Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JUL 2019

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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38 FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES JULY 2019 Operators continue to watch ventless trends as manufacturers bring more ventless equipment to market, includ- ing ventless deep fryers and ventless griddle systems. Ventless griddle systems extract hot air coming off the griddle surface and run it through a series of lters before exhausting it. Mobile ventless cooking units now also exist, which can even allow operators to plug induction burners and grills into the system. The range of available ventless equipment is much broader today than even ve years ago when the most widely known pieces of equipment were combi ovens and dish- washer models that replaced the vent hood with an energy recovery system to trap and recycle steam and heat. The one obvious advantage to all ventless equipment available today is the fact that it requires no external duct- work. "Depending on what is needing to be vented and the distance [to the out- side], it can have a large cost impact for the client," says Frank Flowers, senior project manager for Inman Foodservices Group in Nashville, Tenn. Ventless can also enable cook- ing in spaces that would otherwise be difcult, notes Andrew DeLage, president of A2O Foodservice Design and Consulting in Chandler, Ariz. An example of this type of space would be one "where a Type 1 exhaust hood would be prohibitively expensive, usu- ally [where it's] more than three stories to the roof or there is no direct route to a roof," he says. Another plus to ventless equip- ment: portability. Since the equipment is not tethered to an exhaust hood, operators can move many pieces of ventless equipment, allowing for plug-and-play functionality. Several of the ventless cart cooking systems are expressly designed for mobility; some feature glass fronts and sides to give the feel of display-style cooking. Finally, a side benet of ventless cooking systems is that these items "are really good at reducing odors in facilities where food odor is consid- ered bad," says DeLage. That makes them particularly useful for sites like healthcare facilities or hotel ballrooms, where lingering odors could prove unpleasant or undesirable. The Downsides "The huge disadvantage associated with ventless equipment is that it does nothing to mitigate the heat gain produced by the equipment," says Ken Schwartz, president of SSA Inc., a hospitality design and consulting rm in Tampa, Fla. In a traditional vented system, the primary function of the hood is to remove grease particles from the air. "A secondary benet is that it's also removing latent heat from the space," he adds. With a ventless system, that heat has nowhere to go — except back into the kitchen or dining areas. If the design process does not take into account additional heat, the air conditioning system will have to work harder to compensate for the increased heat load. In addi- tion, Schwartz adds, the increase in ambient heat could affect the sensi- tive controls or electronic systems of other kitchen equipment. Another potential disadvantage to ventless cooking appliances is local regulations that may prohibit usage of gas-powered equipment without a re hood, thus limiting the opera- tor to using only electric equipment. That can be less appealing in a display cooking situation. "Arguably, there is less 'sizzle' and no –ames to see," VENTLESS DEBATES The pros, the cons and the conversations happening around ventless equipment. | By Tom O'Brien | Photo courtesy Food Service Technology Center

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