A restaurant hood system is one of the more expensive pieces of restaurant equipment you will need for most restaurants so we cover it here separately. A hood is the shiny stainless steel box attached to the ceiling over the hot cooking surfaces you see in most restaurants that vents out the hot air and smoke from the cooking process.
Restaurants that don't use hot cooking, such as sandwich shops and coffee shops don't usually have hoods but almost every other kind of restaurant does. The size of hood you need will be determined by the amuont of equipment you need to place under it. Hoods can come in pre-configured sizes (cheaper) or be custom built (more pricey). They include the hood as well as the system to filter the air leaving, vent the air and also return air from outside into the building so that you don't create a vacuum effect.
Nearly all hoods also have a fire system built in which will spray fire retardent onto the cooking surfaces if the system detects a fire. They fire system can also be activated by hand. Since fires in restaurants are fairly common, and an uncontrolled fire can destroy an entire building, fire systems are required and you can't get insurance without one and the insurance you do have won't pay off if your system was out of date or hadn't passed inspection. Most areas have a minimum of an annual inspection requirement where they test the pressure and level of fire suppressant and make sure the detection system is working. They often also check for fire extinguishers and smoke alarms throughout the restaurant.
Hood systems must also be thorooughly cleaned regularly and there are companies that specialize in this using special equipment. Most restaurant owners have the employees regularly clean the hood surfcae and filters but have a service clean the actual ducts and vent system.
If you are buying a restaurant for sale make sure their hood is adequate for the business and it has its inspectrions up to date. Also make sure it is in compliance with the current regulations as these change from time to time and retrofitting can be extremely expensive.
Your restaurant contractor can help you determine the installation issues with your hood (if you are on the bottom floor of a multi-story building hood venting can become a nightmare) and your equipment vendors can help you with specs for the sizes of the pieces you will need to fit under the hood. This is an area to be very vcareful about because having your hood come up even a few inches shy of covering the equipment could result in you having to tear it down and start over with a bigger hood- that is not a mistake you want to make.
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