The following information is provided
courtesy of The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association.
This is the
lightweight equipment that can perform a heavyweight performance
in a wide range of catering operations, from cafes and pubs to
hotel restaurants. Snacks are by definition a light bite, but
business can be frequent and busy, so using anything less than
commercial equipment means that it will not perform or last.
One of the
most commonly used items of snack equipment and one of the most
heavily used. For this reason alone buying anything other than
commercial specification is pointless. Commercial toasters are
built to withstand prolonged heavy use with heavy-duty elements
unlike domestic toasters, which often toast unevenly, will have
no spare parts available and the toaster is unlikely to have the
versatility to cook toasted sandwiches, a very lucrative revenue
demand time for toast is around breakfast and for hotels this
will usually be focused into a tight window around 7.30am to
8.30am or for staff restaurants and cafes 8.30am to 9.30am.
The size and type of toaster needs to be able to cope with that
peak demand as breakfast is seldom a leisurely affair.
toasting production comes from conveyor toasters, which is what
hotels need to deliver toast quickly and hot. Conveyor toasters
are available as single slice belts, double, treble or even
wider for really high toast production. Output can be awesome,
with up to 400 slices an hour from a single conveyor belt.
look for include an adjustable belt speed and heat setting, the
facility to toast bread buns or muffins if needed and a toast
rack on top of the unit for holding the toast warm.
toasters can still produce lots of toast through having more
than the traditional two slots. Pop-up toasters are available
with up to 12 slots, which in output per hour is not far behind
a single-belt conveyor toaster.
If toasted sandwiches are on the
menu, it’s possible buy toasters with an extra wide slot and a
sandwich clamp for making toasted sandwiches or toasters with
extra wide slots for toasting bread buns or muffins. A useful
variation for hotels where the breakfast is self-service is to
have a four-slot toaster where two slots are independently
controlled, allowing two customers to use the toaster at the
incorporated into modular island cooking suites or serveries,
bains marie are also available as stand alone individual units
usually holding between one to four flush-fitting tubs. The name
comes from a French housekeeper called Marie who wanting to keep
her master’s food hot until he came home so sat small pans in
bigger pans of hot water to keep the food hot. The French word
for bath is bain, hence bain marie.
powered by LPG, which is useful for outside catering situations,
but most are electric. There are two types, wet heat and dry
heat. Both types will have thermostatic and adjustable heat
controls with a maximum temperature of 90 deg C to avoid either
the product boiling or burning or in the case of a water bath
bain marie, the water boiling dry. Water bath models should have
a drain tap to allow for emptying and thorough cleaning at the
end of a service session. It also possible to get bain maries
that are refrigerated for holding cold food safely.
potatoes are a British institution and while they can be cooked
back of house and held in a warming cupboard, the popular way is
to have a counter-top potato oven which acts as a cooker, a
holding cabinet and a merchandiser. Most are made using
enamelled cast iron to give that traditional appearance.
is done on racks using gas or electric convection. The holding
drawer or cabinet should be matched to the cooking capacity, so
an oven that can cook 30 potatoes in an hour has a holding
drawer that can also take 30 potatoes to ensure a cooking and
way to operate them is for the first batch to go into the cooker
one hour before service commences, then those stored for sale
and a fresh batch loaded into the oven. If demand is high, extra
potatoes can be cooked in a kitchen in the oven and leaded into
the holding drawer while the potatoes in the oven are cooking.
additional feature that is available is to have the oven with a
built-on bain marie to hold toppings such as baked beans or
curry sauce or a refrigerated bain marie for holding grated
cheese and coleslaw. A flat surface around the bain marie makes
for a cutting and topping work station. It is also possible to
get merchandising accessories such as menu boards setting out
prices and toppings available.
Hot dogs are
ready cooked and come in ambient tins or tubs, but need heating.
There are three ways of heating the sausages: on a roller grill,
in a hot dog steamer or in hot water. Hot water is not
recommended as it leeches out the flavour and seasoning from the
steamers are a type of table-top bain marie. The base has a
heated water bath and suspended over it is an inner pan with
water in which the sausages are held. The advantage of this
double pan system is that the temperature of the sausages never
rises above 75 deg C. Beyond that temperature there is the risk
of the skins splitting, particularly with high-quality sausages
which are using natural skins as opposed to synthetic. This
style of hot dog machine tends to be where demand is heavy.
cooking theatre and merchandising comes from dog rollers where
the customer can see the hot dogs rolling around. The heat comes
from heating element running through the rollers, which can be
gas heated, but more commonly is electric. Buying one with
non-stick rollers prevents sticking, which can occur if the
sausages get too hot. A useful accessory is a bun warmer,
which can be sited underneath the roller to hold ready split
finger rolls. Also very useful is a sneeze guard to maintain
high standards of food hygiene.
operations, such as pubs or cafes an alternative theatre style
of production is combined bread and dog warmers as a table-top,
plug-in unit. The sausages are heated in a vertical heated glass
container surrounded four heated spikes. The system is to cut
off one end of a small baguette, spike it for a short while to
heat the bread, then slide a hot sausage into the cavity made by
the spike. For use with traditional finger rolls, an
alternative bread warmer is a heated clamp. Both sausage warmers
and bread warmers are available as separate units.