. Available in twin or single deck options, the ovens meet all CE and safety standards and are manufactured with efficiency, robust quality and ease of use for the operator in mind.
“All of which presents our dealer base with a competitive, practical and functional solution for their pizza deck oven offering, in essence with Blue Seal’s philosophy of ‘Power, Performance and Reliability’ across our entire range,” Chesshire added.
Elsewhere, Linda Lewis Kitchens’ business development manager, Jenna Lewis, said: “If the dealer’s customer is looking for theatre, they should invest in a traditional clay pizza oven. These ovens require a little more skill as they have a direct heat source such as a living flame or a wood fire. Operators using these ovens will require some training; however, these units can give the audience a true traditional Italian pizza cooking experience.”