Why is BTU Important?

BTU, or British Thermal Unit, should be as commonly-known as a watt or horsepower. But weirdly, it isn’t.

In scientific terms, one BTU is around 1,055 joules. But more specifically, one BTU is what is needed to heat or cool one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. If you remember chemistry, you probably heard something like this before: Calorie–except in calories, you heat or cool one gram of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

But why is this important in kitchen equipment? Because the amount of BTUs of something like your oven or your range indicates how much heat energy your oven or your fryer produces.

Now before I move on, it’s important to note that BTU are used for gas-powered kitchen equipment. For electric equipment, you use watts.

So does it mean it’s better to order an oven that can output 70,000 BTUs versus an oven that produces 50,000 BTUs? That really depends on what kind of restaurant you’re operating. Now if you’re ordering a pizza chain or a place specializing in fried foods, then high-BTU ovens and fryers are important because they can cook your pizzas and your chicken wings more quickly. But that line of thinking can’t be used when you’re baking a cake. You’ll probably burn the dough if you use a pizza oven to bake cakes.

Also, higher-BTU equipment also means higher energy bills. Much like a 1500-watt blender will pour out more on the energy bill than using a little immersion blender, you’re going to have to expect a big return if you’re going to use a triple-well fryer (and the proper gas supplier to back it up).

If any of this is a concern for you when doing your restaurant, then it’s safe to go electric. But unlike your house/apartment, you can’t go start plugging up willy-nilly. However, talking about electrical requirements will be for another time.

So because gas appliances are still a big deal in Florida, One Fat Frog is proud to constantly brag that we offer free gas conversions. We’d rather you save what you would ordinarily spend for gas conversions on your restaurant investments than spending additional money on a small kit.