Buying a conveyor oven

I am thinking about replacing my deck oven that I’ve been using for 26 years with a conveyor oven. I am not totally sold on this yet but here’s my thinking.

  1. I no longer can find good staff that can be trusted baking with the deck.
  2. I need more capacity.
    On the other side. I have a conveyor at one of my stores and I am not happy with the baking. The pizzas look better at my deck stores than at my conveyor store.

My question is: When you buy a conveyor, do they help you set the oven up for your product or am I on my own?

I would suggest calling Mike from Edge ovens and tell him what you’re looking for. They will probably bring an oven to you with multiple sets of fingers for you to test bake on. They’ll tweak their oven to get the bake you are looking for with your product. They’ll do this all in a trailer they bring to you just to help ease your mind on your transition. Don’t like the cook, send them packing. Both Qmatic and Edge did this for me and I replaced my XLT and Lincoln with a stack of Edge ovens. If they are willing to bring it to you to test bake on, why not take advantage of it.

Ditto for me. I’ve found the air impingement oven companies, all of them, most willing to work with their customers in setting up the oven properly to bake the pizza to your satisfaction. Keep in mind that the pan is a part of the baking equation too, and depending upon just what you are looking for in bake, you might need to look at baking on one of the Cloud Pattern, Hearth Bake Disks from Lloyd Pans too. These disks are designed to allow you to set these ovens up to bake at 475 to 500F to get that true hearth baked, New Your pizza bottom characteristic, if that is what you are looking for. All of the new generation, high efficiency ovens are heads and shiulders above what we had to work with a mere 5-years ago. But again, I must stress, they MUST be set up properly, or it will be an up hill battle for you.
By any chance, were you out at Pizza Expo? The XLT oven booth was baking just about everything under the sun in one of their ovens with essentially no changes to accomodate everything from pizzas (many different types) to fish, ribs, and brownies, just to name a few of the things I saw them baking. Couldn’t have around long enough to see it all.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

We use a 7 year old XLT3255 and are turning out some great pizzas! (yeah, I’m bragging) We do a butter-crust deep dish, 2" black pan…run it through with just the cheese for the first go, then finish dressing it and run it one more trip. We also do a hand-tossed “thin”, they go on the “Hearth Bake” discs Tom is talking about and I couldn’t be happier with how they turn out. I’ve done a deck years ago, and I’d never go back at this point. We’ve got ours tweaked in, it does take a few dozen test pies, but we’re consistent now at 6:00 on the belt at 465 F.

And side note to Tom…we’re selling the C*ap out of your apple dessert pizza…folks can’t get enough of them. We are currently running 4 or 5 through prior to dinner service, holding them, then running them 1/2 way through when ordered. We’re serving a fresh, hot, and might delicious apple pizza-pie in just over 3 minutes from order!

Hi sspizza

When we sell an XLT oven the factory delivers installs and if there is product available a technician who has adjusted hundreds of ovens sets the oven up to bake your product just the way you want it.

George Mills

I’ll be upgrading next year, and will give Mike & the edges first shot.

sspizza - take a good hard look @ the time & temp you running on your conveyor, that you’re not happy with…I bet if you lower the temp to 460/470 & increase the bake time to 8.3 minutes, you’ll find the results your seeking…

I’m glad to hear that the dessert apple pies are working well for you. One of my personal favorites…gee, can’t imagine why? LOL. Try offering it on a trial basis ala mode (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream) to see if you can bump up the dessert ticket a little. We have had very good success with this.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

This oven that I inherited is set for 430 and 8:00. The bottom has all 4 of the fingers that came with the oven (Middleby Marshall). The top has only 1 finger and that one has only 3 lines of holes in it and I still blocked off one row to get it from burning the top. I bake on Lloyd Pans. I use the heavy gauge coated pan. The difference I am seeing between my deck and this MM is that the crust raises more and just looks better (a more golden brown). I appreciated all your help. I am glad to know that when I buy the conveyor that they will assist me in getting it set up right.

we actually added a finger on the bottom & have 3 on top…your 3-hole finger is part of your problem - that is called a “Lightning” finger & will have a tendency to over-brown…it was designed to bump up the heat quotient for PH & their pans many yrs ago…you can buy regular fingers (more holes & don’t drop down quite as far) on Ebay - $70ish

with more fingers I believe it distributes the air better…esp @ on the bottom…also, you might consider using less sugar for better crispness…

We run ours @ 460/8:50 only 2 oz sugar in a 50# bag of flour…

This high lights one of the pro\blems I’ve been citing about buying a used oven for a good many years now. You never know who the oven was originally set up for, and in all probability, you’re going to get it with the same finger profile. In the article that I wrote on ovens, I said that all prospective buyers of used air impingement ovens should spend the time necessary to become as well informed as possible on the oven they are seeking to purchase. Go back to the manufacturer with the model and possibly even the serial number to find out what the typical finger profile they were/are using with that oven to bake your type of pizza. This type of information can shorten your learning curve dramatically.
As an example, I’ll repeat my story about the young man who was complaining, here at the T.T. that his “new” (actually used, but new to him) air impingement oven couldn’t bake a decent pizza…no way, no how! After working with him over the phone and through e-mails for a couple days, he still said “no way”. With this I asked for the serial number of his oven and I called a friend of mine at the manufacturer, and asked if she could check to see who the oven was originally built for and what the oven profile was. Turns out, the oven was built for a major seafood chain, with a proprietary profile developed specifically for them. What do you think the chances of this profile also baking a decent pizza were? So, after we changed out most of the top and bottom fingers, at a significant additional cost, the oven was baking pizzas, now, to his satisfaction. But he was more than a little upset with the company that sold him his “pizza” oven. Just like when buying a used car, “BUYER BEWARE”. Used ovens can, and usually are a good deal, but know what you are buying before signing on the bottom line.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Hi sspizza

As Tom the Dough Doctor Has amply demonstrated all the major air impingement ovens are virtually equal as to quality of product and equal in production capacity as regards the same size ovens.

It thus appears that there are 6 things to compare when making a decision on ovens. Cost, warranty. parts cost, clean ability, parts availability, ease of service.

George Mills

Traditional pizzerias, large chains or small kitchens will each need a different type of commercial pizza oven to meet the demands of their concept and their clientele. Each type of oven demands different sources of power and have various cooking times and methods to create distinctly different types of pizza. (and in your case your staff needs to be able to run it effectively). Here is link to an article talking about the different types of ovens that might help you find what you are looking for:

The article commercial oven types contains as much misleading information as it does good information.

Any one who would write “Best for: Conveyor ovens are ideal for small-scale pizzerias that do not experience a lot of demand.” Does not know much about ovens.

The major chains are set up with conveyor ovens with up to 300 pizzas per hour production.

George Mills


couldn’t even look at the article as it keeps timing out. Maybe the guy who wrote the article also advised them on webserver capacity for them as well!

Was the article written by the Desk Oven Manufactures Association by any chance?