How to Know When to Replace a Piece of Hot Food Holding Equipment

If treated well, it is not uncommon for a piece of hot food holding equipment to last for a very long time. More often than not, foodservice operators tend to replace their hot food holding equipment based on aesthetics rather than the item's wearing out. Also, some operators may identify the need to add a few more pieces of hot food holding equipment to help smooth production and provide better customer service.

To determine whether a foodservice operation requires additional hot food holding equipment, examine the workflow and use of labor during busy periods. For example, in the back of the house, let's say that the fry station can keep up with dinner demand but the grilling station continues to fall behind. Using this scenario, it is probably wise to add some hot food holding for the grill station to help it keep up with some of that demand.

On the point of service side, deli cases and buffets only hold a certain amount of food. So in the event a specific item runs out operators need to have a backup or run the risk of losing sales. Properly placed hot food holding equipment can have these backup items ready for staff to access in a timely and efficient manner that can have a minimal impact on service.

In addition, this takes the burden off the cooking staff by allowing them to prepare certain menu items in advance and maintain the food quality. Otherwise, if the staff feels they are behind and need to force food out too fast, quality may be compromised.

Still, there are a few telltale signs that a piece of hot food holding equipment needs replacing. One indicator is that the unit's door does not close solidly, allowing heat to escape. Some hot food holding units feature latches or magnets that hold the doors shut. And in other cases, the door's gasket could be compromised. If these become damaged in any way, it will become difficult for the equipment to maintain the proper temperatures or the unit may work harder to do so, resulting in increased energy consumption. Also, if the unit is not holding temperature or returning to temperature quickly, and the door seems to be in working order, then that could be a sign the heating element is starting to fail.
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