An Efficient Addition to Any Commercial Kitchen
Restaurant owners and managers find themselves asking several questions when considering which products to add to their lineup of commercial kitchen equipment. Answering these questions will help you determine which equipment additions and upgrades are a must and which are less likely to have a major impact on your bottom line. Critical considerations include:
- What’s on the menu today, and how might that change in the future?
- Are these menu additions appropriate for my restaurant concept, and will they appeal to diners?
- How many meals will I need to deliver, and how will this vary by day of the week and time of day?
Is there one piece of commercial cooking equipment that aligns with all these questions in a positive way for many restaurants, due to its unique combination of versatility, productivity, performance, and usability? It’s a clamshell griddle or grill.
What Is a Clamshell Griddle or Grill Used For?
Also known as dual-sided grills, clamshells are a productivity-enhancing, griddle accessory enabling kitchen staff to prepare large batches of product easily and efficiently. Because of this, they’re an ideal fit for quick-serve, fast casual, and sport/recreation facilities—all foodservice operations where consumers are looking for speed of service and ability to customize their orders to their tastes.
How Do Clamshell Griddles Work?
When in the up position, the entire surface of the griddle may be used as needed. When in the down position, the clamshell griddle plate heats the product from above while the griddle heats the product from below, thus enabling both sides of the product to cook simultaneously. Advancements in functionality have boosted the ease-of-use of many clamshell griddles with kitchen staff able to lift and lower the clamshell with one hand.
Most manufacturers offer the clamshell griddle plate in both smooth and grooved steel. They are also available in highly reflective and radiant surfaces. The smooth plate is ideal for batch-cooking products like bacon and quesadillas while the grooved plate leaves uniform markings which increase the appetizing appeal of panini and chicken breasts. Some manufacturers offer a special, composite plate, which allows for more even heating and quicker recovery times than standard steel. And while there are automated, floor-standing, dual-sided griddles on the market, manual clamshells mounted to countertop griddles provide operators with great menu flexibility in a small footprint.
Compatible with both gas and electric griddles, clamshells may be mounted to a griddle before shipping from the manufacturer’s facility or to an existing griddle in the field. Offering ultimate versatility, clamshells may be installed every 12 inches on a griddle. For example, some operators may install two clamshells on a 36-inch griddle, thus leaving one 12-inch, cooking zone open to toast buns or cook other product. In other words, a clamshell can be configured to meet the precise specifications of your restaurant and continue to evolve with your restaurant as your needs change and grow.
If your current menu offerings—or potential, future changes to your menu—have your griddle running at full capacity, consider adding a clamshell to your operation to maximize griddle production, reduce cook times, and add consistency to the cooking process.
Menu Items to Cook With Your Clamshell
Are you wondering what you can cook with your clamshell? The answer is simple: any menu items you cook on the griddle or grill. Additionally, clamshells are particularly suited for high-volume restaurants with menus featuring items of consistent thickness. In addition to burgers, chicken fillets, seafood fillets, steaks, and pressed sandwiches, clamshells are also useful for tortillas, quesadillas, burritos, bacon, pancakes, and much more.
The benefits of clamshell griddles are undeniable: Not only do they allow you to cut grilling time in half while serving twice as many customers during the same period of time, they do so with no sacrifice of quality. From single, signature offerings to large-batch, menu orders, a clamshell offers a winning combination of versatility, productivity, and performance.