Choose The Right Stainless Steel Steam Table Pans


Choosing anything can be tough — especially in this day and age where there seems to be a million options for everything. The same applies for food pans. In the food service industry, food prep, storage, and presentation are all a part of every restaurant’s agenda. No matter if you serve tacos, scallops, or stir fry — food pans are a necessity. One of the most popular types of food pans are stainless steel food pans, typically used for a variety of activities in the kitchen.

What are stainless steel food pans used for?

  • Food prep, organization, storage, and presentation
  • Unlike other pans, stainless steel food pans have the ability to store food in freezing and hot temperatures
  • Pans can be transferred from the freezer to the steam table or from the oven to the refrigerator with ease
  • Often used for steam tables and refrigerated tables

Sizes and Styles

Stainless steel food pans come in a variety of heights and lengths. Choosing the right size for your kitchen can depend on a number of things:

  • What do you plan on using the pans for?
    • What types of food are going in them? Meats? Veggies? Condiments? Knowing this will help you decide what size is best suited for your kitchen.
  • Where are your pans going?
    • Many kitchens use stainless steel pans for storage and/or for use in steam tables. If so, there are different ways to configure your pans for optimum space in the steam table as shown below:
    • Steam Table Pan and Hotel Pan Size Chart

Standard Weight vs. Heavy Duty

In the stainless steel world the gauge tells you the steel’s thickness, the lower the gauge meaning the thicker the steel. Stainless steel by itself is a durable metal that will resist most dings, scratches, and dents — but when determining if you need a standard weight or heavy duty steam table pan, look at your restaurant’s traffic as well as the volume of food your kitchen produces.

Standard Weight

  • 24 gauge
  • Made for everyday use in average kitchens that don’t see a high volume of traffic
  • Ideally suited for smaller restaurants, mom and pop places, and the like

Heavy Duty

  • 22 gauge
  • Made to withstand the wear and tear of busy kitchens
  • Used by large restaurants or restaurants that produce a high volume of food daily
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