Source, Hatco Corp.
We’ve all been there before. You’re hours into a long road trip and you’re starving. Nothing is open, so you pull into that 24-hour convenience store and settle for the sandwich that would be best described as a hockey puck. Since you’re desperate, you’re willing to suffer through each dried-out bite, but that subpar sandwich was far from satisfying.
What went wrong? And how can you spare your customers from the excruciating agony of a once-good meal gone bad?
Know your use case
To steer clear of this scenario, know your use case. In other words, have a solid understanding of your needs before you buy holding equipment. One of the first questions to answer is: “Do you need equipment for long or short holding times?” All too often, foodservice professionals default to selecting a merchandiser (often referred to as a sandwich slide) because it’s been in use for a long time — not because it’s necessarily the perfect fit. Don’t get us wrong, merchandisers are a great product for shorter holding periods, thanks to their combination of base heat and overhead heat. Not only that, but they make it easy for customers and staff to access food during busy times, which can boost sales. The trouble is, if you’re holding food for longer than the recommended duration, a merchandiser’s base heat can degrade product quality and before you know it, your food’s in hockey-puck range.
Heated cabinets, on the other hand, offer a precise combination of controlled heat and humidity to ensure consistent product quality, hours into holding time. This simple nature of the cabinet controlling the environment allows for food-safe holding temperatures and extends food quality for the long haul. (Which means less food waste to boot!) So while a heated cabinet wouldn’t offer the accessibility of a merchandiser, it’s a trusty solution for keeping food at top-notch quality for longer periods of time.
The best of both worlds
Here’s where the conundrum comes in: What if you want the hold time of a heated cabinet, with the accessibility of a merchandiser? As it turns out, you can have your cake and eat it too. How? The revolutionary heated air curtain cabinet. Here’s why it’s worth considering.
1. Set it and forget it
Since they’re designed for long-term food holding, heated air curtains benefit your operation in more ways than one. For one, they preserve food for longer. But as an added bonus, they free up your staff to multitask. So while staff is tending to other important tasks, such as prep work and customer service, they can rest assured that food products are quality and customer-ready.
2. Keep customers smiling
Customer satisfaction keeps you in business, and when it comes to customers, heated air curtains are at your service. Since they utilize a forced air curtain or negative pressure air curtain, food products don’t sit directly on the heat source, which maintains their quality for longer stretches of time. What does that mean? It’ll keep customers smiling, without requiring extra work from your staff. And with the ability to maintain temperatures up to 175 °F, heated air curtains ensure your products remain in the food-safe realm.
3. Offer safe convenience
In today’s on-the-go society, customers value self-service, so they can grab their food and go. Like merchandisers, heated air cabinets make accessibility easy. And while customers appreciate this immediate access to their food products, safety concerns are at an all-time high. The good news is, since air curtains don’t require contact between your staff and customers, nobody needs to worry about the transfer of germs.
When in doubt, there’s only one answer.
Without question, merchandisers and heated cabinets are essential pieces of equipment — but for the right use case. However, if you need the hold time of a heated cabinet and the accessibility of the merchandiser, the heated air curtain is the way to go. If you want to shop around, we’ve got heated air curtains in all shapes and sizes.