Bun Warmers & Boxes Buyers' Guide
Bun warmers and bun boxes are designed to provide a convenient and sanitary storage area for your hot dog buns. These units come in a variety of different styles and have a wide range of holding capabilities. Many are made to fit underneath a hot dog steamer or roller grill, letting you cook hot dogs and store buns in the same footprint. These units are available with or without both heat and humidity, so you can find the perfect fit for your foodservice operation.
The simplest type of bun storage available is an unheated bun box, which functions as a housing unit for wrapped or unwrapped hot dog buns. Bun boxes keep buns at room temperature and can be stacked with other boxes or hot dog machines, or used separately.
These bun boxes sometimes open with a drawer, but most feature a door on hinges that swings either up or down to access the buns inside. This door can be solid to accommodate eye-catching graphics, or it may be clear so that customers can see the buns inside. Some wide models have two compartments and two doors so that two customers or employees can access buns at the same time.
Heated bun warmers come in two styles: moist heat and dry heat. As the names suggest, dry heat simply heats the buns while a unit with moist heat acts as a hot dog bun steamer. A dry heat hot dog bun warmer is best used where sales volume is high enough that the buns will not linger in the box, as the heat can dry them out if they are left for too long.
A bun steamer affords foodservice operators a little more flexibility in how long the buns can be stored. With adjustable heat and humidity, you are able to find the perfect combination to hold your buns as long as possible without them drying out or getting soggy. Hot dog bun steamers' humidity is provided by water pans that must be manually filled throughout the day, with the intervals between fillings depending on pan size and humidity level.
The size hot dog bun warmer you need will depend on the volume of customers your business serves. Hot dog bun warmers have holding capacities of 24 - 64 buns. You should choose one that can hold enough buns to serve your customers without having to restock too frequently. Hot dog boxes have slightly larger holding capacities of 24 - 96 buns per unit. Bun warmers are often made to fit underneath a particular hot dog steamer, roller grill, or broiler, so the size of that unit will play a role in determining the size and capacity of the bun warmer.
While most bun warmers are made to be used in self-serve operations, there are also some made for commercial kitchen use. Because these kitchens often deal in much higher-volume sales, this type of hot dog bun steamer or warmer may have one to three drawers stacked vertically, with each drawer having its own controls to ensure you are able to keep buns at the temperature and humidity you need. These may also have a digital display screen to aid in monitoring the heat and humidity settings.