Hotel pans space food pans supplied for food storage, holding and also serving. Lock are used in plenty of facets of the restaurant and also catering industries. Hotel pans sometimes referred to together “steam table pans,” “service pans” or “counter pans.” together you can imagine, hotel pans are frequently used in heavy steam tables to hold food because that serving. Lock are also used in chafers as a crucial part that catering.

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Hotel pans are a kitchen favorite since of their capability to go from refrigerator, to prep line, to holding cabinet and also finally to the offer line. They are known for their versatility and also durability.

But over there is much more to learn about hotel pans. Exactly how did they get that name? room their different varieties of hotel pan? What room they supplied for?

Let’s explore the answers together!


Why are They called Hotel Pans?

The origin of the name “hotel pan” is a bit of a mystery. The usual wisdom is that the term originates from Europe (probably France). In days unable to do by, hotel operators would have actually designated enjoy the meal times for their guests. This exercise is still frequently observed on cruise ships. You can have heard someone say that they have actually “the beforehand seating because that dinner” definition that they space designated come eat at the previously of two specified meal times.


Because these hotel operators would designate meal times, they essential to serve big groups that diners at the very same time. To perform so, they needed to prepare and also serve food in large quantities. And they needed a durable pan to attain all this. Hence, the hotel pan was born.

The name lives on even outside the hotel and hospitality industry. Hotel pans are offered by restaurants and also caterers together a crucial part of their prep and serving lines. The ax “hotel pan” has come to be a acquainted shorthand method to refer to a team of (mainly) rectangular pans offered for food service.

Hotel Pan Standards

Over the years, hotel pans have cleared up into numerous standards including their dimensions and also depths. A full size hotel pan is 12 inch by 20 inches. This dimension is important because it is likewise used by devices manufacturers together they style things prefer steam tables and also prep tables to accommodate these standard size pans. Vapor tables space set up favor a grid come hold plenty of pans in any number of configurations.

In such a grid, a complete size hotel pan would certainly take increase one entire section, either vertically or horizontally depending upon orientation. But a variety of smaller pans deserve to be provided in that same room to separate foods.

Full dimension pans fit directly into the fine of the steam table (the recessed section that is filled through water) and also are held by the lip the the pan relaxing on the surface ar of the vapor table itself. However when smaller pans space used, adaptor bars are used to span the opened and carry out a place for the lips that the smaller sized pans to rest upon.

By using various sizes that pan with adaptor bars, the configuration choices are practically limitless.

An excerpt indigenous the Vollrath layout guide for hotel pans.

Depth Standards

Another conventional you will check out is regarded the depth the a details pan. You can see pans referred to as “100,” “200,” “400,” “600” or “800.” This numbering system originates from old manufacturing practices of referring to items by their stock number. However what it way today is one indicator that pan depth. A 100 pan is around 1 inch deep. A 200 pan is roughly 2 inch deep (it’s actually about 2 1/2 inch deep). And also the pattern adheres to from there.

Not all pan dimensions are always easily accessible in every depths but knowing both the dimension and also pan depth will aid you arrangement your construction accordingly.


The last typical to be acquainted with is the gauge that the stainless steel used to handmade the pan. If you have familiarized yourself through our Stainless stole Guide, girlfriend will already know that lower numbers suggest a greater quality the steel. In the restaurant industry, a 22 gauge steel is the standard for many hotel steam pans. You can get pans in both higher and lower quality. A 20 gauge pan is noticeably heavier and an ext sturdy 보다 a lower gauge pan.

Economy pans have the right to be the right an option for light-duty supplies or in situations where weight is one issue. For example, caterers who require to bring pans from an offsite kitchen come a serving ar may opt to usage lighter gauge pans.

Before girlfriend rush off to to buy the cheapest hotel pans you can find, you should be mindful that cheaper pans come through some perhaps hidden costs. Due to the fact that these pans are of reduced quality, you have the right to expect castle to have a shorter lifespan. And also even once they are in use, if they bend or deform, they can add come your power costs and potentially shorten the life that the equipment with which they are used.

Not to mention the fact that cheap pans regularly get bent edges and also mangled corners that have the right to detract from her food presentation. Get the full scoop top top “The Real cost of an economy Pan.”

Variations of Hotel Pans

You might be forgiven for thinking that hotel pans are just boring, rectangle-shaped pieces the stainless stole at this point. However there actually space some variations of hotel pans that room worth noting.

First, pans can also be made through perforations to permit steaming or to allow for drainage.

A range of perforated hotel heavy steam table pans from Vollrath.

But hotel pans can additionally be made the end of a selection of various materials. These incorporate polycarbonate plastic, melamine, polypropylene plastic (BPA free) and also cast aluminum. Plastic models have the right to be offered for both hot or cold foods depending on the design. There are even models designed specifically for very cold foods.

But if you room really feeling adventurous, you have the right to opt for pans that defy the timeless rectangular shape. Vollrath provides a line of Super Shape pans that can really liven up your food presentation on a buffet heat or catering table.

These creatively shaped pans deserve to still fit into standard fixtures, however offer a selection of safety shapes add some selection to her presentation.


Hotel Pan Accessories

The most famous accessory because that a hotel pan has to be a lid or a cover. Lids and covers come in many different configurations (like a domed lid) and also have number of unique features like hinges. Lids additionally come in different product types relying on whether the cover is supposed for food business and/or stop or is intended for food storage in a refrigerator.

But don’t forget about serving utensils! You room going to desire a range of tongs, spatulas, serving spoons, and also spoodles depending on your particular needs.

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A hinged lid to add serving versatility to a conventional pan.

An Old Fashioned name with modern Relevance

It doesn’t issue if you use them in a regular restaurant, a large buffet line, or in your very own catering business, hotel pans will remain a staple the the foodservice industry. Now that you have actually familiarized yourself v all the options, friend are all set to shop! Feel complimentary to usage the table below to help guide you to the perfect hotel pan to accomplish your separation, personal, instance needs!

Hotel Pan Sizing Chart

Image (click to shop)TypeSizeApprox. Capacity (in qts by depth in inches)
Full size Pan12" x 20"2 ½" - 5qt4" - 8.13qt6" - 21qt8" - 29.75qt
Two-Thirds Pan12 " x 13 1⁄3 "2 ½" - 5.7qt4" - 9.3qt6" - 12.6qt8" - 16.4qt
Half Pan12" x 10"2 ½" - 4.3qt4" - 6.6qt6" - 9.4qt8" - 11qt
Half Pan Long6" x 20"2 ½" - 3.7qt4" - 6qt6" - 8.7qt
Third Pan12" x 6 ⅔"2 ½" - 2.25qt4" - 4.1qt6" - 6.1qt8" - 7.5qt
Quarter Pan6" x 10"2 ½" - 1.8qt4" - 3qt6" - 4.5qt8" - 5.1qt
Sixth Pan6" x 6 ⅔"2 ½" - 1.2qt4" - 1.9qt6" - 2.7qt8" - 3.2qt
Ninth Pan4" x 6 ⅔"2 ½" - .6qt4" - 1.1qt