By David Chesshire, National Accounts Manager, Blue Seal (www.blue-seal.co.uk)
Blue Seal have noticed over the last few years a definite increase in demand for electric equipment. This expansion is predominantly for new site install, where the site has the power supply for 3phase and the operator is looking to future proof the kitchen and incorporate a full electric line up, including high efficiency induction hobs etc. This complete electric specification also avoids the complication & cost of expensive gas regulation canopies and interlock systems.
Electric equipment is also generally easier and cheaper to Install, routinely maintain, as well as having a longer life span in some cases. This encourages the large chain restaurants to invest in high efficiency, low carbon sites. There has not, however been any downturn for demand on gas equipment in general, especially twin tank gas fryer units, chargrills, ranges and griddles.
The running cost of gas is on the increase, however it is still cheaper running cost than electric & there are a huge quantity of commercial kitchen sites in the UK that do not have the 3phase power supply to run a high performance electric cook suite. A more common general application, is a balanced mix of high efficiency induction equipment and gas equipment such as char grills/ solid fuel grills/ high efficiency gas fryers, which give the operator a unique equipment performance or finish and flavour to food items.
With most manufacturers investing their R&D into high efficiency technology & solutions, to replace gas equipment, long term there is no doubt that electric powered appliances are the future.