The next three segments of building a better buffet will focus on general equipment and culinary tools of the trade that are typical for most permanent buffet tables. Equipment and table fixtures will vary according to the menu category so there is no one size fits all approach to planning. Each buffet is unique and presents the food as fresh and ready to serve.
#8.Merchandising Hot Foods: Remember that customers eat with their eyes first, so merchandising is the launch point for setting up the equipment. Meats are the typical start points for guests and should be prominently displayed and if possible set up at a decorative carving station, manned with a chef for additional interaction with the guest. Plus the chef can control portion size which ultimately will help control costs as well. A Built-in heat shelf is perfect for pass-thru areas and buffet lines and comes in a variety of decorative colors. This option is available for overhead heating using a transparent glass for better visibility. Drop-in warmers feature modular designs and are available in slim-line or modular-ganged heat wells. The warmers are useful for any prepared foods and steamed vegetables. Modular design is easy to install and options from one to five pans. Other options include drains and auto water fills.
Drop-in heat wells are also available in rounds for soups and sauces. Drop-ins are for permanent tables, not offsite buffets. Another great addition to improve buffet visibility is the use of overhead decorative lamps. These lamps have two-fold benefits of food warming and an attractive presentation. Versatile and available in multiple colors and configurations will enhance the design and décor of any buffet.
#9.Merchandising Cold Foods: Cold plates, Frost tops, and Build-in Cold Pans are typical for buffets with salads, fruits, vegetable, and cheese plates or raw bars with seafood. Most cold wells are configured similar to hot wells and can be installed with hot side displays. Refrigerated cold wells require ventilation in the cabinets and access for maintenance. Coldwell for ice do not require ventilation. Coldwells are available with or without drains.
All permanent buffet tables require sneeze guards around built-in warmers and cold wells. Decorative designs are attractive and improve visibility and food safety. Consult with your equipment designer for the options available.