Hot food bars have become a staple in many restaurant settings, whether they’re being used to house side dishes and sauces in the kitchen, or to showcase delicious entrées on a buffet. When choosing the right one for your business, some of the key components include proper sizing and ensuring that you’ve got the appropriate features. Read on to discover how to make the right buying decision for your business’ hot food bar from a reputable hot food merchandiser.
Pros of Steam
There are a variety of food warming options that do not involve steam, though using steam to transfer heat from its source to food creates much more evenly-distributed temperatures. It’s still necessary to monitor the food and its temperature while on a steam table, though these offer a much lower risk of overcooking or burning food. Hot bars are the optimal method for holding a number of large food pans at the right serving temperatures.
Selecting the right steam table starts with an understanding of how and where it will be utilized. Self-serve hot bars are typically accessible by patrons from either side and their controls are hidden to prevent any tampering. Either side of these self-serve food bars come equipped with sneeze guards to protect guests from any germs, and the majority of health departments require them.
The sizing of hot food bars is conducted according to the number of full-size steam table pans that they can accommodate. The smallest can hold only two, while bigger ones can accommodate at least five or more. These wells can house many smaller pan sizes in all sorts of combinations as long as the right supports are utilized to hold them. These supports can come with steam tables, or else you might need to buy them separately.
Estimate the number of full-size compartments that you will need to accommodate all of the food that must be on hand available at busier times of the day. To play it safe, choose a larger size than you believe you will need to accommodate an increase in business; you’re better off having too much space rather than too little.
Open-Element Hot Food Bars
Heating elements with these types of equipment aren’t sealed and are exposed when the pans are removed. Water is kept in “spillage pans” that are inserted into the wells above the element that are constantly being replaced manually.
Sealed-Well Hot Food Bars
These aren’t as labor-intensive as open-element hot food bars, with heating elements that are sealed under a well that water is directly added to. These include drains and valves to change the water, and potentially automatic-fill systems that greatly reduce manual labor. Keep these tips in mind when choosing the right hot food bar for your business.