10 Tips for Getting the Right Food Warmer for Your Commercial Kitchen
A good food warmer is a must-have for a busy kitchen. It can be used for everything from holiday comfort food to sauces used all year long. You'll need a good one to keep your restaurant running quickly and well.
Even though the idea behind a food warmer is simple, there are a lot of little things that go into making one. Getting one with the wrong size or made of the wrong material can cost you a lot.
Don't worry, we can help you with all of your commercial kitchen equipment in a lot of ways. Here are 10 things you should think about before you buy your next food warmer.
1. Having the right skills
The main reason to have a food warmer is so that you can serve sauces and dishes all day long without having to make each plate individually. They do this with good heat and good use of space.
For the space factor, you need to figure out how much of each item you will serve at once.
If you serve a popular dish all day, it would be good to have a big container for it. If you only want to eat that dish for dinner, a smaller one will do.
Every type of food warmer will be set up differently and have a different number of slots. For a lot of different things, a set-up with multiple spaces and fractional pans can work. Round inserts might be better for smaller items.
2. Thermostats Versus Rheostats
The heat is, of course, the second most important part of a food warmer. It's not always as simple as "turn on and go."
There are two kinds of heat controls: thermostats and rheostats.
There are different temperature ranges on thermostats, and you can change them slowly. Rheostats only control output, so they have three settings: low, medium, and high.
Most people like thermostats because they give them more power. You don't want to burn a dish when it's almost gone, so the temperature needs to change as the space in the container grows.
Also, stay away from old tech like heat lamps. For a few minutes, they work fine, but the concentrated heat has the same effect as the rheostat. You want the heat to be spread out evenly so there are no hot or cold spots.
3. More ways to distribute
A simple ladle is the most common way to serve. It's easy, but it can be hard to work with. The rush to get dinner will only make things worse.
You can always add more utensils, and some food warmers even have other ways to get the food out. Some can work with pumps, and others have lids and extra containers to make sure the right amounts are given out.
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4. Place and Movement
Most of the time, food warmers are set up in one area of the kitchen and left there.
This works well for many. Some people may need other choices.
If you rent out a kitchen or need to change your setup often, you need a food warmer that you can move around. This could even be its own mobile station.
On the other hand, you might want a small setup and a portable food warmer that you can plug in and place on any counter. Size will make a difference!
5. How well electricity works
From the start of cooking to the end, a food warmer will be on. Because of this, it can use a lot of power.
There may be ways to save power on some makes and models. Some can store the heat and keep it going even when they are turned off. Others may have a good battery.
Keep an eye out for the Energy Star label. It is a national certification that says the equipment is at least 70% more efficient than standard models.
6. Power that is induced
One type of food warmer is one that you just plug in and heat. There are some other things to do. One that has been getting a lot of attention is induction.
Induction is a great gas- and electricity-free alternative. It was first used to replace parts in stovetop ranges, but it also works well in food warmers.
Induction is a very natural way to save energy. It turns all of the energy it makes into heat, which you can use to keep your food warm.
7. Certification for Rethermalizer
The worst thing about a food warmer is that it doesn't heat the whole container.
If some of the food gets cold, you might not notice until it's time to serve.
This is bad for both service and health.
Look for a rewarming warmer that has been approved by the NSF. This handy addition can help spread the heat around and keep it there. With this, you can get to 165 degrees, which is the safe zone.
8. Cleaning things
When the day is over and everything is done, it can be hard to clean up.
The less you have to worry about when cleaning, the better, and food warmer containers made of good materials can help with that.
The clear winner here is stainless steel. It lives up to its name because it can handle high heat and is easy to clean.
Be sure that the warmer is made of pure stainless steel.
The materials used in the cheaper versions might not be as good.
9. Glass jars and bottles
Glass is another material that can help you get the most out of your food warmers.
Quality glass can handle heat well and is easy to clean if you prepare it and take care of it.
The best thing about a glass container is that it is clear. Keeping an eye on the food as it warms up is a must. Make sure the temperature is just right. If you can watch it, it's easier to avoid food that is too cool or too hot.
Even a simple glass door or lid can make it easy to quickly see how the warming station is doing.
10. A good guarantee
The warranty is the last thing you should look at. Buying a used food warmer can be risky because wear and tear can be hard on them. A nice warranty will also come with a brand-new food warmer.
There can be a lot going on in a kitchen. Even a small accident could do a lot of damage to your food warmer, and if you don't have a warranty, that can be a huge cost.
How to Keep Your Food Warmer and Clean Your Kitchen
Whether it is finding the best food warmer or perfecting a recipe to wow your customers, there is a lot that goes into crafting a perfect restaurant. In food service, you are always trying to do the best you can.