Most pubs need to deep fry a variety of foods be it the common all garden chip or bread crumbed brie, so a commercial deep fryer is an absolute necessity; the number and type you use will be dictated by the extent of your menu choice and the volume of food you sell (or want to sell).
Gas fryers use a natural gas flame either inside a series of tubes that run through the oil or through heating elements located towards the bottom of the oil tank. (Typically these are the types of fryers you will find in fish and chip shops.)
Electric fryers use an electrical heating element that drops directly into the oil to heat. Electric fryers are more efficient and will be the type of fryer you will want in an average pub kitchen.
There are three common fryer designs: tube style, open pot, and flat bottom. Almost all fryers are constructed out of heavy gauge stainless steel and include an accurate thermostat for temperature control.
Tube style fryers have a series of tubes that run through the bottom of the heating tank, gas burners run through these tubes and heat the oil. (This the fish and chip shop option)
Open pot fryers are heated with either a gas burner or an electric heating element that wraps around the base on the outside of the oil tank. The oil is heated as these elements heat the metal base. Open pot fryers also have a sediment zone below the point where electric element is heating the oil to allow food particles to escape the super hot oil. (Not typically seen in pub kitchens. Open pot fryers are typically easier to clean than tube style fryers because the bottom sediment zone is open and reachable. The heating tubes on tube style fryers make cleaning the bottom of the tank more difficult because they sit in the tank above the sediment zone, blocking easy access.
Flat bottom fryers do not have a sediment zone that allows food particles to settle out of hot oil. This type of fryer is therefore best for lighter foods that can be bulk fried like chips. (This is the most typical fryer in the majority of pub kitchens). Flat bottomed fryers being the most commonly used in pub kitchens come as table top (literally sit on a table or counter) and tend to be smaller than freestanding units (with a cupboard underneath to accommodate oil buckets etc).
New Fryer Technology
As with all technology, the manufacturers of commercial kitchen appliances are always looking for ways to improve on tried and tested designs, deep fryers are no exception. Newest models incorporate features such as high energy efficiency and low oil usage combined with multiple pre-sets for deep frying various foods. Some claim to save up to 40% energy over older models, 10% less oil used and one claims 97% energy efficiency. The trade-off for these new technologies is their increased purchase costs, but with both energy and cooking oil being subject to above average inflation these new types of fryers might pay for themselves in a relatively short period of time.
The cooking oil you use in your fryer deteriorates over time and should be replaced, the frequency with which you need to replace cooking oil depends upon what you cook, how much of it you cook and how regularly.
To improve oil quality and lifespan, use a cooking oil filtration system to filter out food bits and debris from the fryer. A fryer filter works by draining cooking oil from the fryer tank, passing it through a filter that strains out unwanted particles and then you return the cleaned oil to the fryer tank. (Most cooking oil suppliers and catering equipment companies will have manual filtering equipment for sale; the former may even provide this kit free in return for a solus supply contract.)
It is also important to boil out fryers regularly to burn fat and carbon build-up off the heating elements and the tank. These deposits can become corrosive and cause severe damage to the fryer. Be sure to clean the inside of the fryer regularly as well, the most logical opportunity for this being when you replace the cooking oil. There are numerous cleaning chemicals available for these regular cleaning jobs, my favourite is an all purpose cleaning powder called Deepio.
Used cooking oil should be stored for recycling and your food supplier will have details of contractors who will collect used oil for free, some even pay a small amount for recovered cooking oil. Never put oil down your drains, not only is it illegal but you run the risk of blocking your drains (the cost of unblocking them can run to many hundreds of pounds).
How To Run A Pub has teamed up with CrowdSourcing to offer a waste oil collection service which pays up to £4.00 per 20 litres for more details click here and quote HTRAP to get this deal.