Holding equipment

Prepared foods, cook-chill and batch production raise holding units' profile.

Equipment manufacturers are meeting these challenges with an impressive array of holding equipment designed to provide safe haven for bulk product, assembled trays, plated meals and impulse-buy snack items.

Here are the prime considerations when looking to buy:

Safe food holding temperatures: Holding equipment must be capable of maintaining constant temperatures while providing easy access to the food. The current FDA Food Code requires that hot food be maintained at an internal temperature of 135°F or higher. When specifying holding equipment, buyers should verify its ability to maintain safe food temperatures.

Maintaining food texture: While hot is nice and necessary, the flavor and texture of food can suffer from an extended stay in holding equipment. Some products (dinner rolls) will dry out when exposed to a dry-heat environment, while other products (crispy fried chicken) can't tolerate high humidity. Winston Industries was founded on the premise that the vapor pressure of foods could be measured and the temperature and humidity inside the holding cabinets adjusted to suit specific products. While the science is sophisticated, the results are simple, extended holding time in an environment that optimizes moisture level. Look to manufacturers with units that can measure and control relative humidity, if extended product holding is routine.

Location, location, location: Hot holding equipment has evolved into many forms to meet operators' specific needs.

Heat lamps and strip heaters are typically used to keep plated meals warm, just prior to service. Suppliers make these available in attractive decorator colors, for use in open kitchens and where visible by diners.

Drawer warmers and holding cabinets provide longer-term storage in and near assembly areas. Almost all holding cabinets have heavy-duty casters for mobility, making satellite feeding safe and practical. Heated display cases are all about enticing guests by showcasing food out in the open, often enhanced with lighting, curved glass and motion.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Hutchinson Middle School in Hutchinson, Minn., invited students to help serve lunch in an effort to encourage their peers to try new, healthy recipes, Hutchinson Leader reports.

The students, who are part of the school’s Students in Action Club, created posters to advertise the new meal and helped serve it to students during lunch.

The school’s kitchen manager, Janet Schmidt, said that around 37 more students than normal got in line to try the meal. The school plans to have students from the club help serve lunch once every month.

Read the full story via Hutchinson...

Industry News & Opinion

In an effort to trim costs, the country’s largest senior living company laid off 100 staff members, including regional dining services directors, reports Senior Housing News .

Not all employees who were laid off will technically leave the company, Senior Housing News notes, as some will be reassigned to alternative positions. Brookdale recently posted third-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations and that the company’s CEO called disappointing.

At the end of last year, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company employed 53,000 workers on a full-time basis, and...

Industry News & Opinion

After receiving mixed feedback from parents, Randolph County School District in Asheboro, N.C., is inviting parents to tour the district’s kitchens and cafeterias to see how the food for school meals is made, Fox 8 reports.

School officials say that the tours, part of the district’s first Food Day for Parents, will give parents an inside look at the upkeep of the facilities, as well as enable them to sample some food and see how the district is upholding USDA guidelines.

Officials also hope that the tours will provide them with more guidance on what parents and students are...

Industry News & Opinion

After fielding complaints from parents and students, Sodexo is launching an initiative to improve dining services at Emerson College in Boston, the Berkeley Beacon reports.

The initiative will kick off this month with an event dubbed Fresh Start, marking the start of several moves aimed at improving service—including the hiring of a new executive chef, the addition of a second sous chef, and retraining current staff on food preparation and presentation.

Members of the Emerson community will also be able to share feedback through the introduction of monthly forums, as well...

FSD Resources