Kitchen Essentials

How Hot Holding Equipment Can Optimize Your Kitchen Operations


There are a variety of foodservice operators across the country. Every establishment specializes in a unique type of operation and menu. However, despite their differences, it is essential that most of these food operators utilize the right hot holding equipment to maintain prepared food at safe temperatures. This is because foodservice operators must find ways to maintain the quality of their food for takeout, delivery, catering, buffets, cafeterias, pop ups, and for streamlining the food preparation process.

The Importance Of Hot Holding

Commercial hot holding equipment maintains the temperature of prepared food at above 140° F. This is important because prepared food must not sit at an internal temperature between 40-140° F. This temperature range is known as the “Danger Zone”. Within this range, pathogens grow at an exponential rate. As a result, eating food that has been in the danger zone can cause illness. To avoid this from happening, utilize holding and warming equipment to ensure food stays at a safe serving temperature.


Hot holding equipment provides many benefits. These units provide more than additional storage space for prepared foods. When used strategically, hot holding equipment can improve efficiency in the kitchen in 3 ways.

Firstly, your team will be able to streamline the food preparation process. Your team can prepare food prior to peak hours, ensuring you are well prepared for a busy and unpredictable service. Secondly, hot holding equipment can maximize your kitchen’s current cooking capacity. This can be achieved by providing a space to hold prepared food as your team continues to cook more food. This allows you to cook at a higher volume without requiring additional cooking equipment. Finally, hot holding equipment can help reduce waste. Do this by repurposing excess food to optimize food costs.

Hot holding equipment isn’t specialized for any one type of foodservice establishment. Many operators can benefit from this equipment. This includes catering, buffet lines, food preparation duties, delivery and takeout establishments, cafeterias, pop up restaurants, special events, and fairs.

Types of Hot Holding Equipment

There are many variations and models of hot holding equipment to choose from. The right one solely depends on your menu and operations. Common types of hot holding equipment you’re likely to consider include steam tables, heating and proofing cabinets, and food warmers.

Steam Tables

Steam tables maintain temperatures through the use of steam. These units come in a variety of sizes and dimensions. Some models come with cutting board space and an under shelf. Steam tables are a great asset for buffets as guests are able to serve themselves safely. These tables also make a great showcase behind display cases in cafeterias, grocery stores, delis, or bakeries – any establishment that also provides ready-to-go hot food.

Heating Cabinets

Heating and proofing cabinets come in a variety of sizes and have the capacity to hold trays and inserts of prepared food, maintaining optimal temperatures. These units are ideal for holding higher volumes of food. This is essential for convenient food production before and during peak hours. As a result, heating cabinets play a role in maximizing workflow in the kitchen. Furthermore, their mobility also makes it convenient for transporting food for catering, pop up restaurants, and special events.  

Food Warmers

Food warmers come in a variety of forms. There are classic warmers that will hold a chafing dish or food pan for proper temperature holding. Furthermore, soup warmers are available for holding and displaying freshly prepared soups. Finally, countertop heating lamps and chip warmers are ideal for short-term holding. All of these units provide a safe holding space and showcase for freshly prepared hot food.


There are some important considerations to take into account prior to choosing the appropriate hot holding units. For starters, warmers can cause food to dry out, thicken, or toughen. This happens when food is sitting in hot holding equipment for too long.

Furthermore, hot holding equipment is not designed to function as cooking equipment. The reason for this is because cold foods will not reach the appropriate serving temperature in these machines. As a result, serving food that hasn’t been brought up to temperature can be harmful for consumption. Therefore, all food must reach an internal temperature of 165° F before it is placed in any hot holding equipment. 

Finally, prepared food must not sit out for longer than 2 hours. Ensuring proper rotation of food is vital to ensure old food doesn’t stay out too long.

Find The Right Hot Holding For Your Business

Find the appropriate hot holding equipment for your foodservice establishment. Whether you require heating cabinets for catering and buffets, or steam tables for cafeteria service – look no further than Babak Food Equipment. We are backed by over 20 years of experience in helping foodservice establishments set their kitchens up for success. Browse our selection of hot holding equipment online, or stop by to find the right units for your business.