Steam Table Tips for Restaurants

by Renee Winship; Updated September 26, 2017

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 as long as 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 in the 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 clean-up easier after the steamer is ready to shut down. Make sure the unit is in good shape, dust free, and that all parts are secure.

Safety

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 table. After a pan is removed, hot steam will escape from beneath it. Make sure you and any patrons 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 during the use of a steam table. 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.

About the Author

Renee Winship is a published author and has worked in the family restaurant and catering business and has also worked in a medical lab facility. She's an adoptive parent and has worked in daycare. Winship has written more than 200 articles for Suite 101 and other online publications. She attended Southwest Missouri State University in Missouri with a nursing major.