Commercial Kitchen Layout: Warming and Holding Equipment


Generally, warming and holding should be placed at the end of the assembly line, on the outer edges of the cooking block or near the area where servers pick up the food. That way, it is easy to transfer recently cooked foods directly to the warmers, where they can await plating without going cold.

  • Put steam tables in the prep area. Steam tables are often used in the kitchen to keep ingredients warm and safe before they are added to a dish. That way, warm ingredients do not need to be prepared to order. Place your steam table in the prep area or across from the cook line. In cases where steam tables are used to serve pre-prepared dishes directly onto the plate, they should be placed at the very end of the cook line.
  • Keep warmers out of the way. In general, countertop warmers and holding cabinets are used to hold prepared foods or heat up pre-cooked foods. Since they are usually not needed until the final stages of food preparation, they should be kept on the edge of the cooking and prep areas.
  • Locate overhead warmers near the server pick-up area. After food is plated, there is generally a lag before servers are able to pick it up, so the plated food has to go under an strip warmer to keep it piping hot. Most commercial kitchens have a kitchen-to-server transfer area with an overhead warmer.

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