Countertop buffet equipment allows you to commit to food safety without committing to a specific layout. While drop-in wells are permanent fixtures, these countertop items can be rearranged as needed to accommodate new menu items or improved workflow layouts. Many of these items are also portable, making them ideal for caterers and event halls.
Countertop buffet warmers consist of a flat surface that is warmed from underneath by electric heating elements. Induction models of these warmers are also available, providing a more even heat across the bottom of the pans. In each type of warmer, models are available with or without a built-in sneeze guard.
A carving station is a utility piece for keeping meat warm and a showpiece all in one. These units use an overhead heat lamp to help keep the meat warm, while a sturdy cutting board underneath provides a cutting surface.
Another piece of equipment you might consider for a table top buffet setup is a soup warmer. These hold circular insets full of soup, dips, or toppings, and use a heated water bath or induction to keep them warm. Soup warmers can be used with a lid and ladle, or can be paired with a pump for serving things like melted chocolate, caramel, or nacho cheese.
Also included in countertop buffet equipment is a caterer's best friend, the chafer. Chafers can hold chafing dishes full of food over a heat source, whether that be canned fuel, a tealight candle, or a small portable heating element. Because these place the heat source directly under the pan of food, the food does need to be stirred regularly to promote even heating.