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Service Tips: Steam Tables

Serving equipment like steam tables are essential to all sorts of operations, from buffets to fast-casual concepts that hold high-quality cooked proteins for quick assembly. This equipment isn’t managed as actively as a grill or oven, but it still needs to be cared for by restaurant staff. Here are a few tips for keeping steam tables running smoothly.

  • Clean steam tables daily. Allow the unit to cool before cleaning and don’t use abrasive sponges or chemicals to clean the wells, as these could damage the surface.
  • Many steam tables come with cutting boards or a work surface attached. These should be cleaned daily, as well.
  • When cleaning a steam table, make sure to clear the drain. Small bits of food that get caught can prevent the unit from draining properly.
  • Don’t heat steam tables unless they are filled with water. This is energy inefficient and can actually damage the unit.
  • Regularly descale units. The frequency depends on the location’s water quality, but many manufacturers recommend once per week. Units that aren’t descaled as needed will consume more energy and have a shorter service life.
  • For gas fired units, clean and check the burners and pilot lights during planned maintenance visits. For electric steam tables, check cords for fraying and other wear.