Recently we talked about the history and functionality of the ice machine – today, we go the opposite direction: food warmers!
Like an ice machine, you can figure the function of this unit from the name. You put food in it – and you keep it warm – and your customers enjoy a warm meal.
Also like an ice machine, there’s more variety to the food warmer family than you probably expected. You can’t rely on the same design or the same equipment to keep soups, breads, meats and full meals warm. Food warmers range from countertop units that you might see at a local convenience store (with some delicious, tempting hot dogs sitting inside) to a more elaborate piece residing in a high volume kitchen, keeping meals for hundreds of patrons toasty.
The History of the Food Warmer
As long as people have been eating, they’ve been searching for ways to keep their meals warm. The very first food warmer likely involved some combination of rock, wood and fire – but that was long before the advent of patents and systematic record-keeping.
Samuel Clarke received one of the earliest patents for a piece of food warming equipment, covering the “Pyramid food warmer” in 1888. This simple device is used to heat beverages or foods. A metal jug was filled with the item to be heated, the jug was placed in the stand, and then a candle was placed in the bottom to heat the jug. You can learn more about this device at the UK Science Museum.
Types of Food Warmers
Today, there’s a food warmer for every application and setting.
A holding drawer is convenient storage in the kitchen for many different foods, like toast or sandwiches. These look like a book cabinet and can range from one drawer to many drawers in height. You’ll want to make sure the thermostat knobs are easy to read and operational, and regularly inspect the heating elements for efficiency and safety. A rag and some stainless steel polish spray can go a long way to making these aesthetically pleasing in the kitchen. APW Wyott is known for their quality holding drawer warmers – and you won’t believe this, but Parts Town has all the parts you’ll need to keep this piece of equipment running.
These look like refrigerators on wheels. As you might have guessed, they keep food warm instead of cool. You’ll want to make sure the insulation on these units is up to par, otherwise you risk losing the heat in transport. You can find these warming carts in a wide variety of sizes, and they are commonly used in operations that need to move food around without heat loss. With proper insulation, a good banquet cart will only lose a degree or two of heat every 45 minutes when removed from a power source.
You can find gaskets, handles and other spare parts for popular banquet carts from manufacturers like Alto-Shaam at Parts Town.
Countertop Food Warmers
The countertop food warmer is a favorite of the convenience store industry and the scourge of dieters everywhere. With these units, juicy hot dogs are displayed in full glory for impulse buys.
Alternatively, the countertop food warmer can refer to a warmer that holds a pan in a well-style construction, and fits on your kitchen countertop.
We hope you’ve had a good time learning about food warmers today at Parts Town, your number one source of genuine OEM replacement parts for your commercial kitchen.