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Food warmers are an essential part of every commercial kitchen. They help keep your kitchen operating smoothly and ensure your staff can focus on one task at a time. Choosing the right food warmer depends on your business, but here are a few key things to keep in mind.

Wells v Cabinets

The two largest groups of commercial kitchen food warmers are holding cabinets and food wells. In general, wells are best suited for buffet style restaurants as they allow for easy access to a large variety of foods. Some food wells have built in heating elements and others require the use of an independent heat source such as sterno cans. Overall, wells are great for serving food to your customers when you need to keep it warm.

Wells can also keep large quantities of liquids warm, such as sauces and soups. The right type of food warmer depends on what kind of food you typically serve.

Holding cabinets usually contain levels where trays of food can be placed and stored. They come in a variety of sizes and models, and are used for storage in the kitchen itself to keep food out of the food safety danger zone before serving. Cabinets often have wheels attached to their base for easy mobility.

Capacity

How large of a warmer you need depends entirely on your business size and production quantity. Larger food warmers can obviously hold more, but take up a lot more space and require more energy to operate. Capacity directly determines how big the food warmer is. Cabinet food warmers come in full size models which are about 60 to 80 inches tall, and half size variants often between 30 and 45 inches tall. 

Further, there are drawer warmers that are much smaller than cabinets and can be placed on countertops or below other kitchen spaces. Their smaller size means less capacity, but they can often make better use of space.

Temperature

Depending on the kind of food you serve, you may need to use different heat settings. Food warmers equipped with thermostats allow for precise temperature control, varying from 80 to 200 degrees. Being able to select the specific temperature results in higher quality for your customers. 

Different food warmers have different temperature settings and may offer a more limited temperature range. Keep in mind what foods you will be keeping warm and how warm they need to be stored when making your decision.

Accessibility

In a larger sized kitchen, you may be dealing with several food warmers in simultaneous operation. If this be the case, perhaps a food warmer with a glass door would better suit your needs, as you can see what is stored and how well it is keeping.

Single or Double Wells

Holding cabinets come in different sizes and also different types. Some full sized cabinets have two compartments instead of one. Each compartment can be heated to a different temperature and therefore can accommodate different foods. Instead of two half-size cabinets, the double compartment option saves floor space. If you usually do not need to keep foods at different temperatures, a single door cabinet will serve you fine.

Be sure to check whether or not the food warmer includes holding racks, as these may need to be purchased separately. Keep this in mind when considering the overall cost of the food warmer and all of its necessary parts.

Food warmers help save time and allow your business to handle increased production. The right one for you depends on how you will be using it and how much you will be using it. Overall, here are a few quick things to consider:

  • Size
  • Temperature
  • Kitchen space
  • Types of food
  • Accessibility

Texas Restaurant Supply has a wide range of warmers to best suit your restaurant’s needs. Check out our inventory and get your kitchen fully equipped!

Commercial stand mixers are a big investment and can really form the backbone of your business. That’s why it is so important to regularly maintain your mixer so you can get years of usage out of it, prevent breakdowns and keep your kitchen moving.

Safety First

Whenever performing routine maintenance, always make sure that the mixer is turned off and unplugged. You never want to accidentally engage the mixer when you’re not prepared to do so. Never risk your own or your employees’ safety.

Thorough Clean

You are probably already cleaning the external attachments, such as the agitator and the mixing bowl, but every couple of weeks or so it is a great idea to do a deep and thorough cleaning of the entire mixer. A deep clean only needs a couple of tools:

  • Flathead and/or Philips screwdriver
  • Cleaning brush
  • Soap and water

Oil, flour, dust and other ingredients can gunk up your mixer, causing it to overheat and malfunction. This kind of dirt accumulates in the base, the planetary gear housing, the drip cup and the bowl guard. Take out any screws keeping these parts to the rest of the mixer, remove the section and clean it thoroughly. You will see the grime and dirt that is building up, so just clean it until it is all gone.

In a busy kitchen, things tend to get a little messy. Areas on and around your mixer may get splashed with all kinds of ingredients that you would not usually expect. Be sure to wipe down the entire mixer with just a damp cloth. Never pour or splash water directly on the mixer itself. Every mixer is different and will therefore require different maintenance. Refer to the user manual for any other parts that require routine cleaning and be sure to clean those parts properly as well.

Check for Imminent Failure

While performing a thorough clean, check all the parts to determine whether they are in good operating condition. This means that there is no breakage, decay or rust buildup. Whenever you see a part starting to wear out, order a new part and replace it as soon as possible. Keeping up with standard replacement parts will ensure that your mixer as a whole will remain in operation. 

Neglecting a failing part could result in complete failure of your mixer, as when one part wears out the rest of the mixer will have to pick up the slack. Before you know it, the whole mixer will need replacing. 

Lubrication

To keep the mixer in smooth and consistent operation, be sure to familiarize yourself with the parts that require routine lubrication. Some mixers have a slideway that needs lubrication several times a year, and some planetary gear housings require lubrication as well. Always check your user manual for the specifics on what parts need lubrication and how often.

Use a food grade lubricant that is compatible with your mixer, and always refer to your user manual before selecting a lubricant. It is a good idea to always keep some lubricant on hand so that you can keep up with routine maintenance whenever it is needed.

Mixer Space

It is also very important to maintain cleanliness in the area around your mixer. Make sure that nothing can get in the way to impede your mixer’s operation or become a hazard. Make sure that there is plenty of space for the mixer to do what it needs to do without interfering with anything else. And be sure to keep a clear path from the mixer to the power outlet in case of emergency.

Basic and routine maintenance can prevent a slowdown or accident when you least need it. Refer to your user manual for any specific maintenance that needs to be performed and make sure you keep up with it on a regular basis.

Texas Restaurant Supply has all the equipment you need to get the most out of your kitchen. Check out our inventory today!

Dough mixers are a vital part of restaurants, bakeries and pizza shops. They save tons of time and can allow your business to meet the demands of a growing customer base. Just as there is no shortage of usages for commercial mixers, there’s no shortage of types of mixers, so finding the right one can feel a bit overwhelming. But don’t worry, here are some tips to help you select the best commercial dough mixer for your business.

Dough Mixers

Dough mixers are different from other mixers because of their unique design. Also known as spiral mixers, they feature a bowl that spins around a mixing device. The mixing device, or agitator, remains stationary. Dough mixers are generally best for mixing large quantities of ingredients, which gives them a distinct advantage over planetary and vertical cutter mixers.

Speeds

Depending on the model, some dough mixers feature different operating speeds. Unlike household mixers, commercial mixers usually only offer one or two speeds. Models with two speeds generally offer a high speed setting that allows for more evenly distributed ingredients and better oxidation, and a low speed option that keeps things from getting messy. Some models allow you to change speeds during operation and some even do it automatically. 

Horsepower

Commercial dough mixers come with motors in a variety of horsepowers, from less than one horsepower to more than six horsepower. Depending on the quantity of dough you are making at once, as well as the speed at which you will be operating, you will need different breadths of power. For instance, thicker doughs like pizza dough will require higher power models to create better quality dough. 

Capacity

How much dough you will be making in a single batch depends on your specific business needs. Commercial dough mixers come in a variety of sizes, from 20 to 300 pound capacities. Larger mixers generally have more horsepower in order to handle several hundred pounds of ingredients at once. This also means they are more expensive than the smaller ones. While it’s nice to be able to produce a lot of dough at one time, finding a mixer better suited to how much you will actually be handling will result in a better allocation of resources and kitchen space.

Voltage

Smaller dough mixers often require a voltage connection of 110 volts, while larger ones need 208 or even 240 volts to operate at peak efficiency. Be sure your kitchen has the electrical capacity to handle these machines before you make a decision. Determining whether or not it’s worth it to improve your kitchen’s electrical infrastructure depends on how better off you will be with a larger dough mixer over a smaller one. 

Batch Size

Despite the larger capacities, there are still several advantages to producing smaller batches that result in better quality dough. Small batches can result in higher flour protein levels, less water in the dough, more shortening in the dough and higher mixing speeds. It really comes down to quality over quantity. Still, sometimes you just need to produce a lot of dough at one time.

Heavy v. Standard Duty

For larger quantities and heavier ingredients, be sure to select a heavy duty mixer that can deal with the stress you’ll be putting it through. Standard duty mixers are better suited for versatility and are not really suited for pizza or pasta doughs unless in smaller quantities. 

Choosing the right commercial dough mixer really comes down to how much dough you’ll be making at one time, and how high you want the quality of the dough to be. Smaller dough mixers create smaller batches, which might be enough for some businesses but can leave larger ones with much to be desired. Likewise, larger dough mixers can handle a lot more at one time, but are much more expensive and might not be worth the investment.

Texas Restaurant Supply offers everything you need to get your kitchen in full operation. Check out our mixer selection and the rest of our inventory today!

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