Wife is demanding deck ovens, any suggestions

All through this project I had in mind using deck ovens for our pizzeria, but output has me concerned. We grew up eating pizzas out of a Blodgett deck oven and love the crispy crunch bottom and chewy center.

We are developing a thin americana style pizza with topping edge to edge and want to stick with the deck oven idea. However if business takes off I am unsure we will be able to keep up. I am allowing space in the floor plan for up to 2 double stacks of ovens.

Anyone want to chime in or post links of good research info I can follow up on? The only thing I really know about deck ovens is we used Blodgetts.

Can’t help you there. I grew up in this business on conveyor ovens and that’s all I know. I will NEVER change my mind because to me it’s all about consistent product moving quickly. -J_r0kk

P.S. You can achieve the crispy crunch bottom and chewy center with conveyor ovens as well. Just use a high gluten flour in your mix and you’ll get that result.

Watch for pizzaguy to chime in he uses deck ovens and does a pretty good business.

Who doesn’t love a deck oven pie? i have a double stack of Lincolns for 8 years after 2 years of Blodgetts. bake is OK, but NOT the same. Am opening new shop in 4-6 months with a Rotoflex. East Coast rep’s name is Rick Eller 1-800-HOT-OVEN, nice guy. I’m in Philly about an hour from Jersey Shore where all the “busy” shops on boardwalk(1000 pies per day) use this oven. Alot more work than a conveyor but easier than individual decks.

Deck oven are great, as long as you have an experienced person to tend the oven…

But for ease of use & consistency, conveyors rule…

I’ve used many brands of conveyors and began on a deck in '69…

The CTX brand is interesting (now reped by MM) in the fact you can “dial-in” so many temp variation thru the cooking chamber…down side - its elec only, but very quite!!! Production is good, but only will cook 1 20" pie on its conveyor…you can stack 3 high and get volume…they can be found on ebay and are cheap, but parts/repairs can be higher if you need to replace a heating element, but few repairs are needed…self cleaning is a great feature…I’m partial to this oven, despite ists short comings…

Another oven 2 consider is the Q-Matic…it combines the infrared feature of the CTX and the bottom heat of a gas/deck oven…this was the 1st oven I owned…trick is to use a dark anodized screen/pan and a bit longer cook time…inventor used 2 work 4 MM yrs ago…

We have two decks, and if you don’t have an experienced person running them your consistancy wont’ be the same. I tested cooked on a middle by ps555 and I will be honest I couldn’t tell the difference from a deck. Now I only played around on it for an hour and I couldn’t get my deep dish and calzones to got really hot in the middle without burining the outer crust, could maybe wrap in aluminum foil. Anyway we are moving our current location to a bigger palce and I am getting a MMps570 and putting one deck on top, this way I have the best of both worlds. Don’t forget you will have many burns from the decks ovens, you should see my arms LOL

I love deck ovens. We have been open 12 years and just opened second location and of course we bought a deck oven. We have double stacks. Our first location will probably hit over 700,000 this year. We thought of doing conveyer with the 2nd location but I know the deck oven gives our pizza the fantastic flavor our customers love.

Sure it took time to master the ovens but now most of the employees beg to be on ovens. They are challenging at times and we give highest regard to the cooks that are able to successfully handle a rush.
We have one person tend oven and the other does cut and pack. It works really well.

I will say when we find a oven master we pay them well and they successfully show the newbies how to run it like a pro.

If I could change one thing it would have been to get a bigger oven from the get go… our new location holds 4 more pizzas than our 1st and we would love to have the capacity. When we get new ovens bigger will be better.

The repair costs on decks are minimal. Not a lot of moving parts so rarely do we have repair costs. (A thermostat here and there and one time we replaced the stones other than that nothing) Yikes I hate to say that sure enough today will have some issue :smiley:

I have never been exposed to conveyer so can’t give an opinion there.

Good luck to ya…you’re in for a ride!

“Happy wife…Happy life”…RCS…

I have 1 double stack doing $300,000 very easily. so 2 double stacks should be easy $600-700,000. Just plan for 1 very good or 2 decent cut guys on Friday night.

but here’s my 2 cents. edge to edge pizza in a deck oven can be very messy. cheese run-off burns on the deck, making getting pizzas out difficult. And when you brush out the ashes from the cheese, ashes tend to float in the air and clog the gas pilot and gas line. That can be a about a $100 repair every few months.

When I do edge to edge thin crust pizzas, I put them on a 14" square of parchment paper, and set them on the deck. No mess, and still cracker crisp. The parchment paper should be at your food vendor, who may also call it a pan liner.

1 final note. A mistake new people managers make is that they see a cut guy just standing there, while pizzas are cooking, want to give him something to do. Oven tenders, besides folding boxes, need NO DISTRACTIONS during the rush. Their oven tending allows everyone else the flexibility to get work done. It may seem like a waste of money sometimes, because everyone might be busting ass, while the oven guy is standing there. but the reverse is a lot of burnt pizzas.

good luck.

guest was me, forgot to login

Good comments thanks. I recall when running the ovens it did seem like you had down time with nothing to do until the last 6 pies you put in are all done at nearly the same time.

Even though we will start with just two ovens, I am planning space now for when we add another set. Think success, think expansion!

As much as I want to research the conveyors and use them for their advantages, the wife is holding her ground on the decks. No decks no pizzeria. Besides as one posted stated

Happy wife, Happy life!

I can only think of two manf. of deck ovens off the top of my head -
Bakers Pride

Any other manf. I should be looking at?

i have marsal and sons http://www.marsalsons.com/ i originally had bakers prides… i had to upgrade for peak times. i am very happy with the marsal ovens, however there is down time if your using them to capacity. with nothing in the oven it takes 8 minutes to bake. Also you need an experienced oven guy for peak times.

Just a comment RE deck ovens. None of the large chains use them. They discarded them years ago.

George Mills

get your wife to do a blind taste test - that way you may convince her.

Just curious. Why is there never a mention of rotating deck ovens? We’ve had Daltons in our stores but had problems with the company and are going with a Rotoflex in our next location soon to open.

I am wondering the same thing. We’re actually currently debating between going with a deck over or Rotoflex. Obviously the first option will save us between $12,000 and $20,000 depending on the deck, but does anyone feel that the quality of the Rotoflex is above and beyond anything else?

Please chime back in on your decision path to use the Rotoflex. I looked them up and this may be the ticket I am looking for. I just have nightmares from back in the day on a busy Saturday night. We would get so backed up even with 4 1060 Blodgett decks running it would take sometimes an hour to get your pizza.

I am trying to plan ahead for when we offer delivery, we can get the pizza in the oven and out the door quickly so our delivery times don’t suffer. Maybe I need to look at a small conveyor for when we go with delivery and use the deck for take-out and dine-in. I see a problem with consisentcy however with two different types of ovens.

Go with a Rotoflex if you plan on doing over $15k/week otherwise just stick with regular decks…I switched to Rotoflex after having decks, conveyors, air decks, etc. and could not be happier…I would not have even considered doing delivery until we switched…PM me if you need more details but I highly recommend Rotoflex

That type of oven has never gained wide use in the pizza industry.Many years ago, before the advent of the conveyor oven Little Caesar’s had a lot of stores using that type oven. When the conveyor ovens came out the replaced all the revolving units with conveyors.

Generally speaking the high volume chains and most others will not use an oven that does not know when the pizza is done to perfection and automatically discharges the pizza from the oven. When a human has to look into the oven and judge from the appearance of the pizzas as to the quality of the bake there is most often very little consistency of product.

It takes a very skilled operator to handle something like a Roto Flex oven. he must remember when and where he placed every pizza. If he forgets or gets distracted and the pizza goes around an extra time or two he has an over baked product. If he puts a cold pizza down where he has just removed on he will most often get an under baked bottom because that spot on the deck has had most of its heat transferred to the last pizza baked in that spot.

I know of no major or medium chain using that type ovens.
George mills

I agree with what George is saying in that you MUST have skilled labor working with a Rotoflex oven

I also think that most chains hire HS kids, etc so that would explain the use of conveyors that are idiot-proof.

I do know of many HIGH volume (top 1%) indy places using them which is more important to me than how many chains use them