While these hot wells are not intended to cook or rethermalize food, they are very efficient at keeping food held at safe temperatures on serving lines and buffets. However, food should already be heated when placed in the hot food well.
In order to keep the food in the food pans warm without scorching the product, most hot food wells make use of water to ensure an even distribution of heat. Water in the well is heated by electric heating elements, and food pans are then dropped into that heated water. Because the water is all one temperature instead of a heating element focusing heat on one part of the pan, food is not scorched or overcooked, meaning you have less food loss to deal with.
Each of these drop-in hot food wells comes with controls, so you can decide how many wells in each unit should be operating, and at what temperature. For some models, these controls are located directly below the wells, but many use remote controls, meaning you can install the dials behind a panel on the counter or wall to help prevent tampering.