When to Choose a Crisp N' Hold Warmer

Keep Fried Foods Hot with the Crisp N' Hold

Whether staff is running behind on a busy Friday night or meal delivery is intentionally delayed to ensure diners seated together receive their meals simultaneously, cooked food is sometimes not immediately served to waiting guests. In these situations, commercial kitchens rely on hot holding equipment to help keep food at proper temperatures between the time it's cooked and when it's served. The type of equipment chosen for this task should hold the food at safe and appetizing temperatures without negatively affecting its quality. Read on to learn more about when your operation can use a heat lamp and when it would benefit from a Carter-Hoffmann Crisp N' Hold food warmer instead.

Carter-Hoffmann Crisp N' Hold vs. Heat Lamp

Carter-Hoffmann Crisp N' Hold

Crisp N' Hold

How It Works: Circulates warm air around cooked foods to keep them hot and move away steam that could make them soggy.

Recommended For: Keeping fried foods warm and crisp

Heat Lamp

Heat Lamps

How It Works: Heating elements or bulbs generate a hot holding zone for cooked food.

Recommended For: Warming empty plates and plated food before table delivery

In order to keep food warmed without damaging its taste and texture, the Crisp N' Hold circulates a gentle layer of hot air around it that is distributed from the bottom of the grate the food sits on and slotted openings at the top of the unit. These look similar to and can act as dump stations, but the design of the Crisp N' Hold goes beyond simply keeping food warm to also help preserve the crisp texture of fried foods. It accomplishes that by removing the excess steam generated by cooked food. Based on test kitchen results that assume food is between 200 and 210 degrees Fahrenheit when it is removed from the fryer or oven, the Crisp N' Hold may hold fried food without negatively impacting quality for as much as four times longer than a heat lamp.

Although the Carter-Hoffmann Crisp N' Hold can provide benefits for fried foods, heat lamps can still be used for many other applications in restaurants, including warming plated food and empty plates. These units are available in countertop, drop-in, and freestanding designs, but heat lamps may be installed as countertop units, hanging pendant lights, or larger heat strips. Ceiling-mounted heat lamps can be installed over pass-thru windows where servers can pick up food that is ready for table delivery and near plating stations so guests can enjoy meals served on warm plates. Freestanding food warming bulbs can be utilized in similar fashion, though generally on a smaller scale, and may allow for heating stations in places where permanent installations aren't possible.

If you decide to invest in a Crisp N' Hold food warmer to protect fried foods during holding, consult the timing guide provided by Carter-Hoffmann. These times were determined by test kitchen observations; optimal hold times for your menu items may vary.

Crisp N' Hold Food Guide

ProductMaximum Recommended Hold Time
Bacon30 min.
Chicken Nuggets25 min.
French Fries15 min.
Fried Chicken30 min.
Fried Shrimp1 hr.
Egg Rolls45 min.
Poppers25 min.