Wondering who all here uses Rotoflex ovens? I am very much leaning towards switching out my XLT Conveyors for a Rotoflex. Planning on spending some time with a Rotoflex at a high volume pizzeria this spring/summer and have already have had some great feedback from current Rotoflex users, but looking for as much info as I can get.
I baked a few pizzas one night in one. For what’s its worth with my limited experience, I didn’t like it. It had two small openings on two different sides to pull pies from which were too high for shorter people in my opinion – maybe the oven didn’t have to be as high as it was I don’t know. I can see a practical use for having two openings but since they were small you would have to keep rotating the deck to get to the next pizza.
Until we saw a Rotoflex in action, we were planning on getting one. We instead went with a big rotating deck oven by FISH. I forgot the exact size off hand but I think it has five decks and can hold 4 or 5 16" pies on each deck. I like having access to one big deck at a time rather than just an opening big enough to pull one or two pies out at a time and then rotate.
The baking appeared to be fine with the Rotoflex but operating it felt cumbersome.
I saw one in action as well. You can get 3 (maybe 4) doors. I like the way the doors are counter-balanced much like really old windows. The oven operates at (if memory serves) 4 revolutions per minute. Therefore, you have a chance to get the pizza every 15 seconds. The windows are large enough to get a full-sized chafing pan through. I believe the pizza I had was a 16" and it didn’t seem to be difficult at all. With up to 4 rotating decks, you could have access to up to 4 pizzas at once (though you’d better have a good oven tender to get 4 out at the same time). Fish ovens rotate like a carousel, so you only have access to one deck at a time, meaning you’d have to let the other shelves rotate around to get to other pies.
In short, I don’t quite understand your complaints. Even in a conveyor, you can only access 4 pizzas at a time… 2 on the exit shelf and 2 coming out of the oven. Again, I’m not quite sure what you’re expecting. Even if the Fish oven holds 6 pies per shelf, are you going to open the oven, put 6 pies on, wait for the next shelf and put 6 on it? I doubt it. You’ll put the next pizza in when it’s ready to go in. Therefore, unless you have a full oven, you’re only going to have access to 2 or 3 pizzas at a time.
One final thought. I believe that many operators feel the need to justify their purchase of a particular oven and take blinded pride in the decision they’ve made. This is no different than how people feel about their boats and even their cars to an extent. I’m only pointing out an observation and not pointing fingers at anyone. I just find many people to be brand loyal. If you listen to the guys here, you’d think the only mixer in the world is Hobart :).
If I were seriously looking at the Rotoflex as a major purchase, I’d volunteer to work one of the slower nights in a pizza joint that has one. I believe you’d get a much better feeling for how they work and whether they’d work for your specific needs.
One of the downsides of those Fish ovens is that they appear to take a lot of floor space. I’ve seen ONE in person (there are lots in use, just that they seem to have their biggest clientele in Chicago) and only for a very short time, have never cooked in one, never even got that close. I obviously can’t compare/contrast the pure virtues of each, but either I gave the Rotoflex too much credit or you gave it too little.
I cannot comment on Fish except for when I noticed on the website that it had NO windows…this is a HUGE difference from the Roto-flex…one of the main reasons I recommed it is b/c it does have the windows (which are available on all or 1-3 sides). Coming from decks there was nothing better than constantly hearing the slamming of oven doors and the burning of arms & pizzas of course!
I highly recommend the Roto-flex for any high volume operation.
PS if you are shorter than 5’ you might need a step stool to get to the top deck, but than again you won’t have to bend down for the 4rth deck
Not sure what you mean exactly in your first paragraph quoted here. We are at capacity much of the time and so yes, we will put six (or 3, 4 or 5) in the oven and spin to the next shelf, take out & put in, rinse and repeat. We also use screens and deck the pies a bit before taking them out so the extra room to work with is valued. It “seems” to be a pain to have to rotate more while tending the oven. I’m almost 6’3" and felt that accessing the ovens would be difficult for a lot of people at those deck heights. If it works with your particular layout, the doors on different sides of the oven can be pretty handy. In the shop I was in they fed pies in one door and pulled from another. Personally I would like the feature for my other cook station for feeding sandwiches, wings and pastas so the cooks don’t have to walk around to the front (we don’t have a hood for a cheesemelter).
Our FISH oven has two doors (side by side) “with” windows. It does appear to take up more room but that may be more in the width. The Rotoflex may be deeper but I don’t remember off hand. As always, size is a consideration when selecting any piece of equipment for your site. Over the years we have had to choose alternatives many times because of size constraints.
In any case, I said in my original post that my experience with Rotoflex was only one night. I don’t have any inherent brand preferences and only related my observations, likes and dislikes about it “operationally”.
I wouldn’t trade mine for the world. The president of Rotoflex, Richard Dunfield’s number in my cell and he’s helped me personally on a few occasions. Customer service is great. Product is great, and it’s incredibly easy to use. My total cost for the hood, unit, transportation, and installation was 27K. For my restaurant and the high volume that I maintain, the investment was well worth it. If you have any concerns, contact your distributor and they may have one in a test kitchen that you can demo yourself, or they can put you in touch with a local pizzeria that may let you check there’s out.
I recently got to see a Fish oven that wasn’t built into a wall. Man, those things are HUGE. They also didn’t use the oven as I “expected” them to. They simply used one shelf until it got full, then moved to the next shelf. I had assumed that this thing pretty much revolved all the time, but they left the deck stationary until needing to fill past the capacity. The downside was that the shelves had no backstop (or a very small one). I can see an inexperienced person shoving the pie off the shelf trying to get the peel under it, especially if screens are used.
Now I have this new concept… 4-6 deeper decks that only move up and down, not around. They don’t have to be a long way from each other, as height of a standard deck is 7-10 inches (if memory serves). Oh well.
If memory serves, the Rotoflex is 6’x6’ resulting in a 36sf footprint. I’m guessing (GUESSING) that the Fish was 8x8, which would be a 64sf footprint.