Types: Foodservice operations use three scale varieties — electronic, portion control and receiving. Ele ctronic scales feature digital readouts. Portion control and receiving scales offer electronic or mechanical operation. Portion control scales allow operators to segment the proper amount of ingredients for a variety of menu items. Foodservice operators typically reserve receiving scales to weigh bulk food still in crates or cartons.


Capacities/Footprints: Capacities vary, depending on the type of scale. While portion control scale capacities typically range from 16 oz. to as much as 100 lbs., receiving scales hold boxes or cartons from 50 lbs. X 2 oz. to 200 lbs.X 100 lbs. in size. Platform sizes may range from 3¾" X 4¼" up to 15" X 15" for portion control scales. Receiving scale platforms start larger, usually between 10¾" X 9½" to 15" X 15". Electronic scales most often have footprints between 1" and 3" high and 5" and 10½" wide. Mechanical units usually take up less space, with footprints averaging 7" X 10". Compact mechanical models also are available, and feature space-saving 4" X 4½" footprints. Lower-profile designs with a smaller footprint are gaining popularity.

Energy Source(s): Mechanical scales provide a choice of either rotating or fixed dials. Electronic scales have LED displays. These units operate on a 9V battery, built-in rechargeable batteries or utilize an AC adapter ranging from 115V to 230V. One scale includes an internal rechargeable battery that can run for more than 120 hours and can function throughout the week on a single overnight recharge.

Manufacturing Method: Stainlesssteel construction is both durable and easy to clean. Some makers provide steel with a rustproof finish. Electronic models may feature a molded poly enclosure. Weighing areas have welded corners.

Standard Features: Standard features on mechanical models include a zero adjustment knob, stainless-steel platforms, easy-to-read dials and stainless-steel springs and mechanisms. Some models feature extra stainless-steel internal housing and platform supports to absorb accidental shock without damaging the internal mechanism. One offers a removable stainless-steel pan. Electronic scales feature backlit LED displays; power-saving auto-off features; adjustable feet; threeway displays that measure in fractions, decimals and grams; and full range tare.

New Features/Technology/ Options: Newer scale models feature graduations as finite as 1g. Some units offer a bidirectional serial port to interface with software programs for inventory and other tasks. New touchless zero mechanisms on digital units allow users to wave or place their hand over the display to bring it back to zero. To help prevent cross-contamination with portion control weighing and protect scale platforms from damage, one manufacturer offers color-coded scale platform covers. A new portion control scale that is 100-percent-washable is said to minimize the risk of cross-contamination and foodborne illness.

Key Kitchen Applications: Scales are used to weigh a variety of ingredients, menu items and bulk food that is packaged in boxes or other containers. Speed and accuracy are key selling points, particularly for mechanical scales. Washability is getting more attention as manufacturers focus on scales with fewer parts and no tools to disassemble units for cleaning. Dishwasher-safe mechanical scales and submersible digital scales are becoming more prevalent.

Maintenance Requirements: Do not use acetone or other solvents to clean the scale. Because these units have sensitive components, refrain from exposing scales to extreme temperatures or excessive moisture.