With food temperature regulations being such a priority in the restaurant business, it's something you have to take seriously when you are opening a food service establishment. One of the best investments you can make when you are buying your restaurant equipment is hot-holding appliances, or food warmers. These keep prepared food at a safe temperature while it's waiting to be served. There are many different types of hot-holding equipment, and the right ones for your needs will depend on the types of things you're preparing and serving. Here is a look at some of the options.
Large-Scale Food Warming
If you'll be keeping a lot of different types of food hot at one time, such as for catering or buffet-style service, you'll need some larger-scale food warming equipment than you might need for a traditional commercial kitchen. After all, you have to keep the food hot while the guests are serving themselves and enjoying their meals.
Buffet-style warmers are a must for any buffet restaurant. These are large tables with heating units beneath and heat lamps above, in most cases. The design keeps the food surrounded by heat so that it stays warm for a much longer time. Make sure you also opt for sneeze guards for these tables to stay in compliance with food service regulations.
If you're dealing with smaller scales, you can opt for steam heating instead. Steam-heated tables generate steam from beneath the table surface, and they feature drop-in compartments with containers designed to fit those spaces. You simply put the food into the containers and place them in the steam table. These are smaller than buffet-style warmers, so they are better for smaller-scale service.
Prep Table Warming
There is no shortage of prep work to be done in a commercial kitchen. When you have sauces and similar products that need to be kept warm during service hours, you don't want to have them placed somewhere away from your final prep tables because that creates inefficiency in your plating flow. Instead, invest in some food well units that you can use to house your sauces. These are usually built into your counters, and they have a heating element, like coils, beneath the counter surface. You simply put the containers into the unit and pour your sauces into those containers.
Countertop warmers are another great option in these situations. They sit on top of the counter, and they can be designed to hold different types of containers for your sauces and any other prepped ingredients that need to stay hot. Being a countertop system, they are easy to move if you decide to redesign your kitchen layout later.
When plates are ready and awaiting delivery to the customer, you need to be sure that they stay hot and at a safe temperature. The easiest way to do this is with pre-service warming units. Heat lamps are one of the most popular choices. They mount over a countertop and generate heat downward. As an alternative, you can also choose warming drawers, heated shelves, or even heated cabinets. Just make sure that you have sufficient space to keep each plate separate from the rest; otherwise you risk contamination.
There are many different ways to keep food warm in your commercial kitchen and at food service locations. Before you choose any units, talk with a local restaurant supply service to explore all of your choices and find the right ones for what you need. Your restaurant supply service can help you find the best equipment.
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