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If you run a pizzeria or a restaurant with pizza on the menu, you may want to invest in an oven specially designed for making pizza. There are a variety of options available on the market, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Before you approach suppliers, consider and prioritize your needs so that suppliers can best match you with one of their pizza oven offerings.
Types of Pizza Ovens
Brick oven pizzas are the traditional choice, and for pizzerias seeking to promote the “authenticity” of their pizzas, it is generally the best choice. Brick oven pizzas have a stone hearth and a brick dome. Brick ovens can be heated with gas or coal, but for the greatest level of authenticity, traditionally, the heat is created though wood-burning. The dome inside creates airflow for convection heat and even reflects heat, while the stone hearth conducts heat into the pizza crust. There are two main concerns with brick ovens, however — they are difficult to work with and maintain (your employees will have to be trained to use them, as they require a greater level of attention than typical modern ovens) and they are more expensive to acquire. On the other hand, many pizzeria owners find that advertising their use of a brick oven attracts clientele, which may offset the increased initial cost.
Pizza Deck Oven
Pizza deck ovens are the technologically-updated, modern equivalents of brick ovens. Pizza deck ovens, like brick ovens, have a stone hearth, shelf, or deck on which the pizza is placed for conductive baking. The stone heat, combined with the radiant heat of the oven chamber, helps to create a more authentic-tasting pizza than other ovens, while being cheaper and easier to use and maintain than an equivalent brick oven. Generally, pizza deck ovens appeal to pizzerias and restaurants that cannot afford the price, space, or employee-time costs of brick ovens, but that want the authentic flavor of a well-baked traditional pizza. Though not designed for it, pizza deck ovens can be used to bake certain other items, such as sandwiches. Speak with a supplier to learn more about compatible foods.
Pizza Convection Oven
Pizza convection ovens utilize fans that circulate hot air for convection heating, which minimizes the need for high temperature cooking and thus helps save on energy costs. Besides the energy savings, many businesses enjoy the pizza convection oven for its smaller profile and for the fact that it is generally cheaper than the alternatives. As an added benefit, the metal shelves used in pizza convection ovens (instead of the stone deck or hearth) reduce heat recovery time between pizzas, further improving kitchen efficiency during busy periods. Like the pizza deck oven, the convection oven is designed for pizza but can be used to cook certain other items. The variety of items that a pizza convection oven can cook is generally greater than that of a pizza deck oven, but speak with a supplier to learn more.
Conveyor ovens can be used to cook much more than pizzas, though they do work well with pizzas (and so are more popular in restaurants that have pizzas on the menu, and in pizzerias with a broader menu, than in specialized pizzerias). The pizza is pulled through the cooking chamber on a conveyor belt. Like the pizza convection oven, there is no heat recovery time, so conveyor ovens are especially efficient during busy periods. As an added benefit, conveyor ovens require very little preheat time, which further enhances their value in a mixed-menu environment, as preparing for a single, sudden order of pizza is easier with a conveyor oven than with a brick or pizza deck oven (which are most efficient when there is a constant flow of pizza orders, as the oven has to be preheated for quite some time).