De-Ducting Your Kitchen: Ventless Equipment Solutions


How ventless equipment is changing professional kitchen economics

When scouting for locations, most operators agree that ventilated spaces can be scarce, come at a premium price, and present significant challenges.

Innovations in equipment and hood technology have provided end-users with several alternatives to that traditional costly, cumbersome and time-consuming ductwork. Ventless equipment was once considered a solution only for alternative locations, but has now gone mainstream as well.

Ventless hoods and appliances are opening up underutilized real estate for development into foodservice operations. With little or no building penetrations required, a myriad of new venues that were once considered off-limits are now possible, at more competitive leases than those which have had previous foodservice tenants.

Operators are no longer tied to searching for ventilated properties to build-out their kitchens. This can present enormous overhead savings, in the way of rent, HVAC and maintenance.

Ventless equipment solutions are free-standing and thus do not become attached to the building physically or legally. They typically can be depreciated by the owner/operator much more favorably than a conventional hood can.  The operator owns the ventless appliances and hoods; they remain easy to remove and relocate when the lease has expired.

Expensive conditioned (heated or cooled) ambient air need not be removed along with the effluent and grease laden vapors. Make-up air should not be required either, eliminating the costs associated with installing, operating and, especially conditioning it. As these units are self-contained with easy to reach components, cleaning and PM become localized affairs, without the need for expensive services and contracts.

Women’s Foodservice Forum February 2019 728×90

Consideration should be given to the top line too, as the plug-and-play aspect of these units makes adding menu items to existing spaces a breeze. Appliances as diverse as griddles, combi oven steamers, fryers, ranges, conveyors and speed ovens all have a footprint in this emerging tech silo.  All types of food can be prepared without the need for traditional ducting.

TurboChef Fire Ventless EquipmentMany jurisdictions’ convening authorities prefer ventless solutions over old- fashioned ducted hoods, as they come pre-approved, pre-assembled and with superior sensors and systems.  This makes the inspection process more streamlined with inherent savings in time and resources to all concerned.

Ventless equipment offerings have clear financial advantages over vented appliances. Best of all, they are available at prices comparable to conventional installations when factoring into consideration total installation costs.

We will obviously be hearing a lot about this topic in the near future, as viability and flexibility of these offerings appeal to a post-disruption aesthetic. The field of competitive providers is currently narrow, but growing, with several leaders emerging, some of whom have a great depth of experience globally in high volume locations. This serves to keep the total cost of ownership under control.

So, de-duct a professional kitchen today for big savings in build-out, overhead, labor and taxes!

Joe Ferri
Joe Ferri (aka the Foodiequipper) was conceived in a Greenwich Village speakeasy’s walk-in box, the love child of the hat check girl and bartender. He is in his fifth decade of (somewhat) gainful employment in the foodservice industry. He is past chairman of MAFSI and currently COO of Pecinka Ferri Assoc., a NY area equipment, furnishings and supplies representative.