6 Keys to Choosing the Best Chafing Dishes for Your Restaurant

March 19, 2018

The chafing dish, also known as the chafer, is an essential piece of restaurant equipment for any establishment that wants to keep food hot.

This type of restaurant equipment gets its name from the French word, chauffer, which means to heat, and it’s easy to see why. But what goes into choosing the right one for your restaurant?

This type of restaurant equipment has three major elements: a frame, water pan, and cover. Fuel heats the water in the pan, creating steam that heats the food without drying it out. In the catering world, this type of restaurant equipment is a chef’s ideal companion because it keeps food at the right temperature all throughout an event. Chafers take away the worry that is regularly associated with maintaining food temperature. They are also an easy type of restaurant equipment to use and maintain.

Chances are, you’ve seen many chafers in your lifetime. If so, you will have noticed the wide variation in styles, shapes, designs, and qualities. That begs the question: what should you look out for when selecting this type of restaurant equipment? The ability of a chafer to retain food warmth is a paramount consideration, but there are other qualities to look for as well.

Heat Source

Chafing dishes are a type of restaurant equipment that comes with a variety of heating styles. Spots with access to electrical outlets are primed for the use of electric heated chafers or induction heated chafers. If you do not mind an open flame, though, standard fuel chafers are a highly flexible unit for any setting or venue, with no need to worry about finding electrical outlets.

Chafer Construction

As with most products out there, some restaurant equipment is designed for high end usage, while others are designed for economy users. Basically, though, all chafing dishes are constructed from stainless steel. Economy chafers are made of 18/8 lightweight steel, which is corrosion resistant. You can also find this restaurant equipment with 18/10 steel. There are also heavier-duty steel chafers with a more upscale and luxurious look.

Shape

While selecting the ideal chafer for your restaurant, you want to also consider the shape of this restaurant equipment. Chafers come in a variety of shapes, including oval, circular, rectangular, and square. Ultimately, your choice of chafing dish shape will come down to what will be served inside and the decorative element it adds to your buffet table.

Size and Capacity

How much food do you wish to serve at once? This is an important question that must be asked when choosing a chafer. While some of this restaurant equipment come as small as 1.75 quarts, others get to 5 quarts, and full-size chafers can hold as much as 9 quarts.

Finishing and Styling

The style and finishing of a chafer can add to the ambience of your restaurant or buffet table. While some chaffers have an attractive, metallic mirror polish finish, there are many other great options, such as satin, matte, and hammered copper finishes. The handle, legs, and lid trims should also be considered. For this, there are also many options available to you, including gold, brass, and chrome.

Covers

When selecting your restaurant equipment, the cover type is an important consideration. The cover type can vastly improve the ease of working with this restaurant equipment and can simplify your serving or dishing process. There are a number of cover types to be considered. Roll top covers, hinged covers, glass covers, and retractable covers are quite popular. But there also dome/lift off covers and covered handles.

An important consideration in all of this, of course, the atmosphere you’re trying to create in your restaurant – is it a luxurious place for special occasions, or a down-to-earth place for the family? This will dictate the appropriate style. When it comes down to it, customers of your restaurant really want well-heated and tasty food above everything else. Be sure to equip your staff with knowledge of how to get the best out of your chafers and other restaurant equipment. Make sure food is hot when added, ensure the water in the pan is also hot, and adjust the heat to your needs, and you’ll have happy customers!

 

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