Get Up to Speed on High-Speed Oven Maintenance

Read up on technicians' tips to keep your high-speed oven moving right along.

SpeedOven
Letting a high-speed oven’s cooking cycle finish is more important than you might think. Courtesy of Merrychef.

High-speed ovens can swiftly cook, toast or rethermalize many menu items—from toasted paninis and breakfast sandwiches to grilled pineapple and roasted vegetables. Plus, most models boast a relatively small footprint, making them an easy fit for many operations.

But you’ll want to study the manufacturer-specific fine print, urge service technicians, or you could have issues from Day 1. Here, technicians share some common and unusual mishaps concerning high-speed ovens:

REMEMBER: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Improper oven placement persists as the top mistake technicians see with high-speed ovens, says Adam Stockwell, area manager East—specialty division with Turbo Technicians, a Smart Care Equipment Solutions company. “These ovens are billed as small, compact countertop units in many cases,” Stockwell says. “This often leads operators to consider them more like a microwave than an oven. … [High-speed ovens] require room to breathe; cramming them in a tight spot often leads to issues. That supply of fresh cool air helps to prolong the life of the electronics that are critical to the operation of these ovens.” Follow recommendations for minimum space requirements to save yourself the headache and cost of repairs caused by improper cooling.

DON’T RUSH IT. High-speed ovens work quickly, but employees still grow impatient, sometimes cutting cooking cycles short to get food out faster. While helpful in the short-term, the long-term impact can take a toll, explains Robert Malmstrom, field service technician for Hagar Restaurant Service’s Midwest region. The abrupt stop caused by opening a door mid-cooking can damage the relays that energize the circuits, he says, and eventually cause the fuse for the circuit to blow. And speaking of doors, take care not to slam them, he adds, noting that the mistreatment of these ovens’ doors are often apparent on service calls.

HEED ERROR MESSAGES. Units displaying alerts for microwave circuit issues or door safety circuit issues mark a common service call, says Malmstrom. “As speed ovens also produce microwaves, there is a lot of components that go into verifying the door is shut and safe to produce microwaves,” he says. “Most fixes to doors are fairly quick and typically involve replacement switches.” Without that quick fix, however, a product’s center won’t be warmed as desired, rendering the unit ineffective at what it does best.

BE AWARE. Though not frequent, Stockwell says he’s seen foreign items—like cutting knives and food safety thermometers—accidentally end up in a high-speed oven’s cavity. “The repairs are often quite extensive,” he says. “Most of these items are plastic and the greatest damage comes from the molten plastic gluing the inner parts together, making it almost impossible for the location to clean without a technician’s assistance.” Depending on the extent of damage, the fix can range from a few hours’ downtime for a technician-assisted cleaning process to a total loss. “Once a fire extinguisher is used, the repairs can often be so costly as to warrant replacing the entire appliance,” Stockwell says.

The bottom line? Educate yourself and your staff on how to properly use and clean your high-speed oven. “We like to tell our customers, when cared for as intended, these ovens will excel at what they are designed to do and amaze your customers with truly rapidly cooked food,” Stockwell says. “When used improperly, they will remind you with the opposite outcome.”

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