Variety. Fresh. Healthy.
These are just a few things consumers are looking for in restaurant menus, and all can be addressed by one versatile equipment category: countertop steamers.
Steaming foods is one way to create a great tasting bite, while providing a way to address consumers’ needs for fresh, made-to-order offerings and foods cooked without added oil or butter. Additionally, steamers often can be used to cook a variety of menu items — giving operators greater flexibility and efficiency.
Choosing the right type of steaming equipment comes down to which unit will best meet the restaurant’s operational needs and complement its menu.
Here is an overview of a few common categories of countertop steamers to help inform this decision.
Equipment type: Compartment steamers
Ideal menu items: Pastas, breads, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs and vegetables
What you need to know: Compartment steamers deliver dry steam from all sides to cook and reheat foods quickly and evenly and keep the original textures, colors, flavors and nutrients. Capacities for these units can range from half- to full-size pan options.
Equipment type: Basket steamers
Ideal menu items: Rice, breads, tortillas, pastas, meat, seafood and vegetables
What you need to know: These steamers use plain tap water to heat and cook individual portions of made-to-order menu items, enabling operators to build bigger, more complete menus with just a single piece of equipment.
Equipment type: Top-down steamers
Ideal menu items: Nachos or melting cheese on bread, tortillas and other foods
What you need to know: Top-down steamers feature a generator located above the food compartment, and dry steam is directed down onto the food below — an ideal method for finishing or melting cheese.
Equipment type: Hot dog steamers
Ideal menu items: Hot dogs and buns
What you need to know: Hot dog steamers use plain tap water to heat hot dogs and buns and maintain them at a safe, ready-to-eat temperature — ensuring that they are hot and fresh for customers.
Equipment type: Steamer display cabinets
Ideal menu items: Dim sum, breakfast sandwiches, egg rolls and savory pastries
What you need to know: Steamer display cabinets quickly steam pre-cooked refrigerated or frozen specialty foods and maintain them at a ready-to-eat temperature — while providing operators a way to attractively showcase foods to customers.