Assemble-it-yourself meals are quite popular these days. The busy individual on the go enjoys stepping into a store or restaurant and being able to make their own salad or choose items they wish to eat from a table full of hot foods ready for consumption. Many establishments fair quite well with “bars” and are often eager to keep expanding their offerings.
Offering a food bar of any sort in your market or restaurant carries with it some risks as well. The trickiest part of having a salad bar, for example, is keeping the foods on the bar at the right temperature. When temperatures rise, the risk of salmonella or e-coli increases too, especially for items that contain mayonnaise or other ingredients that spoil easily. So, you’ll need the right equipment that keeps all foods at the correct temps AT ALL TIMES, whether hot or cold.
Buffet Salad Bar Supplies
That means your first priority when planning your food bar is purchasing serving table or buffet-type units with temperature controls. These are readily available, of course, and come in many different sizes and configurations. Your shop fitter will explain that many of these tables can accommodate either hot or cold items, according to your needs, and some have dual or even triple temperature controls. Many stand on their own legs while others sit on countertops.
Some have open bases for storing plates or serving items for your customers while others have solid bases. Many are made of stainless steel but other materials are available as well.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect display tables for your food or salad bar, you’ll need to purchase all of the items that go hand in hand with operating such a system. Serving utensils are paramount and should be made of sturdy, long-lasting materials as they are handled on a regular basis and could wear out quickly.
Many store/restaurant owners choose stainless steel utensils specifically for that reason. They’re affordable yet durable and can often be purchased in large quantities at a discount. Don’t forget, you’ll need large spoons (solid and slotted), forks, and tongs as well as perhaps ladles and pie servers. Break-resistant polycarbonate utensils are also a popular choice and are far less expensive than stainless steel tools.
You may also need serving bowls for some items as well as trays. Again, these can be made from a variety of materials, from plastic to stainless, and are offered in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Ask your shop fitter to recommend bowls, plates, and trays that are appropriate for your budget.
Finally, if you want your salad or food bar to look more put together, include some decorations such as imitation kale. These kale “runners” cover the whole length of the table and look super realistic. Other accessories might include additional artificial fruit or vegetables. And don’t forget baskets for items such as crackers and, of course, take-away containers for the food.
Ask your shop fitter to help you assemble a complete list of salad bar supplies as well as for all your other food and beverage presentation and serving needs.