What Size Machine Do I Need?
Popcorn machines are sized by "kettle" size. Each popcorn machine is designed to pop a certain number of ounces of unpopped popcorn kernals per cycle. Home use machines are generally sized with kettles between 4 and 8 ounces. The popcorn machine kettle size refers to the approximate number of one-ounce popped popcorn servings the kettle will produce in one popping cycle (which takes about 3-4 minutes). For example, a 4 oz popcorn machine will produce enough popcorn in one cycle to fill 4 one-ounce popcorn servings. A one-ounce serving is a bag approximately 3" wide by 2" deep by 8" tall and is generally a small kid's sized serving. Four ounces of popped popcorn is roughly equivalent to 1 1/4 microwave bags of popped popcorn. A microwave bag usually produces 3 1/2 ounces of popped corn. The best way to determine the size of machine you will need is to figure out how many one-ounce servings you will go through during your busiest hour. Divide the number of one-ounce servings per hour by 16 and you will have the size machine you will need to meet your busiest demand. For example: During their busiest hour, OHTA Concessions needs 125 one-ounce bags of popcorn. 125 divided by 16 equals 7.81, therefore OHTA Concessions should order an 8 oz. popcorn machine.
Small Volume- 4 oz. popcorn machines
4 oz popcorn machine poppers can produce 92 oz of popcorn per hour and are ideal for use in homes, home theaters, small break rooms, rec rooms, and game rooms.
Medium Volume- 6 oz. and 8 oz. popcorn machines
6 oz and 8 oz popcorn machine poppers can produce 113 to 147 oz of popcorn per hour and are ideal for use in larger home theaters, social clubs, video stores, larger break areas, restaurants, small bars, country clubs, and waiting rooms.
Large Volume- 12 oz. popcorn machines
12 oz popcorn machine poppers can produce about 221 oz of popcorn per hour and are ideal for use in large schools, zoos, midways, concession stands, and snack bars.
Commercial Volume- 16 oz. popcorn machines
16 oz popcorn machine poppers can produce about 295 oz of popcorn per hour and are ideal for use in commercial theaters, convention centers, amusement parks, arenas, stadiums, malls, and ball parks.
Heated Corn Deck
A heated corn deck is an essential feature of any popcorn machine. A foil or other type heating element is placed beneath the "deck" that the popped corn rests upon. This heating from below helps to dry, warm and keep the popped corn crisp. This heating is much more efficient than heating from above, via a heat lamp or other method. Heating of the popped corn is important to reduce the problem of a "chewy" popped corn product.
Old Maid Drawer
Old Maids, or, unpopped kernals, need to be separated from the served product - otherwise, unhappy patrons! No one likes to bite an unpopped kernal! These food decks include holes that the unpopped kernals fall through so as to not end up in your servings.
Stainless Steel food-contact surfaces offer the easiest and best cleanup! Anodized alluminum is a hardened kettle coating for long product life and improved heat distribution. Tempered Glass Panels offer the most durable cabinet exteriors.
Trolley Cart or Matching Base
Some of the larger popcorn machines can be quite heavy. A wheeled cart helps your popcorn machine be mobile. Moving from place to place is much easier with a matching cart. Also, a matched cart and/or base places the machine at the correct operating height and adds to the overall visual appeal.
What makes theater popcorn taste so much better than microwave popcorn?
The taste and flavor of popcorn is determined by the type of oil and seasoning salt that is used in the cooking process. Most theaters use a specially formulated cooking oil (usually coconut oil) that is partially absorbed by the popcorn as it pops. Butter flavored salt is also used to flavor and color the popped corn. This is what gives the popcorn its flavor. Most microwaveable popcorn is oil-less and comes out dry and flavor-less.
Why does popcorn “Pop”?
Quality popcorn has a moisture content of 13-14% inside the hull. When the popcorn is heated the moisture turns to steam and expands. Eventually the pressure from the expanding steam causes the hull to explode. Storing popcorn in a sealed container at room temperature or less will keep the moisture content consistent and the popcorn fresh. Avoid storing popcorn in extremely warm and dry conditions which will cause the moisture content in the popcorn to reduce. A loss of as little as 3% moisture can cause the kernel to become un-poppable (an old maid).
Does a popcorn machine require much maintenance?
The only maintenance required on popcorn machines is to keep them clean. Routine cleaning only requires that the excess oil is wiped off the kettle after you finish popping (a damp cloth will do the trick). You will want to do a thorough cleaning occasionally by removing the stainless steel trays (clean in a sink or dishwasher) and cleaning the glass panels with a standard glass cleaner. Any carbon build-up on the kettle that results from the failure to remove the excess oil can be cleaned with a “Kettle Cleaning Kit”.
All of our popcorn machines are backed by the manufacturer's warranties. See individual product descriptions for details.