Steam Table Tips for Restaurants


A steam table is a wonderful appliance for a restaurant. It allows the chef to keep food warm and to serve large numbers of guests at any given time. A few precautions will ensure that clients have the best experience possible. Cold food, food that has been sitting out too long and messy steam tables can chase customers away.

Steam Table Preparation

  • Steam tables need water in order to do their job. Always fill the compartments beneath the pans with the required amount of water. Check the water frequently while the food is on the table. It will evaporate over time. There should always be water in the compartment when the table is turned on.

    The temperature setting needs to be appropriate for the food items being served. If you set the temperature too high, the food will dry out. Too low a setting could cause food-related illnesses for your patrons. Always check the temperature of the foods being served to make sure they're staying in a safe zone for good quality control.

    Any spills should be wiped off immediately to prevent food from sticking to the surface. This will make cleanup easier after the steamer is ready to shut down. Make sure the unit is in good shape, is dust free and that all parts are secure.


  • Always use caution when setting pans of food in the steamer. The food-holding pans can get very hot. Use hot pads or thick towels to protect your hands when moving pans out of the steam tables. After a pan is removed, hot steam will escape from beneath it. Make sure you and any customers stay clear of the steam during this time. If possible, refrain from moving the pans filled with water until they've cooled down. Small children should be closely supervised when steam tables are in use. The surfaces can also get very hot.

    When using a steam table at a public event, take care to secure all cords. The cords can be a tripping hazard. They can be taped or placed under rugs.

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