There’s no shortage of options to choose from when it comes to foodservice serving equipment. While it’s good to have an array of choices, it’s also helpful to know how to find true quality and durability.
If you’re looking for serving line equipment that’s made to perform and built to last in your customers’ kitchens, keep these fail-safe tips in mind.
- Look at material choices and design.
The equipment should be focused on strength as well as finish standards—you shouldn’t have to compromise one for the other. Remember, thicker or heavier weighted steel is generally better quality and more durable.
- Understand plant processes.
You’ll feel more comfortable making a decision if you can talk to a friendly and knowledgeable representative from the company or even visit the plant yourself. The rep should be able to talk with you about the manufacturer’s contemporary sheet metal processing technology and whether it’s repeatable and consistent. All products should be inspected for safety and performance, too.
- Fabricate, fabricate, fabricate.
Fabricated pans can be a better option than drawn-down pans that are stretched or stamped out of sheet metal. That’s because fabricated pans have a more consistent material thickness across each plane, helping them withstand operational demands of shrinking and expanding in varying temperatures. To tell whether a pan is fabricated, pick it up and knock on it. It should feel heavy, and the sound should be deep, not tinny.
- Go for the gasket.
High-quality equipment should have a beaded edge top frame with sealing gaskets on pans. Beaded edges provide added strength for support and offer a measure of water containment for spills. There should also always be a built-on gasket, which allows for direct installation onto any substrate without scratching or leaking. Preinstalled gaskets also save the labor and time of having to place the gasket yourself or ask your customers to do it.
- Make sure it’s finished.
Your customers wouldn’t serve an unfinished dish, so why would a manufacturer sell an unfinished piece of equipment? Exposed, raw edges can be sharp and can catch on things. All seams should be fully welded, especially on equipment that’s used in the back of house. Check to see whether there are extra bends in the equipment that prevent raw edges.
- Evaluate the insulation.
Premium equipment should have comparatively greater amounts of insulation for efficient performance. It might seem like a standard check, but insulation is often overlooked or compromised for other fancy features. In the end, it’s the insulation that’s going to help retain heat or keep things colder longer.
Finding the right piece of equipment isn’t always easy, but this checklist should help alleviate some stress when you’re creating specifications for your customers, no matter their serving needs.
About the Atlas Metal INFINITI Series
If you’re looking for the right balance of design and durability, the INFINITI series is the way to go. With unlimited options for customization, we can help you provide the perfect equipment solution for any customer’s signature look. Because at Atlas, we make serving equipment—but we go about it a little differently than the other guys. All manufacturers claim their equipment is durable and reliable. We could say the same things too, but we’ve found that a hands-on approach to doing business is what makes us different.