Our post today is from a guest writer, Greg McGuire, from The Back Burner.
If your restaurant or commercial food service operation uses steam tables to keep food hot before you serve the customer, then this post is for you. If this post is for you, then you already know how integral steam tables can be in your day-to-day operations. You also know they can eat up a lot of energy on a daily basis.
Making steam tables more energy efficient is easier than you might think. If you’ve got an older unit, the first thing to consider is buying a new steam table. Newer models are more efficient, more reliable, and create a better impression with your customer.
I know, you thought I said this would be easy. In the likely case you’re planning on keeping your current steam tables and just want to make them more efficient, read on for the really easy part.
Steam table pans are the essential moving part that keeps a steam table going. Those pans also act as a lid that helps trap the heat the table is creating to keep food warm. And as anyone who has worked with those steam table pans knows, over time the corners and edges become bent and wavy. In fact, my personal experience is that it only takes a trip or two through the dishwashing station in a busy kitchen for those corners and edges to start bending upward.
The problem with bent corners and edges on steam table pans is that their role as the lid on the heat generated by the table is compromised. The gaps between the edges of the well and the edges of the table allow steam to escape, and anyone watching a pot of water come to a boil knows that one without a tightly sealed lid is going to take longer.
It may not seem like a big deal to have a little steam escaping from a couple gaps where the pan meets the well, and by itself for an hour or two it isn’t. The problem is that if you’re using steam tables to keep food warm, you’ve probably got it running for several hours at a time many days in a row. Over time, those little gaps end up costing you significant amounts of money – as much as $30 per well per year!
When you go to buy new pans, I would highly recommend The Edge steam table pans by Polarware. These pans are made from 300 series stainless steel and have a reinforced edge and corners that resists bending or curling. The edges are also specially designed for easy gripping, making the constant chore of replacing steam table pans much easier on your staff.
Sometimes the simplest solution, like making sure all the edges on your steam table pans are straight, can make a huge difference, especially in a business with historically thin profit margins like the food service industry. And sometimes, when all new steam table pans look the same, one has features that make it stand out from the crowd. Polarware’s The Edge steam table pans are definitely a standout.
Greg McGuire blogs about restaurant marketing and management at The Back Burner, which is written by the employees of Tundra Specialties, a company specializing in restaurant equipment and other food service supplies.