Comparison of Electric Vs. Gas Flat Grills in Restaurants

A gas combination flat top grill may be chosen based on space restrictions.
A gas combination flat top grill may be chosen based on space restrictions. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

As long as there have been chefs in modern professional kitchens, there has been the debate among them as to which is the preferable means of cooking, gas or electric. There are valid arguments for both, but before consulting anyone else, this question should first be posed to the wielder of the instrument. The decision on which to utilize, however, is often based on budget considerations rather than on operating preference.

Chef Preference

As with any tool that is utilized by an artist, each will have a preference for one or another based on his background and experience. This should be taken into consideration when making a decision for any type of equipment that goes into a restaurant. The chef must not only utilize this equipment to showcase her talents, but must also be comfortable enough to maintain it and fix minor problems on the spot, to avert costly visits from a repair person.

Energy Access Options

Many restaurants today are developed out of small locations that may have been former homes or retail outlets. These restaurants have limited utility access, and the access may determine what type of flat grill can be implemented. If there is adequate gas supply available, vs. bringing in another electrical service, then it is most likely more cost effective to go with the gas unit, providing adequate ventilation is available.

Space Limitations

Square footage in any restaurant is a very valuable commodity, and how it is utilized can greatly impact a business's bottom line. Should space be a factor, an owner may decide to go with an electrical unit simply because it can be placed pretty much anywhere in the restaurant where it will not create a fire hazard, rather than being dependent on access to a gas line.

Operating Costs

Should all other aspects be irrelevant, this is usually the biggest question a restaurant owner will ask when making this type of decision. In the United States gas is typically cheaper to utilize and easier on the environment than an equivalent electrical source, whereas in other parts of the world gas supply may be difficult to acquire, so electric equipment by default would be selected since its operating costs would be lower in that area.

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