Hot Holding in a Covid World

Not all hot holding is created equal

With the changes in dining habits in a post-Covid 19 world, the up surge in takeaway and delivery leads to the question; are you hot holding your food correctly?

You’ve reviewed your menu and optimised it for social distancing within your kitchen, however keeping the food to its optimum quality before serving is the issue. Cooked to order may be possible in quiet periods, however during peak service times do you want to keep your customers waiting for prolonged periods of time? And do you think about your food once it goes in a container for pickup or delivery?

This is where hot holding comes into its own.

Not all food requires the same holding conditions, some products require dry heat, some require humidified heat, and some a mixture of the two. Too much heat will eventually dry out the food, too little heat will allow food to cool to the point where it is unappetising but more importantly, potentially in the danger zone for bacterial growth.

The concept behind effective hot holding is to slow the cool down time, without reducing the required moisture within the food itself. Thus keeping the food at its optimum level for as long as possible, without heating the product which would continue to cook it. 

Basic hot cupboards are little more than plate warmers (although we do offer a solution for this). Whilst they are ideal for that purpose, the hot holding of food in them could seriously affect your food quality, risking the hard work your chef has put into producing it and leaving your customers with quite literally a bad taste in their mouths! 

You need a hot holding unit with the ability to be flexible - you should be able to move seamlessly from holding sausage, bacon and eggs at breakfast time to jacket potatoes, paninis or pizza for lunch through to chicken, burgers, ribs, vegetables, even rice in your evening service. 

Hot holding Products with multiple heat zones would work best. There are several options on the market that suit all menus, budgets and footprints from the FWE Heated Cabinets to the Hatco Heated Drawers - Gamble Foodservice Solutions pride themselves on being experts in the hot holding sector. If you have a product that is proving hard to keep hot, they will be able to help.

You could also consider having see through doors on the cabinets even utilising flip doors, thus makes it simple for the kitchen staff to see what products need replenishing and accessing without having to open the door and let the heat out and increasing recovery time.

Other holding solutions which are becoming vital in the new normal era, is the hot holding of packaged food ready to be collected. Ideally you would have something that requires little or no contact between the kitchen and the collector; be that the delivery person or the customer. 

The FWE heated shelf unit gives a uniform heat across the entire shelf, each shelf can be set to a different temperature, and as they are individually switched you can save energy costs during quiet periods, or even be used to serve ambient products if needed.

If you are looking for even more limited contact between staff and your customers, then the Hatco heated locker system could be the right product for you, the user simply inputs the receipt number and the correct door unlocks ready for collection.

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