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The Pluses and Minuses of Open-Air Cooking

Open air, al fresco dining became even more popular during the Covid-19 pandemic when restaurant customers were looking for safe spaces and operators were searching for air purification systems for restaurants. The reality, though, is that eating outside isn’t the only option. Open air cooking is also growing in popularity.

What do people need to know about the benefits and challenges of open-air cooking? There are a few important points to keep in mind.

The Advantages of Open-Air Cooking

There are several significant advantages that come from open air cooking. When operators decide to cook outdoors, they can increase the amount of kitchen space they have. They are no longer constrained by walls, and they may be able to increase their order capacities. As a result, they can take pressure off the indoor kitchen and meet the needs of their customers more quickly.

Ventilation is also a benefit. Since all cooking is done in the open air, there’s natural airflow that eliminates the need for expensive ventilated foodservice equipment inside the kitchen. This reduces expenses and increases versatility.

Finally, with mobile cooking units, it’s easy to maneuver equipment from one outside location to another. This provides another layer of versatility, allowing operators to move cooking locations and the point of service from one area of the property to another, which is a great benefit for operations like hotels and resorts.

The Challenges of Open-Air Cooking

There are a handful of challenges that come with open air cooking, as well. For example, cooking in the great outdoors can mean the prevalence of insects. Operators should consider a pest mitigation strategy to keep bugs from infiltrating the preparation and service of both food and beverages.

It can also be harder to control the temperature of food when cooking outdoors. This will not only impact guests and staff, but it can also directly impact food quality. Equipment that makes the cooking process more consistent and the service more efficient reduces the negative impacts of ambient temperatures.

Finally, seasonality should be considered. Different seasons can create different challenges for certain types of meals, so kitchen operators should consider how the outdoor temperature and weather will help or hurt their food preparation. Leaves falling into a stockpot will likely lead to unwanted flavor profiles.

Evo Can Help Provide Open Air Cooking Solutions

Evo has several tools that can make it easier for people to cook in the open air. The Professional Wheeled Cart provides a tremendous amount of versatility with a flattop cook surface designed for easy mobility. When food is prepared directly in front of the customer, there’s a greater perception of quality and transparency.

The Professional Wheeled Cart can handle variable temperatures from 225 degrees F to 500 degrees F, have inner and outer burners, and feature electric push-button ignition. It\’s perfect for on and off-premise dining that’s being prepared in open-air and makes it easier to cook in locations never thought possible by addressing outdoor cooking challenges and leveraging the latest cooking technology.

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