If pizza is a common item on your menu, chances are that you’ll be looking to invest in a specialty oven (if you haven’t already!). There are two main types of ovens typically used for pizzerias: conveyor ovens and deck ovens. While both styles have unique benefits, their differences set them apart from one another, forcing restaurants to choose between the two based on their individual needs. The choice between conveyor and deck oven depends on your restaurant, your needs, and what you’re willing to compromise.
Conveyor ovens get their name because of the conveyor belt that is used to transport products through the oven. The product is then transported to a resting place outside of the oven, allowing for little to no supervision during a majority of the process.
Volume: These ovens can crank out a ton of product in a short period of time, making them great for high-volume restaurants.
Labor: Because of the little supervision that is required, employees are free to complete multiple tasks while products are baking. You get more bang for your buck with labor costs!
Less Training: Because these ovens require little supervision, they’re programmed to do the job consistently right (as programmed). Thus, your employees really don’t need much training to cook the product properly, as your oven is doing most of the legwork!
Less Control: While you have the ability to program your oven to do the job, it’s a double-edged sword. What you gain in consistency, you lose in variety. You’re shackled to a single style or type of product, unable to create deep dish and New York style pizzas at the same time for instance. Less control means smaller menus.
Aficionados Disapprove: Some pizza aficionados may turn up their nose at conveyor-baked items because they don’t heat as evenly as deck style ovens.
Maintenance: With more moving parts, conveyor ovens tend to require a bit more maintenance.
Space: Because employees will need access to either ends of the conveyor, the footprint for these ovens tends to be much larger than deck style counterparts.
Deck ovens utilize a metal, stone, brick, or ceramic tile deck within an oven where an uncooked pizza is placed and heat is then transferred from the deck to the pizza. This allows for both crust and toppings to heat at the same time.
Variety: Because chefs have control over temperature and airflow, more variety can be added to your menu. Not only can you include a range of pizza types, but you can even consider cooking sandwiches and even steaks in these ovens!
Maintenance: These ovens are easy to clean and repair.
Gourmet: Not only can you serve higher-quality items in these ovens, but you can dress up the outside of the oven itself to match the decor of your upscale restaurant!
Skill: Because this oven requires staff to be properly trained, you’ll have to invest more time in finding skilled laborers and training them.
Slower: These ovens can’t crank out the production of a conveyor oven, so they may struggle during peak hours. Adding to the slowness is a long recovery time as well.
Consider the pros and cons of each type of oven and decide what will work best for your individual restaurant. If you’re unsure, it’s my job to help you find the right one for you!