To win the all-important delivery and carry-out game, your prep station for to-go orders must be up to any challenge. And for that to happen, you’ll want to pay close attention to an essential, often-overlooked key to a flexible, safe, reliable prep station: the drawer warmer.
Not only does this essential piece of equipment keep your products in a food-safe environment by maintaining internal temperatures between 140-160°F (60-71°C), it also helps ramp up availability to meet peak delivery and carry-out demand.
Like the other equipment you choose, getting long-term value is always the ultimate goal. Whether you’re providing dinner rolls, tortillas for wraps, casseroles, vegetables, chicken or other proteins, the drawer warmer you ultimately choose should deliver on four key criteria.
1. Keep It Safe
Obviously, food safety should always come first in any decisions you’re making. These questions can help you determine whether your drawer warmer puts a premium on safety and sanitization.
- Does it maintain accurate temperature control, ensuring products are held in safe temperature zones?
- Does the heating system spread heat uniformly throughout the cavity?
- Does it offer precise temperature control with features like touchscreen controls?
- Do drawers close easily and completely to ensure heat doesn’t escape and safety is never compromised?
- Does each drawer have its own thermostatic control, temperature display and on/off switch for maximum flexibility in holding different products and volumes at varying temperatures?
2. Pack It Fast
Everyone feels the need for speed when it comes to delivery and carry-out operations. To make sure your drawer warmer helps workers assemble menu items quickly and conveniently, you’ll want to ask yourself these important questions.
- Can the drawer pans hold a variety of products in one cavity to make product prep and packing easy-breezy?
- Does the drawer offer the flexibility to accommodate a variety of pans, including multiple configurations of full-, half-, and third-size pans?
- Are there freestanding, built-in or narrow options available to fit perfectly in whatever space is available?
3. Extend the Hold
When food products lose moisture, they cool down faster and begin to dry out. Asking these questions will help you protect product quality and enjoy longer holding times.
- Does the drawer warmer offer specific accessories, such as a spillage pan and splash baffle, to prevent grilled chicken or other products from drying out?
- Can vents be adjusted easily to accommodate desired moisture levels in the drawer while maximizing hold times?
- Is there a hold-timer option that monitors product shelf life for each drawer?
4. Survive the Battle
Foodservice equipment can take a beating while it’s trying to keep up with the rigors of your to-go operation. Ask yourself these questions to make sure your drawer warmer can handle whatever is asked of it.
- Is it constructed of rugged stainless steel with extra thick (12-gauge is the best) slides and frames?
- Does it have recessed components, such as handles and controllers, to minimize the risk of accidental breakage?
- Does it use nylon rollers instead of ball bearings to eliminate the need to replace greasy, worn-out drawer slides?
- Is it virtually indestructible no matter how much it gets banged, bumped or beaten?
Best in Class and Built to Last
Available in freestanding, built-in, convected and split drawer options, all Hatco “Best in Class” Drawer Warmers suit any delivery or carry-out operation. You can count on them to help you stage a variety of wrapped or unwrapped products by making advance preparation and final assembly easier — all while ensuring a safe and quality holding environment. They’re the perfect solution to increasing throughput and meeting demand in your busy to-go operation.