Oven Help

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Joined Jun 9, 2019
I'm new here and have been looking through a lot of different threads for help with my oven situation.

I've owned a coffee shop for 22 years and we have baked, and consistently expanded our bakery over the last 15 years. All of this time we have only been using regular home based ovens and stovetops and they have worked just perfect for us. No the Health Inspector has informed us that we are required to have all commercial equipment with no exceptions by June of 2020!

Other than the financial burden this poses I am flummoxed about what type of ovens to get as we do a little bit of everything including: muffins, cupcakes, sugar cookies, cheesecakes, cakes and bars. I'm looking for some help and direction if anyone has the time to offer some advice!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read!

Jennifer
 
2,052
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
Just wanted to let you know to give members a few days to respond as this site covers all time zones so appropriate responses from professional bakers may take some time.
I have no professional baking experience with oven brands so I don't know how each brand would would affect your baking needs. Any of the commercial ovens will handle all you do. As with any new oven, some adjustment in baking times for each item may be needed.
The only advice I can provide is what I assume to be obvious. You would be looking at Convection ovens and/or standard ovens under a stove top. Check in to local restaurant suppliers to see what info and styles they can provide. Used may be a good option.
And of course, check measurements to make sure you have the space to accommodate a commercial range/oven. They are typically larger than home ones so your current work arrangement may need some adjustment.
Your insurance, fire and otherwise may also be affected.
You may also have to upgrade your gas lines or electric service depending on which oven you get.
I am curious as to why the HD requires commercial ovens, especially after 22 years all of a sudden. I don't see how that affects food safety in any way and they haven't required you to get them in 22 years but now they do??? If they haven't told you, June 2020 gives you some time to find out. I'm quite curious.
 
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Joined Feb 18, 2007
Go to your local restaurant supply house (NOT restaurant depot!) and talk to them; they will tell you which brands require frequent service (or they will give you the names of local service companies and you can ask them) so you know to stay away from them.

If you've been using consumer level appliances all these years, have you not installed ventilation and fire suppression systems? Because.....

If you buy electric ovens, you may not have to have ventilation in place; electric is more expensive to run over the long term but short term you save on not having to install hoods. Check that your electrical system can handle the additional load; otherwise you are going to have to upgrade that (likely at your expense, not the landlord's responsiblity).

If you buy gas appliances, you need ventilation. Even if you aren't ever going to saute anything on a gas range, you have to have fire suppression because you have the potential to saute something and that's the key, you have to have a means to put out a gas fire.

How much volume are you doing? You might only need one convection oven; I have a Blodgett and it's been great. I don't know that I would ever buy anything else, but I recall Doyon ovens as having the ability to manage the fan speed better (convection isn't the perfect oven for baking cakes) which helps.

Good luck!
 
5
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Joined Jun 9, 2019
Go to your local restaurant supply house (NOT restaurant depot!) and talk to them; they will tell you which brands require frequent service (or they will give you the names of local service companies and you can ask them) so you know to stay away from them.
We don't have a restaurant supplier in my town but I'll do some research to see what's close by.

We do have what is apparently the "cadillac of hoods" which we were required to install when we expanded out kitchen space three years ago so thankfully I don't need to worry about that!

How much volume are you doing?
We currently have 3 double ovens which are pretty much all working 8 hours a day while my bakers are here, usually different items for different times. Although we do bake most everything at 350.

Thanks for your help!
 
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Joined Jun 9, 2019
Yep super frustrating.
My local inspector who is pretty difficult even tried to help me see if I could file a variance. She looked into it and every business that has attempted has been told NO! I asked if I could slowly replace them? Nope, they all need to be replaced by inspection next June!
 
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Joined Jan 9, 2019
Not sure where you live/local bylaws.
But, if you've been doing this for 22 years, there may be a legal/grandfather clause.
If they're d*cks about it, call the local media/news team & squawk about the fact that X employees will now be unemployed and the shop will now be shut down after 22 years of local business.. due to this new bylaw? ( might get some attention)
G'luck! :)
 
5,364
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Not sure where you live/local bylaws.
But, if you've been doing this for 22 years, there may be a legal/grandfather clause.
If they're d*cks about it, call the local media/news team & squawk about the fact that X employees will now be unemployed and the shop will now be shut down after 22 years of local business.. due to this new bylaw? ( might get some attention)
G'luck! :)
Might not be a good idea. Health boys might state a few facts when interviewed by the media, like household appliances are not rated for continuous/commercial use and probability of a fire is far higher than with commercial eqpt. Or the fact that buying household eqpt like toasters, mini fridges, and microwaves every year instead of commercial eqpt. every fifteen years is expensive and contributes to landfill
 
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Joined May 25, 2015
Gas or electric? I don't know anything about where you are and the space you occupy or your operation but usually it's the building/fire inspector, your insurance company as well as your land lord who are going to have issues with what you are doing. But I guess your HD inspector has that authority.

Gas is definitely going to require a hood and a fire suppression system. It may also require an upgrade to your gas service. However it may also be that you won't need as much equipment as you have now (what do you have?) because commercial ovens can handle a lot more than you are going to get in a residential oven. Just guessing, but what are we talking about here, maybe a 4 burner cooktop and a Blodgett oven?

I wouldn't complain too much because I think they let you skate for 22 years. You should have known better back then that you don't use residential appliances in a commercial setting, or at least you could have upgraded over the years little by little instead of having a year to do it all.
 
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Joined Feb 18, 2007
For what it's worth, it could be a blessing in disguise. You already have the ventilation so that's less of an expense to face. You can go check out convection ovens and see if you can get away with a double stack to replace at least two of the ovens; use this opportunity to decide if you have room for a double stack convection and then a 4 or 6 burner range/oven combination. You are in a decent position in terms of timing; you have a year to do this instead of them saying you have to come into compliance in a shorter timeframe. In my area, a change in ownership triggers the "come up to code" where a business that may have operated for 10+ years now has to become current with the most recently accepted code. So the fact that you are already in compliance makes it easier if you ever decided you wanted to sell.....
 
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Joined Feb 18, 2007
PS, in my experience it's better to buy local and not online. If you buy online, they send a freight company to your door and drop stuff off outside. End of Story. You have to bring it in, get it placed, installed, etc. It's worth the additional expense of buying from a local restaurant supply house, having them deliver it, set it up and get it working properly. You buy online, you have to fight the vendor if there are problems. When I bought my ovens, I was sorely tempted to buy the same thing from an online vendor (it might have been BigTray at the time, this was 10 years ago) or even from the used equipment dealer; but I chose to buy new, from a local place and they took care of everything. All I had to do was show up and watch. The used place would have done the same thing but I didn't like the ovens they had. You didn't ask so my apologies for this suggestion - but always buy refrigeration new. You don't need someone else's headache when it comes to refrigeration. And used refrigeration is ALWAYS a headache.
 
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Joined Jan 9, 2019
Lots of other of forum views on this, ie
https://www.thebuildingcodeforum.co...appliances-used-in-commercial-buildings.5963/

It seems most bylaw/codes are more concerned with ventilation, esp. with burners, but could differ if one only uses the oven..

Might want to see a copy of the actual building (and health code) in your jurisdiction, ie:
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/appeals/index.cfm?action=entry&appeal_id=15014

https://lakecountry.civicweb.net/document/74651

Seems some health inspectors want NSF, others not.
Locally, they seem more interested in food & waste storage, dishwashing and that the appliances get to the required temp.
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Oh geez....

Look, NSF (and UL in Canada) are recognized by.... (drum roll please)...

Insurance companies!
The motto/mantra of all insurance companies is: Pay as little as late as possible.

What that means in real life is that IF a fire is started in a commercial kitchen and the Fire dept “ determines” the fire was started by a non-NSF/UL approved appliance, the insurance co. won’t pay. It also means other insurance co.s can’t sue your insurance co to pay for damage caused to adjoining properties/suites. Which makes you very unpopular with the landlord and neighbors.

Health dept might not be looking for NSF approved cooking appliances, but they are definitely looking for NSF approved sinks, prewash and landing tables, dishwashers, tables, counters, and shelving.
 
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Joined May 25, 2015
NSF is and abbreviation for the National Sanitary Foundation. They make sure that the manufacturers of commercial food service equipment is made so that through cleaning and sanitizing of the item or equipment can be done. Further, they won't allow nooks and crevices where food, grease or other foreign matter can accumulate, decay and contaminate the food. So NSF approval is something the HD would be looking for and possibly the insurance company looking to avoid claims from customers over food borne illness or tainted food.

UL is a testing organization that makes sure items are safe for use in there intended application. In this case you will not see a consumer range approved for use in a commercial establishment. Consumer ranges are not designed to stand up to the use a commercial kitchen requires and can cause safety issues when things start to fail. Using equipment that does not have the required UL listing for it's use/location will certainly cause your insurance company to deny claims or cancel coverage.
 
683
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Joined May 25, 2015
What's the problem with the ovens that you have been using since you started?
It's their duty but you should question them on your behalf first.
It's quite clear that she should never have been using them in the first place. Now it finally caught up with her.
 
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
Halb. It's not clear to me at all. Everyone but the original poster has an explanation. Given the vagaries I've experienced with my local health department I'd like to know why they "let it slide" for 22 years and now it's suddenly an issue.
Either it's okay or it's not. The HD will cite you for numerous things like food stored in the danger zone, evidence of pests, etc. every time they observe those things. No one gets a pass for 22 years for a 55 degree walk in.
If an answer is to be had, I'd like to hear one from the original posters' health department.
 
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Joined May 25, 2015
If an answer is to be had, I'd like to hear one from the original posters' health department.
I agree. Even if I understood that I had to make the changes the very first question would have been why are you telling me this now?
 
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Meh... the mysterious ways of the health dept....
before 2014 I used to clear out my own grease trap. That year the h.d. told me on my annual inspection that I had to show proof of having the trap cleaned every 4 mths by a licensed co. No explanation given—and I never asked why. Last place I worked, the inspector insisted we couldn’t store food in plastic pickle/mayo buckets, we had to buy dedicated food storage containers. The two other hotels on the same block that were obviously in the same inspectors area had no problems with using pickle/mayo buckets— but I think this had something to do with our brave & fearless Chef royally p*ssing the inspector off.

In my neck of the woods the inspectors are rotated every 2 years to a new territory, I guess that has something to do with Rolling Stones and moss ( auto type capitilized Rolling Stones 5 times before I gave up...). Maybe that’s the reason why....
 
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Joined May 25, 2015
That sounds like the most likely explanation. New inspector, new supervisor, new policies- nothing is going to stay the same over 22 years.
 
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Joined Jun 9, 2019
Health dept might not be looking for NSF approved cooking appliances, but they are definitely looking for NSF approved sinks, prewash and landing tables, dishwashers, tables, counters, and shelving.[/QUOTE]

They are definitely looking for NSF cooking appliances. Absolutely no exceptions! I've tried to speak with my local inspector so many different times about it and there's just no give.
I do understand the fire and insurance backdoor stuff and it's frustrating.
We're headed to a test kitchen today to try out some ovens, just need to find some money!
 

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