A Guide to Heated Holding Cabinets
Making Your Restaurant Work For You
A restaurant’s kitchen is typically a sea of stainless steel appliances all of which serve a crucial role in delivering the best product possible to the customer. Whether it’s having the correct cutlery, making sure the right amount of inventory is on hand, or that it is properly staffed, perhaps one of the most vital items that may often be overlooked is a heated holding cabinet.
If you know what a heated holding cabinet is, then you understand how much it helps in the day-to-day operations of foodservice. If you aren’t sure or want to learn more about how this kitchen equipment can save not only time and money, but also boost the overall quality of product served, then continue reading below…
The main purpose of a heated holding cabinet is to maintain a product at safe serving temperatures, varying from short-term staging to prolonged periods, while also maintaining a “just-cooked” quality. With the foodservice world shifting more and more towards delivery, curbside, and to-go services heated holding equipment is central to providing a speedy and high-quality experience for the customer. It’s a simple idea but can be quite complex to execute efficiently. Therefore, it is critical that operators know three main things:
Deciding which cabinet is right mainly depends on the type of product that will be held. The main considerations should be heat system, cabinet style, door types, and construction.
Reach-in – Reach-ins are great for putting against a wall, having doors on only the front of the units for adding and removing foods.
Pass-Through – Pass-through models are great for connecting two areas, whether that be between prep areas, or between the back of house and the front. Pass-through units allow food to be kept warm while it is moved from one section to another, or to hold the food for future use.
Insulation is an invaluable addition to a heated holding cabinet. This addition means higher efficiency, leading to a much lower cost to run the unit at the target temperatures. Insulation is also crucial if you are using your holding cabinet for transportation as the food inside will stay heated to safe temperatures for longer. The only reason to go for a non-insulated cabinet is that they are cheaper, but this price difference will quickly be overtaken by the additional cost to run the unit and keep it within the target temperature range.
Solid – As the name suggests, this is a solid steel door with no upgrades. The main advantage is that this style is cheaper. Though you will have to keep in mind that you must open the entire unit to put items in, take them out, count the number of items remaining, and thus may use more energy to maintain proper heating of the items if you have to do this often.
Glass – Doors with an upgrade to have a glass front panel will allow you to look inside to see how many units left you have of an item at a glance. This is very helpful to maintain an even temperature throughout the unit.
Dutch – The upgrade to have dutch doors is another way of preserving an even temperature throughout a unit. This upgrade allows you to only open half of the unit when putting food items inside or taking them out. This keeps the heat from escaping within the other section and aids in maintaining consistency while holding food items within the unit.
Stainless Steel – These are much more durable, suited for heavy use, and easy to maintain.
Aluminum – These are cheaper but do tend to dent and scratch easier thus requiring more upkeep.
Mobility – Casters are standard for almost all models; this allows you to easily move units around your kitchen depending on need or to help with workflow.
Heated Holding Cabinets can range from under-counter models (34” or below) to full-sized models (64.1” and above). Consider the footprint you have available for your heated holding cabinet when determining which model would be the right fit for your kitchen. Different models will vary greatly in the amount of food they can hold as it depends on the size of the model and what type of food you are holding within the cabinet.
Shown below are our UHS line of models. This helps to visualize the differences between the Under Counter, Half Size, Three-Fourths Size, and Full Size models.
FWE has made custom heated holding cabinets for almost any scenario you can think of. If you believe that you may need to customize one of our cabinet styles, fill out our Get a Quote form to get started. We can help you every step of the way, from designing to building the units, or may even be able to recommend a different style of cabinet that may be the perfect fit to your needs.
Purchasing the equipment is one thing but knowing how to use it effectively is a whole other. To get the most out of your heated holding appliance, you must learn the proper operating procedures and every manufacturer’s is different.
Thankfully, FWE has the Literature Center on our website. The Literature Center provides resources such as tri-fold brochures, guides by application (such as Heated Holding), and many other resources that are vital for operators to get the most out of our products.
A great example would be our UHS-12. You can find the full UHS-12 Operator’s Manual by clicking on the hyperlink provided and if you ‘d rather have a hard copy you can request one by mail here. Another great resource is our YouTube channel. You will be able to find quick informative videos on certain units that will briefly cover the basics of that model. Finally, if neither of these resources can answer your specific question, our support staff would be more than happy to help you with any questions you may have here.
Bulk Food Heated Holding Cabinets
Moisture Holding Cabinets
Proofer / Heater Cabinets
Heated Holding Shelves
Low Temp Cook & Hold Ovens
Refrigerators, Air Screens & Freezers
Racks & Queen Mary
Tray Delivery Carts
Enclosed Non-Heated Transport Carts
Mobile Bars & Back Up Service
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