+ / - Conveyer Ovens / Deck Ovens

Will be opening a new location soon and wanted to know…

Is there a list of positives and negatives for Conveyer Ovens as compared to Deck Ovens?

Have always used deck ovens, and have always had the pizza boy’s burn/undercook pies.
I figure with a conveyer I should never have this problem, but then there are more mechanical pieces to go wrong too.

I’m looking to get more energy efficient with a conveyer as well so I can keep my gas bill low.
I expect to pay around $15k for a nice “newer-used” more efficient double stack.

Thanks all for the help!

I have a 5 1/2 year old store that uses decks and just opened a new store with an XLT 3270.

I still don’t have the pizzas coming out of the conveyor exactly like my deck but it’s getting closer. I think I’ll get it really close eventually, but I really don’t think it will ever be 100% the same. We did have to make some changes to our dough recipe and management procedure to get to where we are.

As for gas, it appears that the single XLT uses more gas than my double stack of 1060’s. I know the new conveyors are very energy efficient, but I think that’s only versus older conveyors. At least in my experience it appears the XLT is using way more gas than my decks.

The only way to cook something for a different time is to use the front window. In my decks we can cook all kinds of products because there’s an experienced oven guy pulling them at the proper bake. The front window seems like a no brainer, but when the oven is completely full of pizzas it can be difficult to get something in the window. The items with shorter cook times end up waiting to go in while we make a space at the front of the oven, which means waiting to put a pizza in. Even when you do get it in the window, where you start it can vary by a foot or more and therefore have very different bake times.

On the plus side, I would need six 1060 decks at my new store to handle the volume and there’s now way we’d have the space for that. And of course, like you mentioned, I haven’t seen any burned/undercooked pizzas coming out of the conveyor and almost anybody can jump over on the cut table to help out when they’re flying out of the oven. I could never do that with my decks - I only have three employees that I trust with the decks on a busy night, and I don’t even include myself in that because I can’t handle the decks on a busy night.

But for me, the only reason to go to the conveyor is to handle heavy volume. If I were to open a third store where I expected volume to be similar to my first, I’d be getting deck ovens. The product (to me anyway) is still better and I think they’re a great marketing possibility with an open kitchen (which I have in my first location.)

I think one trick in trying to mimic deck oven “crispness” is to really increase the conveyor time & lower the temp…in the distant past, we used to run a 5 minute pizza thru @ 525+ or so…now we run 'em 8:45 @ 470 & the bottom is nice & crisp…we also installed more fingers on the bottom as well…BTW - We’re driving 20 yr old MM 360’s…we don’t use much sugar in the dough & we make it 2 days in advance…

My deck oven experience is limited, but I could NEVER handle 100 pie hours using a deck…

As for gas, it appears that the single XLT uses more gas than my double stack of 1060’s. I know the new conveyors are very energy efficient, but I think that’s only versus older conveyors. At least in my experience it appears the XLT is using way more gas than my decks.

Thats because XLT’s are gas hogs. My gas usage went down more than 25% when I switched from XLT to Edge ovens. I run my ovens 19+ hours a day and burn about 400 therms a month of natural gas.

I have two objections to conveyor ovens. One: Your oven dictates what your pizza will be like. (To cook in a conveyor, you cannot have much variance in your cooking time, thus a ‘combo’ gets skimpier and skimpier.) And Two: The whole conveyor concept is an attempt to “idiot proof” pizza cooking - in theory, you no longer need an experienced Oven Guy, any idiot can run them. In Theory. Great, now you can have idiots working for you - somehow, I don’t like that idea.

Now you tell me! I just got a $3,500 gas bill for our second restaurant versus $500 at my first place. A lot of that is the tempered make up air and furnaces, but still… We ran about $1,100 in the summer with one XLT, a six burner range (only on when used), a fryer and a cheese melter (also only on when used.) I know most of that gas is going to the XLT.

I forgot to mention another pro I’ve found with the conveyors - the veggie pizzas come out much better than in my decks. My decks produce swamp pizzas when there are a lot of veggies and the conveyors put them out nice and dry.

If you want to save gas you need to look into my oven. It is a four deck oven. Since I installed in November 2007 I have saved $1000’s in gas bill’s. My summer bill is between $300 and $400! I run my oven 82 hours a week. Also, My electric bill has gone down $150 a month in the summer because I am using less air conditioning. If I add up the savings on my energy bills I could pay off the oven with those savings in about 8 years!

It is a Vereforno deck oven that is imported from Italy and finished in New jersey by Dino at Veroforno Ovens. http://www.verofrono.com This oven is used in many bakeries throughout Europe and is considered one of the best in the world.

I was a bit surprised by Dino’s claims on energy efficiency but what sold me was the day I went to his store for a demo. I took all my ingredients and spent the day making my pizza and strombolis and some other menu items at his store. The oven had no carbon monoxide in it to spoil the taste of your product. My pizza’s never tasted so good and flavorful. My customers noticed right away.

As for consistency, our staff uses timers to bake pizza’s because the oven has NO HOT SPOTS at all and during busy periods there is only a few seconds difference in bake times. You can bake 140 16’ pies per hour or 200+ 12" pies per hour because my deck is 40.5"X40.5" and four decks.

This oven was the best investment I have made. On Fridays we average between 350 to 420 tickets with an average wait time of 10 to 20 minutes! I even have a drive thru at my shop but that’s a whole different topic :slight_smile: .

LOL having a conveyor oven gives no exclusive license for hiring idiots - deck owners can hire idiots just as easily! :lol:

In answer to the question in general:

Every oven cooks differently - fact. A good conveyor pie is different from a good deck pie. Some people prefer conveyor pies and some deck pies. The argument over which is ‘best’ in terms of cooking is very subjective (thank goodness) and has been argued time after time.

IMO the conveyor v deck argument comes down primarily to consistency and volume. A conveyor oven will consistently cook more pies than a deck. They do things differently and different doesn’t mean better or worse.

In exactly the same way a good oven tender looking after a triple stack of conveyors is likely to have skills and qualities a deck oven tender doesn’t have and visa versa.

Having 6 decks may be the solution or so may having two conveyors. Also depends what your available space is like.

Best answer is to go and see how they cook and look at your labour market. In 5 years I have come across only 1 guy with experience of working decks. I’m relatively high volume, have little space for 4-6 decks, no experienced deck guys so for me conveyor is the only real option.

Wiz

we use BP y100’s. The only place I know of in my general are with conveyors has fantastic pizza. My decks are very inconsistant.

Consistency and ease-of-use is key for me, so far I am sold on getting a conveyer.

Are there ever any major issues with the mechanical side of the conveyers going down? Say a motors, electronics, and so on… breaking?

Because I’m looking for only about 100-150 16” pies max per hour, and getting a double stack… what do I need to start looking for in a conveyer? As far as length, BTU’s and so on?

Thanks again all!

Take a close look @ Paul’s Edge ovens…as a volume operation he is quite suited to give his opinion…

I’ve spoken to the Mfg & if/when I replace my BEASTS, that is the direction I’ll go…

When I have a small problem, I can limp by on 1 conveyor, as most parts are only a day away…very few repairs tho in 5 yrs…motor here & there…some electric ($$$) but these are ancient ovens…

One of the draws for me when deciding to put the money down to attend the AIB’s “pizza camp” in October was the chance to cook in ovens from most of the major manufactures. I’m a fan of the XLT, but went in pretty much leaning to them b/c of their design and ease and cost of getting replacement parts. (mostly from the Grainger catalog for bearings, motors and fans…the stuff that breaks down).

As I’ve mentioned here before, the newer models are quite a bit easier on the ears and the heat output, but I’ve found with ours (about 7 years old) now sitting under a hood the toss off heat and the air noise were both significantly reduced. I’m waiting my first gas bill after we’re up and running full-time and who knows, maybe I’ll be shocked, but for us it was conveyor all the way b/c of the ease of use, ease of training, and the “so easy a caveman (or idiot) can do it…” nature of the beast. And I’ll back up what Tom the Dough Doctor has said many times in this forum, with the addition of a “hearth bake” disc from Lloyds under the pie, one absolutely can adjust his/her oven to produce a pie very nearly indistinguishable from a deck baked pie.

Just wanted to note that I was also in love with what I heard about the “hearth bake” disc, but after talking to Tom about the style of pizza I make he recommended the hex discs from Lloyds. We do a Chicago style thin-crust. I love the Lloyd discs so far, but just make sure the style of disc you buy matches the pizza you want to produce. If I hadn’t talked to Tom specifically about my pizza and not knowing anything about cooking in an impinger, I would have jumped and bought the hearth bake discs and made a mistake.

I thought the same thing until I worked a 120 pizza hour on the cut table with the impingers. I’ve never wanted to go in the walk-in and cry more than that night. It doesn’t take the same kind of skill as operating a deck oven, but you still need somebody that can move quick, multi-task and use their brain. I feel like Lucy at the chocolate factory with those things.

You think Lloyd’s disc’s are good in the conveyor you should see how good they are in a deck oven. Lloyd’s is absolutely the best of the best!

Below is a copy from a test of an XLT 3255 TS3 oven showing yearly power consumption

XL 1 Ovens, Model 3255·1S3
Quiet FIre Gas Conveyor Oven
Performance 1ests
Application of ASTM Standard
Test Method F 1817 -03
FSTC Report 5011.09.04
Prepared fOL
PacinG Gas & Electric Company
Customer Energy Efficiency Programs
POBox 770000
San Francisco, California 94177
Food Service Technology Center
November 2009
Pr-epared by:
Rich Swierczyna
Paul Sobiski
Architectural Energy Corporation
The estimated operational cost of the XLI Ovens model 3255- TS3 conveyor
pizza oven is $2,165 per year. The model assumes the oven is used to bake
250 pizzas over a 12-hotu~ day 365 days a year …The model also assumes one
preheat each day with the remaining on-time being in all idle (ready-to-cook)
A quick warmup time, low gas idle energy rate: of 40,400 Btu/h, and the
ability to operate each oven deck as demand requires means reduced. operating
costs tor a restaurateur. Quick cook tunes provide a food service operator
with a conveyor pizza oven that can handle 165 pizzas/hour per deck, while
its 420/0cooking-energy efficiency is considered very competive for this:
type of appliance.
Entire report can be viewed at http://www.fishnick.com/publications/appliancereports/ click on the picture of the conveyor oven

George Mills
George Mills

i used XLT 3870 gas never went over $450.00 per month. Great oven.

OK, I have to make a full disclosure in this thread since I posted the XLT’s were burning so much gas. We requested the gas company to run a check on our restaurant because the bills were so high. We got a phone call from them yesterday and found out we had a meter problem and they’ve been drastically overcharging us.

The $3,500 gas bill we received should have been about $700 which seems about right for what we have in furnace and make-up air. So no, it doesn’t appear my XLT’s are burning a ton of gas.

So do Midleby ovens have easily replaceable parts that you can pickup at Grainger or wherever like the the XLT’s? Because I see a few nice MM’s double stacks for sale on ebay.

Hi Integraoligest:

Most all the Middleby parts are proprietary only a few items are available at Grangers.

There are some knock off parts available at a couple of oven reconditioners but I cant vouch for their dependability.

You mention Middleby ovens for sale on E-Bay. The older Middleby ovens are 30 % less efficient then today’s ovens. The reason so many of them are for sale is that the major companies have and continue to dump them do to high operating and maintenance costs.

You can buy an older model used oven but you will eventually pay the cost of a mew one in higher operating and maintenance costs. In addition you will continue to pay that premium even after you have paid as much as the cost of new.

There are items that can be purchased reconditioned that are just as efficient as new items example Hobart mixers. air impingement gas ovens are not one of those items.

George Mills