I am currently looking at getting some new (to me) ovens and I am very confused at what I should get. I currently have a double stack deck oven and a counter top four single deck oven. Currently I can only produce 12- 16" pizzas every 10-12 minutes. On every night during our peak months (I live in a busy tourist town and we are REALLY busy for 3 months), we end up on a long wait and I lose customers/money because of this. I have been researching pizza ovens for the past couple of weeks and all I am doing is getting more confused at what I actually need.
I think if I add one more double stack deck oven I should be able to keep up with orders, but that also means I will probably be operating the oven myself most days (probably every hour we are open), because it does take skill and I lost my main cook last fall and will have to train a competent replacement.
If I did get a double stack conveyor oven, I think we would also be able to keep up with orders and that it would actually be easier to keep up at the busy times. My biggest concern is the quality and stigma of our pizza will go down. Me and 99% of our customers love the quality of pizza that comes out of our ovens and do not want to serve an inferior product. Our business has increased 10-14% in sales per year over the last 5 years and I believe that is because we have a GREAT product and I don’t want to lose that quality.
Now that I have written this, I feel I just sold myself on getting another double deck oven, but what are your opinions? If you have changed from a deck to conveyor, would you do it again in hindsight? What do customers think just seeing a conveyor oven in your kitchen? My guess is a lower quality pizza?
@Tom Lehmann is the expert on this. I have heard him say more than once, that with the right settings and baking disks you can get a pizza cooked on a conveyor oven that is indistinguishable to a deck cooked pizza. In addition you don’t have to “tend” the oven so the skills needed to produce a great quality pizza are easier to find. You also get a more consistent product with a conveyor oven.
Daddio is correct.
Over the last thirty years we have replaced thousands of deck ovens with conveyors.Most all reported an improvement in business None reported any losses.
We are current selling the Edge oven and buyers all report it is the best oven they have ever used.
On this forum users report they are a bit less costly to buy, use less gas then than others ,Are quieter and spill less heat into the kitchen.
I’m just dealing with this now. We replaced 2 old deck ovens with 2 new conveyor ovens. Same issue that you are having, being backed up during seasonal tourist rushes.
So far, one week in, conveyors are fantastic. They bake the pizza and other bread product much more evenly and with a nicer crisp. You get less flop. Appearance of the pizza is much much improved. We were moving from 2 x Garland gpd48’s manufactured in 2003. They were showing their age.
We’ve only had one customer show curiosity as to why the texture feels different, but they would also ask for pizzas to be well done due to the fact the pizza came out soupy in the deck ovens. I’ll also mention that we’ve received compliments from customers, who prefer an even bake, they’ve pointed out how much nicer their pizza was.
Overall we’ve seen dramatic improvement in bake. Our veggie topped pizza (mush, g.pepp, tom), comes out perfect. Whereas in the deck ovens it would come out with too much moisture, we would need to tilt it to drain it.
I’m suspecting this industry has a lot of superstitious traditionalists who seem to live and die by whatever got them to the point where they are. Hard facts were hard to filter during the transition. There were a few articles which shed light on which ovens are most suitable to your type of operation. High volume = conveyor.
Keep in mind the cost of ventilation. I’m finding these conveyors require improvements in ventilation.
Thanks so much for the responses. I have read the many different things that Tom has written about conveyor ovens and his articles were the first ones that got me even thinking that they could even be an option. One thing that he did write on a board or an article somewhere is that it will cook up to 95% the same bake as a deck oven and that is what worries me about having an inferior product. Even if it is a 5% drop in bake quality, it is a 5% drop when I want to have the best possible pizza I can have. Maybe that’s just me not thinking very logically about it?
Endrit- Can I ask what your bake times were before on your deck ovens? I have never had the problem with it having too much moisture on it and we make veggie pizzas with 8 different vegetables on them. Just curious. Was your customer that noticed a difference in texture happy about the product? Im glad to hear you are having great success with them so far, makes me think that they are a viable option. Im guessing now that you have went conveyor you would never turn back?
I was hoping to hear from more people with the same opinion, would help my decision for sure. I’m also still worried at the perceived “stigma” of using a conveyor, but maybe I’m overthinking it. I just dont want to lose the brand I feel we’ve achieved over the past three years. Lets hear some more comments!!
i will take a 95% quality item 100% of the time over a 100% quality item 75% of the time depending on who was working the oven and how busy we are. It’s a HUGE decision and one that was not easy for us either, but looking back it was one of the best decisions we have made and it solved ALL our issues with capacity, consitency, lower utility cost, lower skilled labor cost. We have almost NO complaints with regard to cooking issues and can bang out alot more pies in a smaller footprint. I am in the Northeast where a conveyor is looked at as the anti-christ and we have only had a couple people in the last 5 yrs even notice the conveyor (we have it off to the side). No brainer if you can get to that 95% with your product
Bake time has gone from just around the 8 min mark on the deck ovens to 6 min on the conveyor ovens. Our deck ovens were showing their age though. We might have completely different pizzas and perhaps different moisture percentages on the cheese; our veggie pizza and other heavily topped pizzas would come out juicy in the deck oven.
We’re a week into using the conveyors and enjoying the pros that come with this type of oven.
Well I think Im sold on a conveyor oven now, thanks again. Now I just need to decide what brand, size I need. Any recommendations on where to start? It seems like Edge is the preferred one on here? Is longer chamber lengths recommended for a better cook or just for quantity?
Famous Perry is right. 95% of the quality 100% of the time from a conveyor is far better than the true outcome of deck ovens handled by any but the best cooks on their best days. Put even average cooks on deck ovens and you get 100% quality 25% of the time and 75% quality 50% of the time and 50% quality 25% of the time.
As an added plus, if it’s important to you, air impingement ovens handle moisture issues much better than an deck oven can (think of how a hair dryer handles wet hair). If a lot of your business is DELCO an air impingement oven might be your oven of choice. While on the topic, deck ovens are great ovens but the pizzas coming out of them are only as good as the oven tender is at doing his/her job.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
Growing up 15 minutes outside of NYC in the 50’s-70’s all pizza was deck oven. It took years to gain respect as a pizza maker and I learned from guys that had been at it for decades. To me deck pizza is an art when done right and you can’t train people to it in an hour like you can do with conveyor ovens. They may be good for other kinds of pizza but I have yet to see a conveyor pie beat a deck for NY style. Walter
We’ve used Garland air decks, Blodgett 1000s, and Marsal deck ovens. We did the opposite switch from air deck to stone deck (marsal ovens) at one of our locations and got a TON of positive feedback and a steady increase in sales. We’re in the Philly area where there’s a pizza store on every corner, so we’ll do anything we can (within reason) to be better than the store on the next corner. We try to have the highest quality pie. That being said, you can still get a decent product from a conveyor oven; IMO not as good (can’t beat that crisp bottom). We have a great crew, if I didn’t then I would be tempted by the conveyor ovens because they are definitely a lot easier
There is a VERY noticeable difference in the cook. Try the SAME product in an Impingement oven and the Italforni TS Series oven and you will see what I am talking about. To try out for yourself call 424.364.0075.