Common Commercial Oven Issues, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the specific potential causes of an oven that won’t heat properly.Commercial ovens have several important elements, and a lack of proper heating could signal issues in several different possible areas.

At Stratton Sales, we offer commercial baking equipment repair services for this and numerous other possible problems. We’ve seen every heat-related issue you can think of with a commercial oven, and we know how to diagnose the problem and provide you with an efficient, long-term solution. Today, we’ll zoom out a bit on this subject:There are a few specific heating concerns that may take place in your oven beyond “it won’t heat at all,” and these often give you good clues about which elements might be causing the root problem. Let’s go over a couple common scenarios to look out for here.

Not Cooking Evenly

In some cases, ovens will cook your desired baking products,but will not cook them evenly. Some pieces might be toasty brown while others are full-on burned, but still others aren’t coloured at all. To confirm that this is the issue taking place in your oven, do a test using products or materials that have to spread out horizontally – a batch of cookies is a good example, or a baked cake.

The most common cause of this issue is the first one we mentioned in part one of this blog: Issues with the heating elements in the oven. You can do a quick visual test to see if all your heating elements are glowing the proper shade of red to see whether this is the problem. If not,check your temperature sensors and see if they need to be replaced.

In still other cases, the issue might just be getting used to your new oven a little bit more. You might be placing your oven racks inefficiently, for instance, or performing some part of the maintenance process incorrectly in a way that leads to uneven heat. Spend some time figuring out howto bake and rotate items within the oven.

Wrong Temperature

In other cases, the temperature of the oven is consistent throughout – but it’s simply the wrong temperature. This can lead to food being over- or under-cooked, which can have a big impact on your business.

Once again, the first thing to check here is the temperature sensor. Make sure it isn’t touching the inside wall of the oven, which will get much hotter than the rest of the space. If this isn’t the issue, you can use a device called an ohmmeter to test the sensor’s performance. Finally, if none of this does the trick, you may need to manually calibrate the oven’s temperature using your own separate thermometer – our pros can help here if you’re concerned about doing this yourself.

For more on addressing an oven that isn’t heating properly,or to learn about any of our commercial bakery equipment services or supplies,speak to the pros at Stratton Sales today.

Common Commercial Oven Issues, Part 1

At Stratton Sales, we’re proud to be your go-to experts when it comes to repair for commercial bakery equipment. No matter what your issue is, large or small, we can assess the problem and help you find the most cost-effective solution. 

common commercial oven issues

There are a few different issues that might present themselves when speaking specifically about your commercial oven, and we can address all of them for you. In this two-part blog, we’ll go over a few of the most common such issues and what might need to be done about them – in part one here, we’ll discuss one specific issue: An oven that won’t heat up. There are several distinct sub-causes here that you should be aware of. Let’s take a look.

Defective Heating Elements

Commercial ovens use multiple heating elements to create the required temperature for baking, and the most common reason they struggle to heat up properly is that one or more of these elements isn’t working the right way. First check to ensure that your oven is set to the proper setting, then look to see if all your heating elements are glowing red – this is a telltale sign that they are working.

If one or more elements isn’t working, it may need to be replaced. In other cases, electrical issues in the wiring may be causing this element to be faulty, and you might just need to have a few things tweaked. 

Igniter Issues

In other cases, the bake ignitor might be the reason your oven isn’t heating up. This is a more common issue when the oven simply won’t heat at all, rather than only heating partially. 

If you think this is your issue, first shut off the gas to your oven and pull it away from the wall. Find the ignitor, which is located on the back of the oven. You will then need to use an item called a multimeter to detect whether the ignitor has power – our pros can help with this if you’re unsure how. 

Sensor or Bulb Problems

Most modern ovens have sensors that monitor and control temperatures, but these can go out and not display correctly. Other ovens without sensors, though, use a temperature-sensing bulb to control temperature – but again, this can go out or become loose. 

Thermostat and Calibration

If you’ve tried all of the above with no success, consider your thermostat and selector switches. The former might be defective or just sticking, while the latter might be defective and stopping you from switching between various cooking settings.

Furthermore, your oven may need to be calibrated. This is done using a dial on the back of your temperature knob, or sometimes at the bottom of the small shaft. For more on what the causes of your oven not heating might be, or to learn about any of our commercial ovens or other baking equipment, speak to the pros at Stratton Sales today. 

kitchen equipment matters ROI

Why Kitchen Equipment Matters for ROI

2018 holiday baking trends

2018 Holiday Baking Trends

Fall is upon us with winter quickly on the way, and for the professional bakers among us, this is an exciting time of year. The cool season is associated with several notable baking trends and yearly stand-bys, including a few seasonal elements that aren’t too popular at other times of the year.

At Stratton Sales, when we aren’t helping provide you with high-quality baking and industrial kitchen equipment or offering technical support for these products, we can help offer expertise on some of the more fun elements of baking – such as seasonal holiday baking trends for the year 2018. Here are a few to consider, including a couple that are popular every year around this time.

Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkin is most popular right around Halloween, but it continues to be a great baking choice throughout the winter. Part of the draw here is absolutely the seasonal, limited-time nature – people know they only have so long before pumpkin products aren’t on the shelves anymore, and they get very excited about buying them.

You might consider pumpkin spice brownies, which will then incentivize your customers to come right back for candy cane brownies or other Christmas treats. Using this seasonal fad as a way to introduce clients to some of your best offerings is a great strategy for adding to your business.

Warm, Savory Flavors

During the cooler parts of the year, we all seek comfort and happiness from warm things. Think of curling up in blankets by the fire during a snowstorm, for instance – the cold makes getting warm feel all that much better.

This can be applied to your baking themes as well. Consider flavor accents like bacon, smoke and bourbon, each of which add a warm nuance to your baked goods. Even if these aren’t the primary flavors in your products, using them as a little texture will subconsciously draw clients back to your products.

Exotic Donut Fillings

Donuts are a great winter treat, and getting creative with the fillings is all the rage in recent years. If you already have great donuts, consider pairing them with new fillings like lavender, hibiscus, rose or other floral notes. If you want to go a bit more botanical instead, consider flavors like basil, thyme or rosemary.

Ruby Chocolate

White chocolate was the last major chocolate invention over 80 years ago, but there’s a new one making the rounds: Ruby chocolate. This is a pink-tinted chocolate with a berry flavor, all from the natural Ruby cocoa bean. This earthy origin and unique flavor is making ruby chocolate more and more popular, and could be a great way to draw new customers this winter.

For more on holiday and winter baking trends for 2018, or to learn about any of our bakery equipment or supplies, speak to the staff at Stratton Sales today.

maximizing bakery space

Maximizing Your Bakery Space

Like any other business, the primary goal of a bakery is to turn a profit. This is done in several ways, primarily through addressing customer needs and filling them with great service and responsiveness.

At Stratton Sales, we’re here to help your bakery succeed by providing you with the highest quality baking supplies to service your customers with. We can also provide repair and maintenance for this equipment as needed, ensuring you’re never at risk of falling behind on your bakery’s demands. Best of all, we can help you with some of the detail and planning items that go into optimizing your bakery and the space you have. Arranging equipment and storage areas properly can make the difference between a profit and a loss due to the way it impacts efficiency. Let’s look at some important themes when it comes to arranging your bakery.

Survey the Space

Before you make any big purchases or installations of equipment, take some time to survey the space in detail. Walk it through from front to back, identifying primary areas where certain important work or storage areas might go. Envision the various processes you need to go through for your different baking needs, then think about how you and your employees will need to move around in the space.

In addition, look for a few practical items. Identify your electrical outlets early on, as they’re an important factor in dictating where certain equipment like ovens and mixers will go. Once you’ve done this, you can be a bit more precise about planning for the size of larger items like your oven or prep spaces.

Assess Storage Options

Another important area to consider as you’re moving through the space is where storage will be coordinated. Are there separate rooms that might serve well as primary storage areas? If not, you will have to consider how setting up shelves and cabinets will work given the rest of your needs. Try to overestimate here – things like pans, baking materials and other pieces of equipment take up a lot of space, and the last thing you want is to be overloaded on storage. Making things simple and easy to find will save you both time and money.

Consider Flow

When your profits depend on your ability to meet capacity goals, every bit of efficiency matters. A few extra seconds or minutes to accomplish a given process may not seem like much at first, but when you multiply this by the dozens or hundreds of times these processes are repeated per day, suddenly you’re looking at a major loss in productivity.

This is why considering the flow of your bakery is vital. Think about the common steps employees have to take while doing their jobs, then create a layout that optimizes the ease of these steps. In particular, the prep table, oven and proof box should all be close enough together that you can move between the three easily.

For more on how to arrange your bakery to maximize efficiency, or to learn about any of our industrial kitchen equipment, speak to the pros at Stratton Sales today.

essential equipment bakery

Essential Equipment for Every Bakery

Any bakery, large or small, needs the proper equipment to operate both safely and efficiently. Just like a homebuilder can’t work without tools, a great baker and staff can’t accomplish their goals and serve their clients without the right baking materials.

At Stratton Sales, we’re here to provide your bakery with all these products. We source from the top manufacturers in the industry to bring you the highest quality bakery supplies, from mixers and dough trays to commercial ovens and industrial kitchen equipment. Our experts are in tune with the most important needs of your space – here are five vital pieces of baking equipment that virtually any bakery needs.

Mixer

If you’re a bakery that uses its own dough – which most bakeries do – you absolutely must have a bakery mixer on hand. Mixers use a gear-driven arm that rotates in circular motions, helping stir, whisk and beat dough and other materials as they’re being prepared. This arm is attached to a set of beaters, which do the actual mixing, but these beaters can also be replaced with a dough hook to help with kneading.

Our dough mixers come with timers and controls that allow you to specify their uses. They can run at various speeds and both clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on your needs.

Oven

Likely the first item many people think about when they hear the word “bakery,” the oven is another must-have essential in your kitchen. There are several different types of industrial and commercial ovens on the market depending on your needs, from convection ovens for sweeter treats like cakes and cookies to tunnel ovens for the largest industrial baking operations. Ask our experts about which of our ovens might be best for your space and output needs.

Proofer

The dough proofer is an item that’s used often during the process of helping dough rise. “Proofing” is a common baking term that refers to the final part of the rising process, one where the bread ferments and allows yeast to leaven the dough. The proofer’s job is to help control the heat and humidity of the dough, keeping it spread evenly across the entire product for consistent quality. Once again, there are several proofer options out there depending on your needs.

Bread Slicer

Particularly for bakeries where bread is a primary focus, the bread slicer is a must. Many of your clients will expect their bread sliced, and having these pieces of equipment also helps significantly with bagging and organizing bread. Slicers have the capability to cut into a variety of sizes and styles as you require.

Pans and Bakeware

Finally, any bakery needs clean, sanitary spaces to cook on and store things in. In general, the best bakeries look for the highest quality products here – it’s better to pay a bit more up front for the best and most durable materials, rather than going cheaper and being forced to replace more often. We have a variety of pans and other bakeware that fit different bakery sizes and needs.

For more on the most essential baking equipment materials, or to learn about any of our industrial kitchen equipment, speak to the pros at Stratton Sales today.

Commercial Oven Options

Comparing Commercial Ovens to Select the Right Equipment

Commercial ovens are a critical component of any successful bakery, restaurant or food service business.

If you’re in the market for a new oven for your business, you will have many options to choose from. It’s easy to become overwhelmed but, once you look more closely at your needs, budget and the space you have available, the choice will become less daunting.

When you have a commercial bakery equipment expert to assist you, you can be confident that your new oven will be the perfect fit for your needs as well as your budget.

Commercial Oven Considerations

Before purchasing a commercial oven, you must consider several critical factors.

Budget
Financial constraints are typically at the top of the list, especially for small businesses and startups. No matter how willing you may be to make an investment in your business, you are limited by the resources you have available. Naturally, you want to realize as many benefits as possible from your investment.

Capacity
You need a commercial oven that is large enough and powerful enough to get the job done. Otherwise, you may not be able to keep up with demand.

Logistics
The space you have available for your oven is particularly important, as you must work within the size and layout constraints of your commercial kitchen. Unless you’re willing and able to undertake a major renovation, you must choose those appliances that fit your available space.

Quality
Quality and reliability are always critical when selecting industrial or commercial kitchen equipment. You’ll want to choose those appliances that offer the greatest value for your investment. A high-quality oven will last for years or even decades, getting the job done with minimal downtime.

Types of Commercial Ovens

Because “oven” can refer to traditional designs, convection ovens, microwaves, rotisseries, combi ovens, conveyors and more, you must identify your specific needs before you begin comparison shopping.

In most commercial bakeries, standard ovens – convection or not – form the basis of the operation. However, your business model may call for other designs as well. Depending on our needs, you can choose from countertop ovens or freestanding models, including bakery deck ovens and bakery convection ovens.

Choosing the right model of commercial oven is critical to the future of your business. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it all out on your own.

Stratton Sales represents the world’s finest commercial kitchen equipment manufacturers, supplying commercial bakery and industrial kitchen equipment in Utah and throughout the United States. To provide a full-service experience for our customers, we also offer expert commercial bakery equipment maintenance and repair services.

We can help you assess your needs and work with you on the logistics of kitchen layout and workflow. Whatever you need to make your bakery business a success, the Stratton Sales team will be there for you. Contact us today for help with all your commercial oven, industrial kitchen and bakery equipment needs.

Commercial Bakery Equipment Hobart

Troubleshooting a Hobart Mixer

Commercial bakery equipment is designed and manufactured to provide years of reliable use.

When you use your equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions and keep up with the recommended maintenance regimen, you’ll enjoy consistent quality with very little downtime. However, no matter how diligent you are, you’re bound to have the occasional glitch in equipment that you use daily.

Hobart mixers are a standard in commercial bakeries, thanks to this brand’s quality and durability. If yours starts to give you trouble, you can take some preliminary steps to troubleshoot the problem before you place a commercial mixer repair call.

If Your Mixer Is Making Unusual Noises

Nothing sends a commercial baking operation into a frenzy like a mixer that starts making unusual squealing, squeaking or grinding sounds.

This may indicate a loose bolt or a dry seal. If you regularly lubricate the planetary seal, you’re unlikely to experience this problem. However, if you haven’t done so in a while, you can try rubbing some mineral oil into the seal.

Usually, however, the sudden development of a strange noise coming from any piece of commercial bakery equipment should send you straight to the phone to schedule a visit from the repair tech.

If Your Mixer Has No Power

Whenever commercial bakery equipment has no power, start by checking the breaker and making sure the mixer is plugged in. You may roll your eyes at this request but you’d be surprised by how often equipment gets unplugged in a commercial setting.

Next, check to make sure everything is seated properly. If the bowl isn’t in the right position or if the protective wire cage isn’t placed correctly, your mixer won’t start.

If everything is plugged in and properly situated, you may have overheated the motor. Try letting it sit for 15 or 20 minutes and try again. If that doesn’t work, call your commercial baking equipment repair professional.

If Your Mixer Bowl or Dough Hook Won’t Seat Properly

If the mixer bowl won’t latch properly into place, check the latches and tabs to make sure they haven’t gotten inadvertently bent.  If the dough hook won’t go into place, check to see if you have buildup on the spindle. If so, clean it off to resolve the problem.

For other problems, refer to the troubleshooting section of your user’s manual. If you don’t find the answers you need, don’t waste any more time trying to resolve the situation yourself.

Stratton Sales supplies industrial kitchen and commercial bakery equipment in Utah and throughout the U.S. We also provide commercial baking equipment repair and maintenance. Our experienced repair technicians can quickly troubleshoot your mixer and complete the necessary repairs, getting you and your team back to work. Call on the Stratton Sales team for all your bakery equipment and supplies as well as commercial bakery equipment repair.

When Your Bakery Equipment Breaks Down — Repair or Replace

When Your Bakery Equipment Breaks Down — Repair or Replace?

Deciding to repair or replace your bakery equipment is not an easy choice to make. Your mixers, ovens, proofers, and sheeters represent a significant investment in your business — perhaps the largest single-dollar purchase you make in the course of running a bakery or commercial kitchen.

So how do you decide when you’re done with repairs and it’s time to start shopping for replacements?

When Your Bakery Equipment Breaks Down — Repair or Replace

Is Your Commercial Kitchen Equipment Safe?

As long as your commercial mixers, ovens, dough dividers, dough proofers and bread slicers do not pose any safety risk to you or your staff, you may not have to replace them just yet.

Does Your Bakery Equipment Still Produce?

Has your production suffered any drop-offs? When you can no longer produce at the same rate, this can directly affect your bottom line. Your equipment could be costing you more than you think.

Can You Still Get Parts for Your Equipment?

How easy is it to get replacement parts for your bakery equipment? If your repair technician struggles constantly to source your parts, it may be time to consider replacement.

Does Your Equipment Still Meet Your Needs?

Do you have the bakery equipment you need to make what’s on your menu? If you’ve adapted over the years to make less-than-ideal equipment work for your needs, it may be time to consider an upgrade.

How Much Are You Spending on Repairs?

Although we have no hard-and-fast formula to answer this question, we often recommend our customers look at it as they would a used car. How long do you keep pouring money into repairs when the equipment is hardly worth what the repairs cost? You can do a cost analysis yourself, but getting input from a trusted manufacturer and distributor can help ensure your calculations are accurate and up-to-date.

How Can You Put Off Replacing Your Industrial Kitchen Equipment?

To ensure your industrial kitchen and bakery equipment lasts as long as possible, start out with a good foundation. Purchase the very best equipment, even if it stretches your budget a bit.

Remember, spending a little more upfront can save you time, money and hassle for years to come.

The second way to ensure your bakery equipment remains in good working condition for as long as possible is to have regular preventive maintenance and repairs performed by a qualified professional.

In addition to providing the highest-quality industrial kitchen equipment available today, Stratton Sales also offers commercial baking equipment repair and maintenance services. A highly respected industry leader in northern Utah, we are committed to exceptional customer service and satisfaction. Contact us today for help in determining whether you should repair or replace your commercial restaurant or industrial bakery equipment.

Commercial Bakery Equipment Layout & Floorplan Tips

If you’re designing a new commercial bakery equipment layout — or updating your old floorplan — the decisions you make now can affect your productivity and profitability for years (or even decades) to come.

Industrial engineers spend years learning the theory and practice of space planning for the foodservice industry, and you can expect to pay for that experience if you call on one to assist you with your equipment layout. You could save a little money by purchasing a floorplan online, or you could place your trust in someone who knows the industry inside and out — your commercial kitchen equipment supplier.

Commercial Bakery Equipment Layout & Floorplan Tips

Using a Commercial Bakery Equipment Planning Consultant

Large, multinational corporations use industrial engineers and space-planning consultants to design their commercial kitchens, but the cost can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

For most startups and smaller commercial bakery operations, this expense simply isn’t practical, as nice as it might be to have. Many independent bakery owners also find that industrial consultants lack a clear understanding of their challenges as a locally owned and operated business.

Purchasing a Commercial Bakery Equipment Layout

A quick internet search will turn up dozens of commercial kitchen planning programs and hundreds of pre-existing commercial kitchen plans.

Although this can be a great source of ideas for you, you’ll want to think twice before you break out your credit card. These plans can cost as much as $5,000 or more, and having changes made will add to the cost.

Because every bakery’s space is unique, the chances are slim that one of those plans can work for you without modification. Your local building department likely also has unique requirements, so if you will be submitting your equipment layout to the city for a permit, you could be wasting your money on a pre-drawn floorplan.

Call on Your Commercial Bakery Equipment Sales Consultant

You could shell out a little money or a lot of money — or you could save yourself all that expense and trust someone who knows the answers better than anyone else — a bakery equipment sales expert.

Bakery and restaurant equipment suppliers know the industry better than anyone. Not only can your sales consultant help you select the right commercial ovens, dough proofers and dividers, commercial mixers and bread slicers, but they can also provide invaluable input for your floorplan and equipment layout.

But here’s the best part — many industrial kitchen equipment suppliers will assist you with space planning at no cost, as long as you purchase your equipment from them. Or, if they do charge a fee, it’s likely to be minimal as compared to a professional consultant.

Before you shell out a large consulting fee — or purchase a canned kitchen floorplan on the internet — contact Stratton Sales. As a highly respected supplier of industrial kitchen equipment for more than half a century, we know a thing or two about layouts and space planning in the commercial kitchen. We also represent the finest equipment manufacturers in the world, and because we understand your challenges, we even offer financing options to help make your dream a reality. When you’re ready to launch your new bakery or upgrade your existing space, contact Stratton Sales for all your commercial bakery equipment needs.

How to Transition from Food Truck to Brick-and-Mortar Restaurant

How to Transition from Food Truck to Brick-and-Mortar Restaurant

When you own a food truck, the mobile, flexible lifestyle is part of the magic. But maybe you’re starting to think bigger and considering the possibility of putting down roots — a permanent place that you don’t pack up at the end of lunch hour.

The prospect of leveraging your food truck’s success into a brick-and-mortar restaurant is a huge change, both personally and professionally, so in order to make it a success, remember a few important points.

How to Transition from Food Truck to Brick-and-Mortar Restaurant

Stay True to Concept

Whether you’ll use your restaurant as the home base for your continual food truck service or you’re shutting down mobile operations altogether in favor of a permanent parked home, stick to the core values that made your food truck a success in the first place.

So many food truck owners get excited that their kitchen size is larger and they have more capabilities that they drastically expand their menu until their original idea becomes hard to find. Keep the concepts that have worked for you in the past — this is one of the surest indicators your restaurant will have success.

Use Your Knowledge of What Works

You learned a lot during your food truck days that can translate to a physical restaurant.

What’s the best place to get the most foot traffic? What hours are the busiest? Keep them the same for your brick-and-mortar location. Since you have some experience, you have an advantage: you don’t have to go through quite the same lengthy testing phase as a new restaurant.

Manage Your Cash Flow Wisely

Keeping cash flow stable with a food truck operation is different than a full-scale restaurant. You need to order more inventory and you need to do it ahead of time. You need to make payroll for additional staff.

Keep a close eye on cash flow, especially in the early stages when you’re making a large upfront investment in your new location. Cash flow management is one of the most important skills, and one that will either help your new venture stay afloat or sink it.

Get Quality Equipment with Flexible Financing

One of the best ways to maximize your cash flow is to save it for the expenses you can’t put off, from paying contractors to purchasing inventory. But for the big investments such as commercial ovens and dishwashers, you can get financing from Stratton Sales and no payments for 90 days, subject to credit approval. Find out if you are eligible and start accruing the equipment you need as you transition from the food truck life.

commercial kitchen pests

How to Prevent Pests in Your Commercial Kitchen

A commercial kitchen is no place for vermin. Yet they keep trying to call it home. Rodents, flies, cockroaches — it doesn’t matter the size or the species. Any living creatures that aren’t professionally trained staff members do not belong in your domain, and it’s up to you to keep them out.

Identifying and exterminating infestations, then preventing future uninvited guests is how to keep your commercial kitchen safe, healthy and up to code.

commercial kitchen pests

Get to the Source

If you’re concerned you may have pests invading your workspace, dig deep to find out for sure.

Go to heat sources like your dishwasher or stove and look for droppings or any other signs of life. Be thorough — take apart machines when necessary, including coffee or cold drink machines and salad bars. Be vigilant in your investigation, and call in a professional exterminator with experience handling pest eradication in food service businesses.

Then it’s time to make it next to impossible for them to come back.

Cleanliness Is the First Step, Inside and Out

If you don’t have a strict cleaning routine in place, it’s time to create one, and it shouldn’t be a weekly or monthly affair; it should be daily.

Work with your team to split up tasks appropriately so it’s fair and it gets done every day you’re open, especially at the end of the night. Indoor sanitation procedures may include scrubbing floors, especially those near drains or entrances to the building. Outdoor cleanliness means ensuring the dumpster is emptied often enough and it’s rinsed out on a regular basis afterward.

Establish Effective Food Storage Guidelines

As you have probably found, it’s easy for pests of all shapes and sizes to chew through cardboard and plastic. As soon as new shipments come in the door, consider establishing a new storage procedure where all perishables are moved to glass or metal containers. This can help keep pests from both smelling the food and fighting to get to it.

Seal Cracks and Remove Moisture

Examine every nook and cranny in the room, and use a durable caulk to seal any cracks. Even tiny openings make it possible for creatures to nose their way in.

Also address standing water and leaking faucets right away. This is a definite attractor for pests both small and large.

Your Kitchen — Your Home

Your commercial kitchen’s smooth operation is a wondrous sight to see. Keep up a good offensive on pests in order to prevent them from disrupting your work, and make sure to check out Stratton Sales for equipment upgrades to further increase your business efficiency.