Picking Steam Table Pans for Your Restaurant

Posted by Joseph Rubino on August 12th, 2017

Outfitting a restaurant with quality Steam Table Pans is a major undertaking that many aspiring restaurateurs and restaurant directors can easily overlook. Steam table pans can seem like such a basic implement in a restaurant that, in the challenging organization process of equipping a restaurant kitchen, a restaurant can find themselves rushing to find an option at the last minute. This article is devoted to the steam table pan, and how to quickly and easily find a set that will fulfill your restaurants serving needs to the fullest.

When choosing a new set of pans, the absolute first step is to determine your sizing needs. All pan sizes are derived from the industry standard “full size” table pan. A full size pan will fill one hole in a steam table completely, while all other pan sizes are fractions of a full size pan. A 1/2 size pan, for example, refers to a pan that is precisely 1/2 the size of a full size pan; while a 1/6 size pan represents a pan that is a sixth of the size of a full size pan. Fractional pans can be placed next to one another to fill up a full hole of a steam table. Understanding these pan sizing options, you should carefully consider what foods and how much of each food you are planning to serve, and then section out the steam table accordingly. If you are planning on having a small amount of olives as a side, for example, it would not be helpful to have a full size or even a half size pan. For a small side, you may wish to use something as small as a 1/9 size pan.

There is another factor in play when considering size, however. The depth of a pan is also important to consider in advance. Most pans come in one of three depth measurements: 2 ½ inches, 4 inches, and 6 inches. 1/9 size pans however, come in only 2 ½ inch and 4 inch depths. Deeper pans, of course, allow for better table space efficiency by taking advantage of vertical space, but they’re not appropriate for every food type or serving situation. Take depth options into consideration when shopping for pans, and when developing your steam table layout, so that you can make the most of potentially limited space.

After determining your sizing requirements, you should next think about the durability of the pans you will need. While all industry standard pans are constructed from stainless steel, there are actually a number of different thicknesses of steel, measured by gauge sizes. Most pans fall into two gauge types, 22 gauge heavy duty pans and 24 gauge standard pans. Heavier gauge pans are ideal for higher heats and more heavy use, but not all restaurants will require such heavy duty pans.

When shopping for your pans you may also wish to consider purchasing false bottoms for them, which are designed to keep foods separate from juices or moisture that might ruin the texture. These can be purchased in the same sizes as the steam table pans, and slid into the pan to create a separate holding space for the food.

Keeping these important considerations in mind will help you make a purchase that you and your staff can be confident in. With confidence in their tools, your staff will be able to serve customers the best, securing financial success for your restaurant. With success and customer satisfaction in mind, you can see how important even a seemingly minor detail like steam table pans can be!

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Joseph Rubino

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Joseph Rubino
Joined: June 8th, 2017
Articles Posted: 16

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