convection oven

Your Convection Oven Buying Guide

A convection oven is a must-have for every commercial kitchen, from bakeries to restaurants. The machine’s ability to cook large batches faster and with better consistency makes a convection oven an invaluable tool that a commercial kitchen can’t do without.

When it’s time to buy a commercial convection oven, do you know what you’re looking for?

convection oven

Find the appliance that will meet your production needs and deliver on quality — an oven that both fits into your kitchen (literally and figuratively!) and your long-term expectations.

Selecting the Size

Size is an important consideration — you must know the dimensions of your kitchen space before you go shopping. You will quickly realize you have three main options:

  • Countertop ovens
  • Half-size ovens
  • Full-size ovens

Countertop and half-size ovens will have a width large enough to accommodate a half-size sheet pan, but only a full-size oven will hold a full-size sheet pan.

Depth matters too — “bakery depth” ovens can fit a full-size sheet pan front to back.

But keep in mind that size doesn’t necessarily mean more power. If you only bake small batches at one time and your kitchen space is limited, countertop convection ovens can deliver the same amount of power but take up much less space.

Gas or Electric?

It’s an age-old debate: What’s a better power source for an oven, gas or electric?

Electric convection ovens are easier to install and less expensive up front, but electricity costs more than gas. Gas ovens may require a professional installation, but over time you may pay less for fuel, depending on prices in your area.

Most countertop convection ovens operate on electricity, while you can choose between gas and electric for half and full-size commercial ovens. But note that all convection ovens require an electrical power source to operate the fan.

Fan Features

A fan is a key feature of every convection oven. It’s what keeps the air circulating and helps the product cook evenly and quickly. Different models offer different types and numbers of fans. Some ovens only have one fan, but other dual-fan ovens have an auto-reverse feature that changes the direction of the fan’s rotation every time the door opens. This helps the fan’s motor wear evenly, and it increases effective airflow.

Temperature Range

Make sure you buy a convection oven that has the right temperature range for the products you bake. Some ovens can only heat up to 500 degrees, while some heat to 550 degrees. Some ovens can be set as low as 140 degrees, but some have a minimum temperature of 200 degrees.

What Does the Warranty Cover?

Reliability is an important factor in any industrial baking equipment you purchase, so buy from a dependable manufacturer with a history of making quality products that last. Also, check on the warranty before you finalize your purchase to make sure you’re receiving the coverage you need.

Trust Stratton Sales to help — we guide you expertly through the commercial convection oven buying process. Get answers to your questions, and product recommendations based on your needs. Call today for more information.

bakery maintenance

5 Great Bakery Equipment Maintenance Tips

Your bakery equipment is what keeps production rolling and the kitchen open. When it breaks down, it causes a major interruption in your work flow and a loss in sales. To minimize breakdowns, make bakery equipment maintenance a priority.

bakery maintenance

Here are five ways to keep your ovens, mixers and other equipment functioning smoothly:

1. Follow a Regular Cleaning Schedule

Above all else, the most important bakery equipment maintenance tip is to clean your machines regularly. Equipment failure is usually caused by a lack of cleaning. Not only is it unsanitary to leave particles of flour, pieces of dough and baking oils in the machine, it can also cause a buildup that impairs proper function.

Make sure the machines are cleaned after every shift, and institute a weekly or monthly in-depth cleaning schedule.

2. Clean with the Right Products

While some machines only need water for cleaning, some need soap too. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Don’t try out a new cleaning product until you’re sure it can be used with your machine.

Many equipment warranties are conditional, based on whether maintenance instructions were followed correctly. This includes cleaning the machine properly. If it’s proven that the machine’s problems are due to user error, you could lose warranty coverage.

3. Perform Preventive Maintenance

Inspect your machines during the in-depth cleaning sessions and check on all the visible parts. If you see that some pieces are worn, loose or need oiling, take care of it right then. Staying proactive with repairs will also help minimize breakdowns. Taking care of the little issues will help prevent larger problems.

4. Stock Up on Spare Parts

It’s not a bad idea to order backup spare parts for your oven or mixer. Whether it’s a belt or blade, having a stash can help shorten the time your bakery equipment is idle. You won’t have to wait for the part to arrive — you’ll just have to call a repair service and hopefully get same-day results.

5. Follow Manufacturer Usage Instructions

Make sure you fully read the operational manual and closely follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Train each member of your staff to use your bakery equipment the right way. Not only is this important for maintaining the machines, it’s essential for warranty protection.

Invest in bakery equipment that delivers value over the long-term: Call Stratton Sales today. With an impressive range of products, from ovens to mixers and more, we’re confident you’ll see years of dependable service from the bakery equipment we sell.

Menu Development Tips

Menu Development Tips — How to Add New Items for a Sales Boost

Menu development is one of the toughest jobs for any new bakery. You want to serve your customers items they will love, but you must determine what will have the widest appeal. It’s vital to reserve your creative ideas and your physical resources for items that will stand out and give sales a boost.

Menu Development Tips

Make Your Menu Stand Out

It’s easy to recreate what other bakeries in the area are doing, but it might be harder to do it better than they can. It’s difficult to stand out from the crowd, but that’s exactly what thoughtful menu development helps you do.

By rethinking old favorites or reworking traditional ideas with a modern take, you’re more likely to tempt your customers into taking a bite. Still, you need balance. It’s good to be unique, but it’s also good to offer your customers comforting favorites they know and love.

It’s All in the Presentation

From how you describe your item to what you name it to the font you print it in on your menu —all these factors affect its presentation and your customer’s perception of the product. If you’re working on menu development, why not take a step back and look at your entire physical menu? Could you improve your printed materials? Could you enhance your descriptions of all your items?

Presentation is key to successful selling, and no menu development strategy will work without a thoughtful approach to this.

Professional Photos Are a Must

Will you include photos of your new item in your marketing materials? Don’t settle for subpar! Invest in professional food photography and put your bakery’s best impression forward. Skip the smartphone camera pictures — they don’t show the delectable details, the ones that will truly sell your products.

Accurately Estimate Your Menu Price Range

Part of menu development is figuring out an accurate price tag for your new product. Once you assess all your overhead, you’ll be able to find your “break-even” point. Then consider how much you think your customers will be willing to pay. This is your menu price range, and it’s smart to stick within this dollar amount so you can make sales while still making a profit.

Coordinate the Release of New Items with Your Marketing Strategy

If you’re sending out free coupons as part of a direct mail marketing strategy, coordinate the release of your newest product so first-time visitors get the full experience of everything you can do with your culinary skillset. It will keep them coming back for more!

Stratton Sales provides a wide range of commercial-grade equipment for bakeries of all sizes. You focus on menu development — we’ll focus on outfitting your kitchen with the machines you need to succeed!

starting a bakery

Starting a Bakery: Budget for What’s Important

If starting a bakery has always been your dream, you might be thinking now is the time to make it a reality. The excitement of the early mornings and the flour-covered aprons are your life’s goal coming to fruition.

But you have to be well prepared in order for your project to become a success. Starting a bakery sounds magical, but it’s hard work.

starting a bakery

One of the most important aspects of starting a bakery is budgeting. You need to make sure you’re spending your money wisely, in ways that will pay off.

What Does Your Budget Look Like?

First, think about your bakery budget. How much money do you have for equipment, marketing and day-to-day operations?

Once you know how much capital it will take to get up and running, figure out what your monthly break-even number is; that is, how much you have to earn in order for the bakery to support itself.

When you’re fully aware of all budget realities, it’s easier to forecast how much you have to spend on equipment and how much you should spend on leasing retail space.

Think About Branding … But Don’t Go Overboard

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting a bakery is to spend too much money on branding. It’s exciting to choose logos and order branded supplies, but it’s not required for success.

It’s wiser to invest more time and money in producing quality products. Your work will speak for itself. As long as your customers know how, when and where to find you, you can wait to spend money on branding once you start increasing your profit margin.

Get the Locals Involved

An easy way to market that doesn’t involve any sort of advertising is simply getting out in the local community. Offer to cater a local sports event or provide refreshments for a school or community activity. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth.

You Need Supplies

What will make your daily operations flow smoothly and more productively is having the right supplies on hand. Storage containers, shelving, trays, bins … the list goes on. Supplies are a great investment. They help you stay organized and focused and develop a quality production system.

Quality Equipment Is Paramount to Success

Finally, you need durable, high-quality equipment to support your efforts when starting a bakery. You need ovens that bake exactly to your recipe’s specifications and mixers that can handle demand. Don’t waste money on subpar equipment that will only break down and cause major headaches — purchase right the first time.

How We Can Help

Stratton Sales supports small business owners who are starting a bakery by offering 90-day, no-payment financing, subject to credit approval. We offer loan approval in seconds, allowing you to purchase quality equipment from our wide selection of products and machines. We also offer consulting, setup and installation services. Contact us today for more information and help with this next exciting chapter in your life!