The widespread use of induction cooking is now evident across the entire foodservice sector, but as its popularity grows experts are warning operators to be careful of specifying equipment that can’t live up to their demands.
Onlookers estimate that there are more than 40 brands now providing an induction offering of some sort to the UK market, making it more difficult for buyers to distinguish between different products.
Steve Hobbs, managing director of Grande Cuisine, suggests that if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
“Generally speaking inexpensive units do not perform as well as expensive ones. Price is always important and if the client’s only concern is price then their investment will not benefit the business — the old adage of ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ is true. In business it is not possible to get a lot and only spend a little.
“However, this focus on price alone is changing and increasingly lifetime cost and energy efficiency are being considered as operators look more towards striking a balance between capital investment and ongoing operational costs. It is also worth pointing out that it’s important to know who is producing the technology and how is it being incorporated into a piece of equipment.”
It is advisable for operators spec induction based on their own applications and service needs rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach.
That’s according to Geoff Snelgrove, managing director of Control Induction, who advises: “The value of the induction is based on its efficiency and longevity relative to cost, so the best value induction equipment for a very busy hotel kitchen may be very heavy duty but unjustifiably expensive for say a school kitchen where medium duty equipment would suffice.
“The medium duty equipment whilst having a lower capital cost could work out more expensive in the busiest kitchens because of higher service costs. Our Control Induction brand is available in three duty levels, medium, heavy and super heavy duty, allowing us to specify the optimum equipment for every application.”
While it might sound obvious, operators are recommended to ensure that the components of any induction they source are commercial-grade standard.
Shaun Hall, product development chef at Falcon Foodservice Equipment, said: “Many induction models use domestic-grade components which are not designed to withstand the culinary demands of professional kitchens. Falcon induction uses heavy duty components ensuring a minimum 30,000 hours lifespan. One of the main parts of our induction demonstrations is the drop test, where a pan is dropped onto the hob, demonstrating that the glass is strong enough to handle life in a busy commercial kitchen.”