Restaurants, delis and other retail foodservice operations put a great deal of resources into equipment and procedures that produce food with the consistent flavor, texture and appearance their customers have come to expect. Yet without some means to preserve fresh product for a reasonable amount of time, the effort—along with a significant portion of food—is wasted. This is more important than ever with the rising demand for delivery and take-out. You now need to be even more efficient in your kitchen and that is where holding cabinets come in.
Heated holding cabinets are typically used to keep extra quantities of food hot and tasty until it is time to fill orders or re-supply a display or warmed assembly station. But when we think a little harder about this function, it’s easy to see that what holding cabinets really do is produce extra time in the operation of your kitchen. This extra time—a function of how long foods can be held at acceptable quality— can be used in many ways to increase the utilization of equipment and improve the efficiency of processes and workers. Depending on the type of food and the quality of your holding equipment, the productivity potential can be significant.
“Buying” extra operations time with heated holding cabinets allows you to:
Cook well before the mealtime rush. “Cooking to hold” results in more efficient production that often eliminates the need for additional cooking equipment and accessories. You can also reduce energy expense by cooking during off-peak hours. Employees are free to focus on service, so more orders can be taken and served during peak mealtimes.
Cook in higher volume. Cooking ahead of time allows operators to better utilize existing cooking equipment by cooking a series of full loads, rather than partial loads to order. Using higher capacity equipment that produces more product per load from the same floor space will save even more money.
Reduce product handling. Full size holding cabinets can become a key part of a “reduced-touch” production process. Pans or grids of food can be removed from ovens or fryer baskets and placed directly into holding cabinets without re-racking for pick and pack staging, or as part of a cook/chill production process.
Reduce product waste. Properly integrated holding capabilities preserve cooked food safely for significantly longer periods than heated display cases or warming lights. This enables you to sell more and throw away less over the course of the day.
Efficient menu production. Using holding cabinets to hold a wide variety of foods for different lengths of time can help you plan your cooking sequence for the best utilization of equipment, labor and time.
These are just a few examples of how the general principle of heated holding can extend beyond simply keeping something warm until you need it. In every case, the benefits grow with the length of time that food can be acceptably held – that’s why at Henny Penny, we developed our line of SmartHold cabinets to keep food fresh for up to 2x longer than the average cabinet. Click here to learn more about the various holding cabinet solutions we have to offer.