Warming and holding equipment are very necessary for keeping your food at safe temperatures. Aside the fact that things like food warmer can help you avoid food borne illness and health inspection violations, they also hold your menu items at appetizing temperatures.
If your mobile kitchen set up allows you to warm cold foods or keep recently cooked items at serving temperatures, you will need the right equipment to ensure proper food safety. For food trucks in the United States, a countertop food warmer is an ideal addition to your equipment, and it can keep foods like pasta, vegetables, and casseroles at safe temperatures.
Note that most food truck warming and holding units use both dry and wet heat. So to ascertain the best choice for your truck, you will have to understand the different food items you will be storing in the equipment and make a decision based on your mobile kitchen’s specific needs.
Dry heat equipment is known to work similar to standard ovens, either thermostatically or manually. This equipment makes use of less energy than moist heat, although it heats less quickly. Since a food truck is constantly on the road, dry heat holding and warming equipment may be a better option for mobile food vendors because there is no risk of spillage.
Meanwhile, moist heat comes from humidifiers in the equipment that releases a small amount of moisture into the holding area. They prevent items from drying out without making the food soggy. Moist heat tends to use more energy, but heats up faster.
There are a variety of warming and holding units available for your needs. You should decide on the equipment you need based on the types of food you will be warming or holding before making a purchase. Also remember that warming and heated holding equipment is not solely for maintaining food temperature, but can also be used to keep your mobile cuisine fresh for your customers.
What is the Best Food Warmer for Food Truck?
As a Food Truck vendor, you are expected to keep prepared food items at the appropriate serving temperatures until you are ready to use them. Good food warmers can keep things warm, crisp, moist, hot and “just right” for you until you need them. Here are Food warmers to consider for your food truck.
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1. Countertop Food Warmers
Food warmers are more or less used to serve hot food in a self – serve environment, such as a food truck. Some are tailored to specific products while others are all – purpose. These food warmers can hold hotel sized pans for solid foods or soup style dishes for liquid foods. They are available with electric hook – ups, which reduce mobility, but increase safety.
2. Soup Warmer or Kettle
Soup kettles ensure that your soups remain hot until they are ready for serving. Soup kettles should specifically be used to bring precooked foods up to a safe warming temperature, but you cannot cook raw food in them.
3. Drawer Warmers
Drawer warmers are ideal choices for holding food, but not for display. These are usually cabinets or drawers that work well in a food truck because they are smaller in size and don’t take up valuable countertop space.
Have it in mind that drawer warmers have a wide variety of uses from holding hot meals with lids for banquet serving to holding bread rolls or similar foods. These warmers can have separate controls for multiple drawers, allowing a user to store various items at different temperatures and humidity levels.
4. Heated Merchandisers and Cabinets
Heated Merchandisers and Cabinets are units with almost universal heating and merchandising application. They are containers available in various sizes with heating sources which sit on countertops displaying food to customers. Note that with these heated holding cabinets, you can keep your prepped ingredients, completed entrees, breads, pizzas, and other food items at the right temperature until the moment you need to serve them.
These Cabinets are designed to control humidity and temperature for proper dough rising, proofing cabinets are ideal for bakeries, sandwich shops and trucks.
- These heated Cabinets designed to hold pizzas sometimes have turning pizza trays.
- These units keep products uniformly warm by using both bottom and top heat.
- It is important that all your snack warmers are easy to clean as they may be seen by customers often and the product they contain should be appetizing.
- There is a range of accessories for your snack warmer that you may find necessary to purchase including tray slides, sneeze guards and temperature displays.
5. Overhead Warmers
Overhead warmers are ideal when you want to keep food warm for a short period of time. They tend to have toggle switches that simply turn them on and off or allow you to go from low to high heat; therefore you won’t have much control over the temperature.
6. Heat Lamps
Heat lamps – also known as bulb warmers – use an infrared bulb, a heated metallic rod or a heat panel. Note that the traditional glass or quartz bulb heat lamps have the advantage of putting out some light in addition to heat. Typically, bulbs are used for spot warming of individual pans of food and therefore work well in buffet or self – service scenarios. The disadvantage to bulbs, besides warming only one spot, is they tend to break easily.
7. Strip Warmers
Strip warmers as re used to keep prepped items and completed meals ready and heated to the proper temperatures. Heat is generated with infrared elements which keep foods warm without over – or re – cooking completed and plated meals.
8. Steam Tables and Food Wells
Steam tables are wonderful additions especially for keeping hot and cold food items preserved and ready to be served. Ideal for self – service buffet operations or catered events. When space is limited, commercial food wells turn an existing work table or countertop into a serving station.
9. Banquet Cabinets
Banquet Cabinets will keep your meals hot and ready to serve while you transport them. Durable construction, large capacities, and many models come with bumpers and handles for safe and easy transport.
When you are buying equipment for your food truck, you can expect to devote a huge percentage of your budget to cooking equipment. To optimize your food truck kitchen, you can select a mixture of countertop and full – size models. Consider devoting more space to your most-used equipment and stick with countertop alternatives for appliances you will use less often or for smaller quantities of food.