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Meal Delivery . . .A Hot Issue

Delivering a hot, tasty meal to multiple locations in a short period of time can be a challenge without the proper staff and equipment. Many different types of cook-serve products are available and cost can be very substantial. It is important to do your homework on the pros and cons of each system. Working with a professional planner to design the proper system for your application can be well worth the investment and prevent costly mistakes. A production line set up or Central Tray Make-Up Line is one of the most efficient ways to handle assembly and delivery of meals. When designing a Central Tray Make-Up Line you should consider the type of meals you will be preparing, number of tray set ups needed, and time available for meal preparation and delivery. This will help to determine what kind of staff and equipment you will need. An efficient set up is required to ensure proper holding temperature as food can lose from 10 to 20 just in the plating process. Most cook-serve systems include some type of heated base (sometimes called pellet), plate, dome cover, underliner, and tray as well as ancillary cups, mugs, bowls, and lids. Additional equipment items needed to set up a Central Tray Make-Up Line include base heaters, delivery carts, drying and transport carts, starter stations, tray conveyor systems, self-leveling dish and tray dispensers, plus hot and cold food counters. One of the biggest differences between systems is the type of base you select. Bases are available in high heat plastic materials or stainless steel wax core units. Temperature retention time varies between bases so it is important to test whatever systems you are considering in your own kitchen environment before making your final decision. Heating methods vary by base, and choices include both convected and induction heating. By working with your planner, you can determine which type will best suit your application.