Benefits of Proper Steam Table Maintenance in a Cafeteria
One of the hallmarks of a good cafeteria is the abundance of plenty of hot food ready to eat. Guests can select anything they want and enjoy a fresh hot meal. The piece of equipment that makes this all possible is the steam table. You can set the steam table to maintain your food at above 140 degrees. Whether you are maintaining the temperature of soup or baked chicken, the steam table will help you accomplish this goal..
How to Maintain Your Steam Table
The best way to properly maintain your steam table is to hire a good maintenance professional. They will be able to occasionally examine the steam table. These visits will make it possible to spot problems before they become costly repairs. This can actually help prevent your steam table from ever breaking down.
Another way to maintain your steam table is to make sure that you have a screen over the drainage pipe. It is not uncommon for food to get stuck in the drainage pipe if there is nothing there to stop it. If food gets caught in the steam table, it will make cleaning extremely difficult. Most models come with a screen that snaps into place. If you bought your steam table used, or the screen is missing, buy a new one and make sure to use it.
It is also important to keep an eye on the water level in your steam table. There should always be a few bubbles in the water. This means that the water is simmering. If this is not the case, even at the highest temperatures, it means that your steam table is not operating properly. The steam is most likely not heating the food and this is probably being caused by a problem with the heating mechanism. The sooner you get it fixed, the less it will cost.
Another important tip is to make sure that when you place your food into the steam table you do not leave any room in between the pans. This will help ensure the heat giving steam will not be released. This will also help to make sure your steam table is not being overworked.
Benefits of a Properly Maintained Steam Table
The first benefit of a properly maintained steam table is happy guests. Everyone likes it when their hot food is actually hot. It tastes better and it will keep people coming back to the cafeteria more often. Try to make sure that food is covered whenever it is not being served to help maintain an even higher temperature.
Another big benefit of a properly working steam table is that your cafeteria will be able to remain open. If the food in your hot bar is found to be below 140 degrees, it is a violation of the health department code. An inspector can give you either a fine; a specific amount of time to get the steam table working properly; or they can shut down your cafeteria completely until the steam table works properly. You may even have to face a lower health score for your cafeteria. These are all things that can adversely affect your business.
As mentioned above, it is less expensive to maintain your steam table than it is to fix it. Replacing some of the smaller parts will help you avoid having to replace major parts. Sometimes, the temperature regulator can malfunction which will cause the heating element to keep running even when the steam table is hot and the heating element is damaged. Replacing the regulator would have been less expensive if you adhered to good maintenance instead.