Coming in Hot! Effective Strategies for Serving Hot Food

Are you and your customers happy with your serving temperatures? As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Tracing the path from kitchen to table can help identify areas in your foodservice operation that may be contributing to temperature loss. 

Read on for effective ways to strategically equip every critical point in your operation to keep hot food hot.


Transfer food directly from oven to a reliable hot holding cabinet to maintain just-cooked quality or cook and hold.

The FWE Universal Heated Holding Cabinet model UHS-12 keeps food fresh and hot for hours with the patented Humi-Temp heat and humidity system. With this system, moist air gently circulates throughout the interior of the cabinet for consistent temperatures. 

This versatile cabinet holds 18″ x 26″ sheet pans or GN food pans on fully adjustable tray slides.

Or take advantage of the convenience of cook-and-hold technology. Convotherm maxx pro ovens come equipped to help you manage production while maintaining proper temperatures. 

The Cook & Hold feature automatically lowers the temperature at the end of a cooking sequence to combine cooking and holding all in one. Convotherm combi ovens are available in both gas and electric models in a wide variety of capacities to fit your production needs.

The Hatco HDW-B Built-In Warming Drawer is an effective way to keep foods like rolls, tortilla chips, or proteins like fried chicken fresh, hot, and ready for serving. 

Each warming drawer has a food pan, a recessed individual thermostatic control, temperature monitor, adjustable vent slides, and its own power switch. Warming drawers are also offered in free-standing models.

Near the Grill and Fryer

The MercoMax™Visual Holding Cabinet holds a wide range of crisp and juicy foods to support peak serving periods while maintaining food quality. Heated air flows over food to maintain the ideal holding environment and consistent food temperatures. Use with or without integrated tray seals to maintain the right humidity level for each food product.  

MercoMax is quick and easy to program pre-set temperatures and maximum holding times for each food with a user-friendly touchscreen. Employees can simply operate the cabinet with the touch of a pre-programmed button.


Cool (and even room temperature plates) naturally pull heat from hot food on contact. Heated plates prevent the food’s heat from escaping down into the plate. Serving dishes with lids prevent heat from escaping from any direction.

The Hatco PW Plate Warmer holds up to 25 pre-heated serving plates to help extend the hot holding times of most foods. 

Staff can easily load and retrieve plates and clean the warmer thanks to its doorless, open design.

What’s a good plate material for keeping food hot? Ceramic is a natural material that can withstand high temperatures, and it’s porous which slows heat loss and makes it an effective thermal insulator. 

After being held in a plate warmer or high temp dishwashing, ceramic plates stay hot longer than other dinnerware materials to help support hot food temperatures.

Tuxton’s ceramic Zion Dinnerware Collection features four matte glazes inspired by the organic earth tones of Zion National Park.

This sleek and stylish collection includes platters in three sizes, straight sided and coupe plates in three sizes, embossed trays in two sizes, a stackable mug, and a variety of bowl shapes and capacities.

Keep appetizers, sides, soups, and hot desserts warm and cozy in TableCraft Die Cast Cocottes with accompanying lids.

These 8-ounce, diecast single servers provide a charming dining experience while helping keep hot foods hot. Available in round, oval, and square shapes in three jewel-tone colors, they’re also easy to clean.

At the Pass

Hatco Decorative Heat Lamps provide radiant heat to briefly hold food warm at kitchen work areas, wait staff pickup stations, or customer serving points. 

Heat lamps are designed specifically to reduce heat loss for short periods of time between plating and serving, while simultaneously enhancing your décor.

Hatco Glo-Ray Strip Heaters are easy to install and are especially effective in back-of-house areas, waitstaff pickup stations, and customer serving counters. These infrared heaters keep hot food hot with radiant heat from above to provide a warm landing area for plated food. 

This simple, yet important step slows the natural cooling process and holds food at optimal temperatures longer without continuing the cooking process.

To learn more about strip heaters and how to choose the best Hatco strip heater model for your operation, click here. If your orders tend to be large and plating takes longer, consider a base heat, such as Hatco’s heated shelf options.

Self-Service Areas

Hatco’s Flav-R-Savor® Heated Air Curtain Merchandiser gives customers easy access to temperature-controlled hot food without doors getting in the way. 

Warm air at the top front of the cabinet is forced downward to form a “curtain” of heated air. Some of that air is drawn toward the rear of the cabinet to create an air flow pattern that effectively and safely keeps foods at ideal serving temperatures.

Tri-ply Stainless Steel Hot Food Templates by TableCraft help save energy and maintain hot temperatures by trapping heat and preventing it from rising above the pan.

Templates enhance buffet appearance, improve energy efficiency, and are easy to clean. TableCraft offers 25 template options and 6 finish options for a fully customized buffet.

TableCraft Professional Bakeware Tri-ply servers fit into tri-ply templates for a stylish and streamlined buffet. Tri-ply construction features an 18/8 Stainless Steel interior that is non-reactive to foods and will not affect flavor, an aluminum core to promote consistent heat distribution, and an 18/0 Stainless Steel exterior. Safe for temperatures up to 500°F, Tri-ply servers are easy to clean and dishwasher safe.

We can help you maintain excellent food quality and ideal serving temperatures from kitchen to table. 

To talk about your operation’s specific heat-retention challenges, contact us.