When properly cleaned and maintained, griddles have a life cycle of between seven and 15 years, depending on the model and its usage.
Before purchasing a new griddle, operators should consider a number of factors, including:
Figure out how often the operator will use the griddle and the anticipated production capacity. If the griddle will run a couple of hours a day, a heavy-duty model may not be necessary. If the operator will use the unit to prepare more than 25 percent of the menu items, consider a more durable griddle.
The plate size and thickness will help determine how much food goes through the griddle at peak times. The thicker the griddle plate, the more heat it holds.
Also, take into account the griddle size. In some kitchens, a narrower griddle with more depth can save a foot of hood space.
Determine which type of surface material best suits the menu. Some units offer grooved plates that provide a seared appearance on meats.
Decide if manual or thermostatic controls are necessary. While manual controls provide users with more latitude in terms of regulating temperature, thermostatic controls can be easier to use for novice cooks.
Examine how the griddle handles grease and product fall-off. Check out the grease trough location and the width of the chute to ensure it can handle the challenges of the menu. Some models provide a back grease trough, in addition to side and front troughs, to better accommodate high-volume use.
Consider whether the griddle will be mounted, freestanding or used on a countertop. Refrigerated bases are another option worth considering for smaller kitchens with limited space.
One expert estimates that griddles stand idle about 70 percent of the time in full-service restaurants. Griddles with snap action-style controls only provide gas to the unit when it’s needed, saving energy.
Look at the unit’s cleaning requirements. Some griddle surfaces are easier to clean than others that may require more time and labor. While standard griddle surfaces need to be scrubbed and seasoned, more costly chrome griddles are simply scraped and don’t require seasoning.