Banquets are big business.
And to help a club or resort property get the most success and cost-efficiency for the banquet side of the ledger, a chef needs the right tools for the task.
Chief among these tools is food-warming equipment such as heat lamps and carving stations, banquet carts and holding cabinets. Keeping dishes hot—and more importantly, at a safe temperature—can make the difference between a good meal and an exceptional one.
Heat Lamps & Carving Stations
Heat lamps help keep prepared items above the required temperature, holding them in a hot pan or plate until they are ready to be served. They come in varying sizes from 24-inch to 60-inch models, as well as from one to eight bulbs, to suit your club’s specific needs.
Carving Stations are designed to provide an attractive place to slice roast beef, turkey, or ham in a chef-manned, action station-style format. Carving stations also ensure that meat stays fresh and juicy. They are available in both single and double varieties, with optional flexible or static necks, and come equipped with one or two bulbs.
A holding cabinet helps keep dishes at food-safe temperatures. One of the most important features to look for is an insulated cabinet. In addition to saving energy, insulated cabinets radiate considerably less heat, and the insulation will also make the interior temperature more uniform.
Cabinets are designed to hold pans of food in reach-in, roll-in, or pass-through designs, offered in one- to four-door units. They provide even heating to maintain a consistent temperature without a fan, which helps to preserve moisture content. They can also extend the holding life of a product and reduce waste from overcooking.
- Pass-through cabinets are designed with doors on the front and back, for easy access from both sides.
- Reach-in models are just like a refrigerator—a door on each section in the front, with interior heated shelves for storage.
- A roll-in or roll-through model accepts roll-in racks for easy access.
Designed to be mobile, banquet carts keep hot foods fresh and are especially great because of their mobility. Most are fully insulated, with doors that swing flush to the sides and then latch in place for ease of loading and unloading. They are generally designed to hold plated and covered meals, too. And they come with a bumper, to prevent wall damage.
When buying banquet carts, be sure to match their capacities to the average size of individual spaces within your clubhouse, and not your overall space. In a ballroom that can be divided into several smaller function rooms, smaller carts that can serve individual areas generally work best. Conversely, if only large events are served, bigger carts would be better. If space is limited, consider taller, narrower carts—and if you have narrow doorways, tight turns or small elevators, be sure to measure before you buy.