Vollrath Hot/Cold Drop-ins Buyers' Guide
Vollrath has been making stainless steel products for more than 140 years and offers a wide range of commercial foodservice products. One of those, the hot/cold drop-in, allows an operator to get the most out of the available serving space, adding an element of flexibility to serving equipment that used to restrict users to one type of food. As quickly as food trends change, you could spend a fortune switching between hot and cold drop-ins over the course of your restaurant's life – or you could invest in a hot/cold drop-in and know you have the flexibility to serve whatever the next big trend may be.
Avoid Improvised Solutions
All too often, operators find themselves in a quandary when they want to serve cold items, but have a hot well in the location they wish to serve from. A common solution is to fill the hot well with ice, turning it into an improvised cold well. This may seem like a harmless solution, but it is far from it, and can render the well unusable.
Hot wells are insulated with a fabric-like fiberglass insulation, which cannot hold up to the condensation produced when ice is used in the pan. The insulation becomes soaked, loses its shielding properties, and destroys the interior of the equipment. The wet fabric-like insulation can quickly become host to mold and mildew, and the water inside can infiltrate the electronics and heating elements. Under these conditions, it doesn't take long for the equipment to be damaged beyond repair. Instead of risking the integrity of your hot drop-in, consider investing in a more versatile hot/cold drop-in that lets you change temperatures quickly and easily. These units use a spray-in, expanding high-density polyurethane foam insulation, which completely seals the interior of the unit to prevent damaging condensation from forming.
Hot/Cold Well Features
Vollrath's hot/cold wells can have as few as one or as many as four wells, and each well is individually controlled. These units are all made to order, so your unit can be customized to ensure you receive exactly what you need, but that means that orders cannot be returned or cancelled. These are available to be installed as a top- or bottom-mount. Top-mount units have a flange that allow you to mount the unit directly to the counter it is being installed into. Alternatively, bottom-mount units are installed underneath the counter for a more seamless appearance on top. While some operators prefer the appearance of the bottom-mounted units, it is important to note that this installation type is more complicated, which can drive installation costs up.
These units can also have an automatic or manual manifold drain. Automatic drains will drain the water without prompting when switching from hot operation to cold, but manual drains will require the user to remove a plug. Depending on the size, the electrical requirements will also vary. Some of the features that are available on all units are:
- The top, well, and exterior housings are all made of 18-gauge stainless steel for durability.
- Thermostatic heat control allows the operator to choose a precise temperature, which ensures food stays warm without burning.
- Low-wattage, rope-style heater does not damage insulation and do not waste heat, making them energy efficient.
- Toggle switches indicate hot or cold operation, along with indicator lights.
- Each well can switch between cold and hot operation in an hour.
- Pans are recessed by 2 inches to help provide a break between the food and the ambient air temperatures. This helps conserve energy by preventing the ambient air temperatures from warming or cooling the food.
- Conforms to NSF7 for cold operation and NSF4 for heated operation.
These units are also made in the United States, in a Vollrath factory in Sheboygan, Wis.
For more information on how to start a custom order for a Vollrath hot/cold drop-in that will meet the needs of your restaurant, speak with a helpful KaTom representative by calling 1-800-541-8683 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.