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6 Benefits of Multi-Cook Ovens

The industry has changed dramatically over the past several years. The cost of everything from rent to utilities to food to labor continues to rise. It’s a rare operation that has a full staff, and chances are that many of the employees they do have in the kitchen have only been on the job for weeks. At the same time, consumer tastes continue to change, with new flavors and exotic ingredients increasingly in demand.

The result of those changes is that operators find themselves trying to add new and interesting dishes to the menu, doing so in a smaller space and with inexperienced staff. They simply can’t afford to incorporate menu items that require complicated cooking techniques and a wide variety of single-function commercial kitchen equipment to produce.

With those challenges likely to remain with us for the foreseeable future, how is an operator to cope? One solution is by using a multi-cook oven as the foundation of their food production.

What is a Multi-Cook Oven?

At their core, commercial multi-cook ovens do what the name implies: combine multiple cooking functions into a single unit. Alto-Shaam created the category in 2017 with the introduction of Vector® Multi-Cook Ovens and later evolved with Converge® Multi-Cook Ovens. These units offer up to four ovens in one – each chamber with independent temperature, fan speed and cook time control. An Alto-Shaam multi-cook oven allows a foodservice provider to prepare a variety of different food items simultaneously with no flavor transfer.

The secret to Alto-Shaam’s multi-cook ovens is the company’s exclusive Structured Air Technology®, which delivers high-velocity, vertical upward and downward airflow through the oven. Air travels through the shelves and is delivered vertically through holes from the top and bottom of each cook chamber. Each chamber is isolated from the others with its own air path, catalyst, and fan at the rear, giving operators the ability to control each chamber’s temperature and fan speed with zero flavor or moisture transfer between chambers.

This optimized, focused heat delivers faster, more even, and more consistent cooking than other cooking methods. The unique airflow creates vertical curtains of air that eliminate heat loss and a blast of hot air when the door is opened. Operators can open the door as needed while cooking, without waiting for a cook cycle to complete before starting another food item. This significantly increases food production and menu flexibility.

Benefits of incorporating a multi-cook oven into your kitchen operations include:

1. Space savings

Alto-Shaam’s multi-cook ovens can cook food using techniques including air frying, roasting, grilling, and steaming, all at the same time. These capabilities eliminate the need for multiple pieces of equipment, allowing expanded functionality in a smaller footprint. In addition, all models of the ovens are stackable, allowing for even greater throughput in the same amount of space.

2. Labor savings

Multi-cook ovens provide simple recipe programming, so staff of all ability levels are able to cook at the touch of a button. Operators can create menu presets, and then anyone on the line can reproduce it with the right ingredients. Because of the patented, vertical airflow there is also no need for employees to watch and rotate pans - further saving on labor costs.

3. Increased profits

Of course, the savings offered by reduced space needs and labor requirements translate to a larger bottom line, but those aren’t the only cost benefits a multi-cook oven can offer. Eliminating the need for multiple kitchen appliances also translates to lower utility and maintenance costs.

4. Ventless operation

Alto-Shaam multi-cook ovens are designed as UL-certified ventless, eliminating the need for costly ventilation systems. This provides flexibility when designing a kitchen layout, allowing foodservice operations in spaces where ventilation systems may not be feasible, and offers the ability for businesses such as bars or convenience stores to easily add a foodservice program.

5. Expanded menus

A multi-cook oven allows operators to incorporate menu items that may not have been feasible with traditional cooking equipment. Diners are increasingly gravitating away from deep-fried foods, for example, and the ability to add roasted, steamed, or air-fried items to the menu allows operators to increase their customer base and profits.

6. Improved consistency & food quality

Operators can produce high-quality food on demand with consistent results every time. Alto-Shaam’s Structured Air Technology creates vertical curtains of air that deliver faster and more even cooking than other methods, and the oven’s programmable recipes ensure a consistent product every time, no matter how inexperienced the kitchen staff may be. No microwaves or inconsistent cooking methods such as a stove top or grill are required.

The next stage of kitchen technology

Although the Vector series has long been recognized as the first multi-cook oven, Alto-Shaam is further advancing the category with Converge, the latest leap forward in multi-cook technology. The Converge series includes many of the features of Vector ovens, with a few powerful additions.

Converge ovens feature independent chambers that pair the power of Structured Air Technology with boilerless steam generation, providing endless cooking possibilities in a compact, ventless footprint. Operators can control the temperature, fan speed, humidity level, and cook time in each individual oven chamber, cooking via steam mode, convection mode, or a combination of both. Food quality, texture, and yield can be maximized by selecting any humidity level from 0–100% in each chamber.

Reduce the need for skilled labor with an advanced, touchscreen control and programmable recipes. For further time and money savings, ChefLinc™ remote oven management keeps operators connected to their ovens from wherever they are. Push and pull recipes and oven settings, update software, view reports and more. The oven can automatically compensate for door opening, extending the cook time based on how long the oven door is open. Steam is regenerated as soon as the door closes. The oven will also sound an alert after 20 seconds of the door being opened.

The ovens are space savers, with a footprint of 24-5/16" (618mm) wide and 40-1/4" (1029mm) deep. They can be placed on a stand or stacked with a holding cabinet, warming drawer, or additional multi-cook oven to further maximize space.

Converge ovens also help reduce labor thanks to their revolutionary automatic, self-cleaning programs, with four options from “rinse” to “light clean” to “medium clean” to “heavy clean” using safe, convenient cleaning tablets.

Now foodservice operators can steam, bake, grill, and air fry - all at once - without sacrificing quality. All that, and then the oven cleans itself, too. Converge is unlike any other oven, with flexibility, power, and versatility.

Whether you choose a Vector or Converge Multi-Cook Oven, you can trust that both options will significantly add value to your operation—saving you space, labor, and operating costs.

The Vector and Converge series ovens are just a few of the Alto-Shaam products revolutionizing the foodservice industry. Visit the Alto-Shaam website to see our products, or contact one of our experts for more information.

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