Equipment Guides

Restaurant Fryers 101: How Proper Maintenance Will Save You Money (And A Huge Hassle!)

To help restaurant leaders and operators understand the ins-and-outs of their fryers, and how to avoid major cost pitfalls, we have compiled everything you need to know about commercial frying equipment!
Kareem Azees
Marketing Lead
Last updated:
May 12, 2024

Everyone loves fried food. From french fries to chicken fingers, people flock to fried foods for comfort and convenience. And if your restaurant owns and operates a fryer, then you’ll know first hand how hard it can be to maintain. However, while a fryer can seem like a daunting piece of equipment to constantly clean and repair, there are huge cost savings within your fryer system.

Well maintained commercial deep fryers can last up to 10 years. This is a huge return on investment for most restaurant operators, but does require constant upkeep and care. If fried foods are a staple on your menu, the breakdown of a fryer could result in thousands of dollars of lost revenue!

To help restaurant leaders and operators understand the ins-and-outs of their fryers, and how to avoid major cost pitfalls, we have compiled everything you need to know about commercial frying equipment!

How does a commercial deep fryer work?

A fryer is a fairly simple piece of equipment to operate: oil is held and heated to a high temperature in a large, pot-like insert. You place food in a handled basket and drop it into the hot oil for the necessary cooking time. Once food is fried, it is usually set to rest and drain off excess oil until it is ready to be served to hungry customers!

Frying food is a quick method of cooking, and requires very specific oil temperatures. Typically oil is heated between 350 and 400 degrees, but will drop in temperature as soon as food is added to the oil. It is critical to be able to reach the high temperatures needed for optimal frying - if the oil is too hot or smoking, then the food will burn. If the oil is not hot enough, the food will become soggy and have an ‘oily taste’ that is unappealing to most people.

What are the most 3 most common types of fryers?

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1) Tube Style Deep Fryer

This type of fryer is best used for breaded foods, or foods that could leave a large amount of sediment at the bottom of the fryer. This type of equipment has tubes that run along the bottom and through the oil, and offer better heat distribution and transfer.

This style of commercial deep fryer is most common for restaurants, as it offers the best overall versatility. But since this type of equipment has many pieces and tubes, it can become fairly difficult to clean. Having the proper preventive maintenance plans in place, and ensuring that recurring cleaning is being done on your deep fryer will be a huge help in increasing the longevity of your fryer and fryer oil.

2) Open Pot Fryer

This type of frying equipment has no tubes or burners within the oil pot itself, making it very easy to clean and drain. Open Pot Fryers typically have a V-shaped bottom, making the ‘cold zone’ a bit smaller than a traditional restaurant fryer. Open Pot’s are best used to fry non breaded foods, such as french fries or frozen foods.

Open Pot Fryers usually experience less failure since the heating element is outside of the oil pot itself. Since the heating element is not within the frying pot, it is much less energy efficient than other types of fryers. However, since there are no baffles, heating coils, or burners to clean within the equipment itself, Open Pot Fryers are much easier to clean than Tube Style or Flat Bottom fryers.

3) Flat Bottom Fryer

Flat Bottom fryers are large, rectangle-shaped fryers that have the heating elements directly under the fry pot. These fryers are best used for frying battered foods, such as fish or funnel cakes, and are typically found in concession stands or food trucks. Battered foods will sink to the bottom of the oil before rising and becoming golden brown, so the fryer size must be large.


These types of fryers don’t require handled-baskets, and also do not have a ‘cold zone’. Since there is no cold zone, the sediment that falls off the frying foods will fall to the bottom of the fryer and continue to cook (which could pose a huge fire hazard!).

What’s better: Gas or Electric?

Fryers will be expensive, and can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the size. However, operating the fryer for years to come will also be a cost. While there is no correct answer when it comes to gas versus electric fryers, there are a few things restaurant operators should consider:

  • Depending on your region, the price of gas may vary. Going with the most cost-effective option is your best bet.
  • Decide on what type of fryer unit you want, and understand what is necessary for that specific type of equipment. Tube Style and Open Pot deep fryers are usually only available in gas-powered models.
  • Are you prone to power outages? Using gas may be a smarter choice if your lights tend to go out unexpectedly.
  • Electric fryers tend to be easier to install, due to fewer connections needed.
  • Electric fryers are more energy efficient since the heat is submerged, and offers faster oil recovery times
  • There is always a concern of gas leaks when using any gas-powered appliances.
  • Deep fryers that run on gas tend to be less expensive than electric, but the set-up fees may be higher.

What are the most common deep fryer repair and maintenance problems?

1) Weak Baffles in Tube Style Deep Fryers

In tube style deep fryers, there are tubes that run along the bottom and through the hot oil to help with heat distribution and transfer. These tubes hold baffles, which are the metal pieces that the burners are aimed at. Baffles contain small holes to allow for proper airflow. However, the baffles are likely to weaken overtime due to use, and which will lead to excessive heat levels. The result is running the risk of constantly overheating oil and burning foods - this is definitely a cost detriment!

2) Lack of Cleaning & Overall Deterioration

Deep fryers are getting a lot of use, and the oil used can be very messy! It is very important to maintain a rigorous deep cleaning schedule for your fryers, as it will only improve the overall food quality and increase the lifespan of the equipment.


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Filtering the oil in your fryer is a critical step in maintaining the quality of the machine. This will not only help eliminate any fire hazards, but also improve overall food taste. When food is fried in old oil, the taste is extremely unappealing. Most restaurants will need to filter their oil once a day, but may require more if the fryer is used at a heavy capacity. Filtering oil can be a dangerous job, and should be completed by a trained member of your team.

3.) Leaking Tank:

The largest issue your deep fryer could have would be an oil leak. Having hot oil seeping out of your equipment and into your kitchen is a huge safety hazard. If you notice hardened oil beneath your frying unit, this is an indication that something is leaking.

While maintaining the fryer is not too expensive, replacing an entire oil tank will be! Leaking issues are usually the result of carbon buildup, which is only avoidable through proper cleaning and ongoing maintenance checks.

4.) Clogged Burner:

Burners are key parts of a deep frying system. Heating the oil to the proper temperatures is important in food quality and ensuring cooking times. But fryer burners are very well used, and tend to get clogged if your equipment is not being cleaned consistently.

Food debris and sediment, or built up carbon residue, could all be lodged within the burners. If you notice that your fryer is not heating properly, this is likely the cause. And while there are some incidents where a simple cleaning is needed, you will likely need the help of a professional if your burners have been left too long.

How can restaurants impact costs by efficiently maintaining fryers?

Deep fryers can be very well loved, and very well used. However, keeping operating costs low should be a priority for any restaurant leader! And while ongoing cleaning should be performed daily, how can restaurant owners and operators efficiently maintain their fryers for years to come, and help improve their bottom line?

The best option is preventive maintenance! Ensuring your equipment is being monitored and maintained by professionals is a great way to eliminate the risk of emergency breakdowns. If your menu has multiple fried food options, it would be the worst case scenario to have no fryer access during a busy service. This could result in thousands of dollars lost!

Preventative maintenance on your deep fryers will:

  • increase the longevity of the equipment, allowing it to run to it’s full potential
  • ensure food quality is always top notch, and oil temperatures do not fluctuate during cooking times
  • avoid emergency and expensive repairs & replacements, which will save a ton of money over the lifespan of the fryer

At ResQ, we know having the proper preventive maintenance procedures set up for your commercial deep fryer is a proven way to increase equipment lifespan, lower daily operations costs, and maintain happy customers. If you are looking for other resources on deep fryer repairs or preventative maintenance, please check out our other blog posts:

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