Shoping Guide to ROVSUN Chafing Dishes

ROVSUN Chafing dishes are an essential addition to any foodservice establishment or engagement. They keep hot food hot and ensure food safety. Keep reading to learn more about what chafing dishes are, what they're used for, and all about the different types so you can find the right chafing dish for your restaurant, hotel, or banquet hall.

What are Chafing Dishes?

A chafing dish is a multi-part system that keeps hot food hotter for longer than food stored in a traditional food pan. Chafing dishes come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles, and they can be used in many different foodservice settings. Chafing dish comes from the French word chauffer, which means to make warm. As such, chafing dishes use gentle, indirect heat to keep their contents warm in a large and shallow pan. The heat they use can come from fuel, electricity, or induction heating, and it's used to heat a pan of water to create steam. This steam then heats the pan above that's filled with food.

What is a Chafer Used for?

A chafing dish is used to keep food that is already cooked warm. Typically, these dishes will be arranged in a buffet line and customers will serve themselves directly from the dishes. You can find chafing dishes in many different types of foodservice settings, and they are commonly used at catered events, banquet halls, and hotels. Remember that chafing dishes are only used to keep food warm, and they cannot be used for cooking food.

Chafing Dish Sizes

Chafing dishes come in three standard sizes: full size, half size, and 2/3 size. 
1. Full size chafers hold between 8 to 9 quarts of food and are typically rectangular. They are the most common size of chafer and are primarily used for holding and serving entrees.
2. Half size chafers hold between 4 to 5 quarts of food and are typically square or rectangular. They are often used for holding and serving sides and desserts.
3. 2/3 size chafers hold between 5 to 6 quarts of food and are typically either round or square. They are often used for holding and serving side items.

Types of ROVSUN Chafing Dishes

With so many different types and styles of chafing dishes to choose from, it can be difficult to find the right option for your business. We broke down the different chafing dish types and what they're used for to make the process simple.

一. Rectangle Chafing Dish

Rectangle chafing dishes are the most common chafing dish style and an essential addition to your catering supplies. They are typically full size chafing dishes, making them perfect for serving entrees in your buffet line.
1. Primarily used for serving main dishes or large quantities of sides
2. Many frames can accommodate full, 1/2, and 1/3 size food pans
3. Available in capacities between 3 qt. to 15 qt.

二. Round Chafing Dish

Round chafing dishes provide a welcome break in appearance from the typical rectangular models and are great for holding main dishes, sides, sauces, and desserts. The round shape makes it easier to stir food as needed, making clean circular motions instead of taking extra time to scrape bits of leftovers from the side or corners of a food pan.
1. Ideal for scoopable foods like eggs, casseroles, chilis, and dips
2. Frames feature curved legs for optimal stability
3. Available in capacities between 10 oz. to 14 qt.

三. Electric Chafing Dish

Electric chafers are great for outdoor events as they are more reliable than chafing fuel in the event of windy or inclement weather. They're also ideal for indoor use when you don't want to deal with the hazards of open flames. Keep in mind that electric chafing dishes do require access to an electrical outlet, so plan accordingly when using them.
1. Come with fully-adjustable thermostatic heat controls
2. Most can use fuel canisters to heat food if an electric outlet isn’t available
3. Don't have to worry about open flames and potential fires or burns

四. Disposable Chafing Dish

Disposable chafing dishes feature all of the warming capabilities of standard chafers, but they have the added benefit of being disposable, so you can save time on cleanup by throwing them away after service. These chafing dishes are ideal for outdoor parties or casual events.
1. Economical alternative to maintaining an expensive line of chafers
2. Ideal for events where quick cleanup is needed
3. Great for restaurants that offer catering menus

How to Choose a Chafing Dish

When choosing a chafing dish, the main factor to consider is who your customers will be. The price point and features of chafers that are used for casual settings versus fine dining settings are different, and purchasing the correct chafer style will help you stay true to your theme and concept. Once you know your customer base, you can choose your chafer by determining which price point is best for you, how often you will need to travel with it, and what your storage needs will be.

1. Price Point
Chafers are categorized into three different price points: economy, mid-range, and high-end. Typically, the higher the price point, the more durable and decorative a chafer will be. Economy chafers are no-frills serving vessels that usually feature a thinner gauge stainless steel construction than more high-end models. Economy chafers are ideal for infrequent, light-duty use whereas mid-range models can handle higher-volume use. High-end models, which are perfect for fine dining establishments, boutique hotels, and weddings, are the most durable and feature a highly polished mirror finish for an upscale look.

2. Transportation

How often you need to use your chafer and how often you are traveling with it will determine the durability needed. If your catering business primarily caters to social and corporate events in off-site locations, you will need to transport your chafer frequently. Choose a more durable mid-range or high-end chafer to stand up to frequent wear and tear and to prevent dents and scratches from occurring. If you own a restaurant that occasionally hosts private catered events with a prix-fixe menu, economy chafers may be all you need.

3. Storage

A foldable or stackable design may be very important to you if you are limited in space. A chafer with a folding frame saves you space during transport and storage and makes setting up and tearing down a breeze. There are also chafers with stackable frames, which allow for several frames to be nested together for easy, compact storage.

Chafing Dish Fuel

Fuel chafers utilize chafer fuel cans to keep the water in your chafer dish heated and in turn, keep your food at optimal serving temperature. There are two main types of chafer fuel that you can choose from:
1. Gel fuel comes in either ethanol (pink) or methanol (blue) gel. This type boasts strong heating performance and can last through long services without the need for a wick. It is ideal for low-profile chafers where the water pan is too close to the fuel cell holder for a wick fuel.
2. Wick fuel uses clean-burning glycol fuel for reliable chafer warming and it comes in both traditional and stem types. Unlike gel fuel, wick fuel needs a wick to burn, making it safer if it is spilled since glycol cannot combust without a wick.

Chafer Accessories

Because chafers are display items, it's important to protect them and keep them looking sleek and clean. Below are a couple of accessories to purchase with your chafers to keep them looking new.

1. Chafer Storage Boxes: Protect your chafing units from bumps and dings during transport with chafing boxes. Chafing boxes are made from impact-resistant plastic, and they keep your chafing dishes safe from scratches, dings, and scuffs. Many have sturdy handles so they're easy to lift and handle, and are stackable for convenient storage and transportation.
2. Microfiber Cloth: To keep an upscale appearance, regularly clean and polish the exterior of your chafers with a microfiber cloth. They are gentle and won't scratch the surface of the chafer.
3. Stainless Steel Cleaner/Polish: If your chafer's exterior has fingerprints or light scratches that won't buff out with a microfiber cloth on its own, use a stainless steel polisher with the cloth to remove them.
4. Chafing Dish Alternative: If you're looking to create a unique food presentation, chafer alternatives can be a visually interesting addition to your action or carving station. Many include features like fuel cell rails to securely hold chafing dish fuel, a durable wire metal grill, and built-in wind guards for outdoor events.

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