Hotel Pan 101: Everything You Need To Know

If you hear “hotel pan”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Whatever it is, it’s probably nowhere near what it’s supposed to be. If you want to know what a hotel pan exactly is, then stay tuned so you can learn everything you need to know!

What’s A Hotel Pan?

hotel pan sizes chart

If you don’t have any idea what a hotel pan is, don’t fret! There are so many people like you out there. However, it might be high time you learn what it is exactly. Who knows? You might be running your own restaurant someday or catering to a large number of guests at a family event. Either way, this is one important kitchen and cooking item you shouldn’t miss!

A hotel pan has nothing to do with any specific type of food exclusive to hotels. It’s actually something that you can see not just in hotels. You would probably see this at a restaurant’s kitchen, a banquet, a buffet, and many other places. You might even see this in your own home!

You can use other names to refer to a hotel pan. It also goes by the following:

  • Counter pans
  • Steam table pan
  • Service pan

Whatever term you use, they all serve the same purposes. The rectangle-shaped hotel pans are for serving, warming, or prepping food. And sometimes, they are used for other purposes as well.

What Is It Made Of?

Hotel pans are also made of various materials. With that said, you have several options if you ever decide to make use of service pans in your kitchen or in whatever future cooking activity you might have.

Stainless Steel

hotel pan

Many hotel pans that you might see are often made of stainless steel. This kind of material is perfect for hotel pans.

Due to the heat and pressure of the kitchen, you want something sturdy and durable. They are versatile and multi-functional. You can use it for almost anything. You can put it on the stove or keep it in the freezer. You can even just use it as storage or a serving pan. When it comes to stainless steel hotel pans, the possibilities are endless!

You don’t have to worry about exposing your stainless steel hotel pans to different temperatures. You can’t easily faze this. One of the main characteristics of stainless steel is its ability to withstand high temperatures. If ever you popped this in the oven, it would be fine!

Cleaning stainless steel hotel pans is also very easy. Wash it with the dishwashing soap of your choice and rinse well with water. If there are any stubborn stains, perhaps you can clean them with baking soda or any other type of cleaner that works on stainless steel.


Plastics hotel pan.jpg

Hotel pans made of plastic seem to be a major alternative to stainless steel ones. Compared to the stainless steel ones, the plastic options are probably much cheaper. However, it doesn’t mean that it’s not as useful or functional. Remember it’s not just all about price. It’s also about how usable it is for now and the foreseeable future.

High Temp Hotel Pans

As the name suggests, high temperature is not an issue for this type of hotel pan. It’s all due to the material it is made of. It is made from Polysulfone which is a polymer that can resist very high temperatures.

You can use it for food or ingredients that need freezing or heating. You don’t have to switch from one container to another anymore. Since it’s resistant to acids and bases, you don’t have to worry about staining it or anything like that.

Taking care of hotel pans made from high-temperature polysulfone is not that difficult. You can just use soap and water to clean it. Make sure to pat dry before putting anything new into it.

Translucent Hotel Pans

Translucent Hotel Pans

Made from Polypropylene, a translucent hotel pan is a viable and reliable substitute to stainless steel hotel pans. Since it’s see-through, you won’t have a hard time figuring out what each pan contains. You can also easily see how much is left.

A translucent hotel pan produced from this material is also non-stick and stain-resistant. You don’t have to worry much about the cleaning process. It can save you costs and energy in cleanup and maintenance given that it’s recyclable and sustainable.

Other Types Of Plastic Hotel Pans

There are other hotel pans that might be made of different plastic materials. If you are opting for any of that, make sure you know the type of plastic the hotel pan is made of. Apart from Polysulfone and Polypropylene, you can look for something made of Polycarbonate or Melamine. These are also awesome choices as well. They are easy to manage and safe to use.

At the end of the day, the type of hotel pans depends on your requirements. If you have the budget, it wouldn’t hurt to get different kinds. When the need arises, you already have your hotel pans ready to go!

What Size Should You Get?

what is a hotel pan

Hotel pans come in a lot of different sizes. Knowing what sizes to get all depends on what you need. If you aren’t too familiar with how sizing works, then read closely.

One of the most important things you should know is Gastro-Norm pan sizing. About 60 years ago, hospitality professionals in Switzerland came together. They came up with standard dimensions for kitchen tools and utensils. The sizing of hotel pans stemmed from this.

With the existence of standard pan sizing, there’s more efficiency and productivity in the kitchen. In the Gastro-Norm sizing, there are a total of 9 sizes. While the sizes are standard, the depths of each can differ. And it’s up to you to choose how deep you want your hotel pans to be.

Another noteworthy thing about having standard sizing for items such as hotel pans is that when designing a kitchen, you know what the sizes of this important storage and prepping equipment are. For example, there should be a place for your GN 1/9 hotel pans. And if you need space for the smaller hotel pans, you can simply stack them on top of your GN 1/9 pans.

What Are The Advantages Of Using Hotel Pans?

hotel pan sizes

It’s Practical

Running a kitchen or anything that involves food service, for that matter, is no easy feat. If you don’t have everything ready, things can go chaotic in your kitchen.

It would just make things a little easier and smoother for you if you have hotel pans around. Imagine having some of the things you need in their respective hotel pans. All you have to do is prepare your ingredients in advance and store them in the hotel pans. You can just then line them up and start preparing food.

Saves Time And Energy

It can get exhausting when you are busy preparing, cooking, and everything else. It’s not the best way to manage or command the kitchen.

One of the best courses of action is to have hotel pans at your disposal. You can throw in the stuff you need in advance. And if you are going to use them, everything is within reaching distance.  As most hotel pans can adjust to the heat and cold, you don’t have to keep transferring one food item to another container.

hotel pan dimension

Improve Organization

The kitchen and food service area are some of the busiest areas.   If you want to deliver quality food and service to your patrons, then you need to be able to move as swiftly as possible. That can only be possible if you know where everything is.

With hotel pans, you can organize your kitchen better. They serve as either storage spaces or serving trays. They lessen the clutter in the kitchen, allowing you to go about your duties.

Bang For The Buck

Hotel pans are essential items that you should have. Think of them as investments. Don’t worry! They won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

These hotel pans are not as expensive as you think. They might not be the cheapest items out there. However, with their various uses, you can justify the price points.

Most hotel pans are made using strong and long-lasting materials. The hotel pans you might be buying today would still be around years from now. As long as you know how to take care of them, you can surely get some sort of ROI. Therefore, consider investing in the hotel pans that you need and that could be beneficial for your cooking ventures as soon as possible!

Knowing A Hotel Pan Well

Whether you are in a professional kitchen or not, you might still need the right equipment. Familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of hotel pans early on is not bad. At least now you know almost everything about it. And you know what to do when the time comes that you need it.

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