Omelet production: Cheap pans o' plenty or sparing high quality cookwear?

Joined Jan 19, 2014
My cooks are brutal on pans. We're a small cafe who specializes in pan omelets and fried eggs.  We do between 80 to 250 per day. The cheapo, 10 dollar 8" nonsticks last maybe 3-4 weeks. The 35 dollar versions maybe 2-3 months. The cooks do a great omelet but kill both types of pans. Should I step up to higher grade or is it  just the cost of doing breakfast eggs in a pan? Do you have a fave pan of which you care to share details?
Joined Jan 4, 2011
What I would do is buy them a nice set of pans, of their choice ... then tell them "That's it ... kill these and you're on your own." Tell them they had to get their own pans after that.
Joined Aug 21, 2004

Vollrath 58900 8-1/2" French-Style Fry Pan - Carbon Steel

about $16
Joined Dec 23, 2004
Jacques Pépin once talked about carbon steel pans for eggs on his show.  He said he generally doesn't use them because stuff sticks, and stuff sticks because they don't get used.  It was a little witicism that hits the mark.  With carbon steel you really have to season the crap out of them and then work to keep them seasoned. But if you do they're about as nonstick as teflon and not vulnerable to heat.

If I could find a truly durable nonstick pan, one that would last for years of high volume cooking and be durable enough to withstand normal cleaning and utensiles I'd pay almost any amount of money for one.
Joined May 5, 2010
I would not even blink an eye at the fact that you need to replace the egg pans so often.

Just look at their use.

You say yourself that you go through many orders each day.

That kind of usage does take its' toll on the pans.

It's a cost of doing the business.

Don't sweat it.
Joined Jan 19, 2014
Thanks for all the thoughtful replies, which honestly, run the gamut from "Buy expensive pans and make them take care of them," to "Keep buying the cheapos, it's the cost of doing business," and everything in between.

That's why I love this place!  A great cross section of a wealth of knowledge. And as expected, there is no correct single answer as I think they are all right.

(I do think I'll throw a few carbon steel in the mix and see if they can keep them properly seasoned.)
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
I had mine for years. I never sent them to the dish room and never used  anything but a rubber spat when making an omelet. After breakfast wipe them out and layer towels  between the pans. 
Joined Oct 31, 2012
I agree with using seasoned pans and also with Chef Billy on caring for them. I used the same seasoned pans for years. Keeping a pan seasoned is a learned skill but worth doing. Never to the dish room. I hand scrubbed the back to remove carbon deposits but only rubber spats and occasionally salt on the inside to clean ( and then rechecked the seasoning).  I'd suggest working with your cooks on learning to keep seasoned pans rather than buy non stick. 
Joined Apr 21, 2016
Carbon steel all day. Take a slow Tuesday and get everyone in on seasoning them. It takes about 15 rounds to get a good solid season, so they'll all have practice. After that, they'll stand up to all sorts of abuse and neglect and are easy to bring back to life (the pans, I don't know about your line cooks.)
Joined Jan 19, 2014
FYI      we always use rubber spats only and they never get any soap and water. I do like the paper towels between stacking them idea. Also, I need to instruct to take them of the burners when not in use. The pilots themselves give off too much heat.
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