The following information is provided
courtesy of The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association.
Understanding Food transport, Holding and Regeneration Systems
points are often some distance from the kitchen and food needs
to be kept hot between leaving the kitchen and presentation to
the customer. If the food has been pre-cooked and chilled the
trolley needs not only to transport the food under chill, but to
also heat the food back up to a safe and pleasant to eat
temperature. Trolleys can transport individual plated meals or
transport, holding and regeneration systems are often associated
with public sector catering they offer huge benefits to the
profit sector. Function suites, hotels with banqueting suites,
conference centres, outside event caterers – anywhere that food
needs to be safely transported and either kept cool or re-heated
find them invaluable. While their image is of keeping food hot
or heating up food, many of them are just as good as keeping
different types of hot-holding food trolleys.
– These are well insulated which maintains food temperature
during transport to the service point and have internal heating
elements which can be plugged into an electricity supply on
arrival to main food temperature. Some have a steam generation
system which in addition to keeping the food hot, will keep it
moist, preventing drying out and skinning of sauces.
also provide a full meal service with options of a bains-marie
for hot sauces, over-counter lighting and service areas and an
outward finish which can make them look part of the board room
– These have a much more powerful heating system. They are
designed to accept chilled or frozen food, keep it chilled
during transport, then heat it back up to a safe and pleasant
serving temperature close to the point of service. They can take
either individual plated meals or bulk food dishes and the
heating process begins when the regeneration trolley is plugged
in to an electricity source close to the point of service.
advanced trolleys have split and insulated compartments so that
while food intended to be served hot is heated, that which needs
to be kept chilled, such as sandwiches, desserts and salads, is
held at chill temperature. Most of them will take food from
chill to serving temperature in one hour.
Big users of
this regeneration trolley system are hospitals and schools,
where food may be prepared in a central production kitchen and
transported across a large site.
- Transportation boxes are insulated containers which can range
from units which hold just a few food boxes to those which are
capable of holding gastronorm-size containers and include a
plug-in heat facility. It is also possible to get them with a
chilling mode for transporting food under refrigeration.
construction is normally a plastic case with a double skin and a
high density insulation between the skins. Commercial holding
boxes are far superior in construction and insulation properties
to leisure cool boxes, which should not be used for
professional food service.
the boxes is paramount, so examining for internal corners where
food debris may collect is important and it is very useful if
the box and lid can pass through a commercial dishwasher.
look for when buying
What is the regeneration time? With a fleet of trolleys possibly
in use twice a day, a few minutes extra on regeneration time can
add up to a substantial additional energy cost over a year.
Have someone with a detailed knowledge of energy costing
calculate the cost of bringing food up to temperature. A trolley
may have an impressive heat-up time, but may be very heavy on
Examine the ease of cleaning on both hot-holding and
regeneration trolleys, which can be expressed as a labour cost
in a viability plan.
Is there a good serving area on top of the trolley and are there
optional extras of a gantry and table extension for service?
Look after it!
trolleys have been a major step forward in the last 10 years in
delivering high-quality and hot food at every level of
foodservice, from banqueting to hospitals. Yet any item of
equipment which involves chilled food and reheating chilled food
has to have a double levels of preventative care. Care of the
equipment itself and care that the highest possible standards in
food safety and hygiene are maintained.
regeneration trolley should have a thorough cleaning after every
service. There are different systems in use which need different
cleaning routines, but the manufacturer will have clear cleaning
guidelines and all staff members should understand and follow
systems are similar to regeneration trolleys in that they are
usually transportable around a site, but their use is to keep
hot food hot without drying out, rather than bring frozen or
chilled food up to a serving temperature. The same high regard
for thorough cleaning is needed to remove any food debris, but
since more advanced hot holding trolleys may have steam
injection to keep food moist and prevent skinning and drying,
the point where the steam comes in must also be kept clean.
trolleys are relatively trouble-free. The main point to watch is
that the thermostats and heating elements are correctly
working. Regular probing of food with a digital thermometer as
part of good handling practice will show if an engineer needs to
visit as well as being a requirement under HACCP.
cause of repairs to regeneration trolleys is miss-handling by
staff, bumping trolleys against each other or into solid objects
such as walls. Many trolleys are fitted with bumpers to cushion
rough handling, but there are always lots of protruding objects
and surfaces around a kitchen which can collide with dials and
connection points on the trolley if staff are careless with
movement of the trolley.
also be subject to abuse by rapid movement over very uneven
floors. Castors are designed to last as long as the trolley and
if one needs replacing, then miss-use is almost certainly the
clean after each use
Keep castors lubricated
Regular temperature probe checks on cabinet heat displays
Use very hard water with steam injectors
Train staff on the correct way to transport trolleys
trolleys be moved while still plugged in
Overload beyond manufacturer’s recommendations
Knock into walls during transit
Run without any food in
Serve food until it has reached correct serving temperature