Tools your Cafeteria Needs

Behind-the-scenes organization plays a central role in establishing and maintaining a smooth-running, efficient cafeteria. School cafeterias, in particular, require equipment that's not only budget-friendly, but durable, easy-to-clean, and safe. Three must-have tools for every cafeteria include thermal cabinets, insulated food carriers, and the right shelving.

Graphic displaying a women wearing an apron serving food to a girl. The left side reads, "Tools your Cafeteria Needs"

Thermal Cabinets
When the bell rings, you want food hot and fresh, even when it's been prepared earlier. High-performance thermal cabinets get the job done, keeping everything at the temperatures required by food-safety regulations, and allowing you to serve all the students promptly. It takes cabinets that are well insulated with precision temperature control and a wide range of features to get the job done here are some features to look for:

  • Low-temp alarm for safety
  • High-performance air flow design for more uniform temperature distribution
  • Setting saver to maintain consistency
  • Ergonomic, top-mounted controls which improve access and are easier to clean
  • Slides with universal option to maximize sheet pan capacity
  • Stainless steel or aluminum construction for durability

Insulated Food Carriers
It can be challenging to deliver larger quantities of food and drink to modular classrooms and satellite learning spaces. The CDC states, bacteria multiples rapidly when food is left in the "Danger Zone" (between 40-degrees and 140-degrees Fahrenheit) for more than two hours, or less when it's hot outside. Consumables must stay at safe temperatures to prevent illness, but it also helps if they are easy to transport. Solve the problem with insulated food carriers that not only maintain food safety temperatures but offer maximum capacity without causing the cafeteria staff to have a sore back. A dolly accessory can ease the burden, rolling quietly along flooring surfaces. Some other features to consider are:

  • Insulative properties to keep food safe for 5+ hours
  • Ergonomic handle design for easy lift, move and carry
  • Lightweight, yet durable construction for long-lasting durability
  • Easy to clean
  • Stack-ability for easy transport and storage(when not in use)

Shelving systems that work with the flow of your space while providing accessible storage plus the option for mobility can significantly improve efficiency. The right shelving is a crucial tool to keep food, ingredients, and kitchen materials organized and off the floor, making it easier to conform to health and safety codes. Shelves, like any kitchen appliance, should also be easy-to-clean and able to withstand various cleaning products.
Units should feature robust corners and frames as well as durable finishes that resist corrosion and rust. Corrosion resistance is beneficial to a cafeteria's bottom - line because a resistant shelf lasts longer and is easier to maintain. School cafeteria's need shelving that's corrosion-proof, stable, and able to safely hold up to 2,000 pounds (0.91 ton) per unit—critical in a fast-paced environment. High-quality shelving offers:

  • Interchangeable posts and shelves for convenient customization
  • Easy-clean surfaces (removable mats for the dishwasher)
  • Construction materials that are rust-resistant or 100-percent rust-proof
  • NSF Approved
  • Customizable with dividers, can racks, and wire baskets to maximize storage/organization
  • Enclosure panels for sides/back
  • Mobility via casters and stainless steel handles (makes it easier to clean walls and floors)