How to manage: holding time of hot food ?

Joined Oct 2, 2016
Has someone a system to manage holding times (shelf life) of hot food in a Bain-Marie?

Imagine, I have different shelf life’s:

10’: steaks, …

20’: fish, white meat, vegetables…

40’: rice, lasagna, stews, …

120’: soups and sauces, …

240’: hot chocolate, …

Products are basically dressed in “mise en place” on GN trays, kept refrigerated, than cooked or reheated in Combi-Steamers and transferred to Bain-Marie for serve.

Now I want to implement a way to ensure that the products in the Bain Marie don’t stay longer than expected.

I was searching info like "shelf life methods QSR" but found nothing useful. After a while I found this high tech system: "SES-imagotag, Bossard developed Smart-Label» (beside amazing “Russian trucks in Siberia”) interesting, but maybe a little to sophisticate for this project. Later in the week I found me reading about Lean management and Kanban, I loved it.

But still not found a shared practical workfloorproof experience for my Bain Marie holding times.

Thanks for your inputs
Joined Sep 26, 2017
Are you talking about a universal system that can be used in any kitchen or just something to manage the food products in a specific kitchen?
Joined Oct 2, 2016
Hello Pat Pat,
The system should be used after reheating/cooking GN trays in a Combi-Steamer in self-serve restaurants. Once reheated I want to help the operators to refresh their products at the right time.
Individual egg cookers on each tray could be verry basic solution but asking a lot of handlings
Joined Jun 28, 2017
I have a super high tech system for this that has been used in all the kitchens where I've worked...

Step 1: Hire people who pay attention to their surroundings and care about producing a quality product.

Step 2: Write the time the item is supposed to be refreshed on a piece of tape, stick the tape to the side of the bain.

Step 3: Tell your employees to look at the tape and refresh the item when appropriate.

Step 4: Treat your employees like competent adults who can manage the simple task of switching out food when it's appropriate.

Step 5: If you cannot find employees who can both read and tell time, rethink your business model.

In all seriousness, though... food safety is largely dependent on time/temperature exposure - so if you’re already hot holding food on a buffet line, you have existing, functional systems for assessing/tracking/monitoring/recording holding times and temperatures - right? So what are those methods and why can’t you just extend them to quality control? If you don't have those systems in place you have larger problems than blown out rice or split soups.

Try searching CCP monitoring.
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Joined Sep 26, 2017
We did exactly what azenjoys said in all the places I worked at. Fast food chains do the same thing.

Even your basic egg timer method seems a little too advanced for such a simple job, really.
Joined May 5, 2010
I worked for Marriott food services in colleges and we had strict controls on food on the steam table line.
Temps were taken and recorded throughout service.
In many cases the food pans disappeared fast enough that temperature was not an issue, but after initial rush was over there was cause to watch over the food.
I taught the staff how to keep an eye on the food, how to correctly enter time and temperature entries into the book. We followed the rules and never had an issue.
Joined Oct 2, 2016
I've found this:
" I worked at McDonald's when i was a student, so I'll give you a sensible answer, from what I can remember! Basically there is a normal clock with a row of smaller numbers on the outside that are 10 minutes after the original number. So basically if you were on quarter past the hour (3) then you would put a tab in behind the burgers as you put them down the chute with a 3 on it. When the clock gets to 25 past (5) there is a small 3 on the outside of the clock that indicates that it is time to throw anything put in at quarter past away. There is a red and a black number for every five minutes, based on 2 1/2 minute intervals, so a black 3 at 15 minutes past and a red 3 at 17 1/5 minutes past. This means that the intervals are actually measured in 2 1/2 minutes rather than 5, meaning that a burger doesn't stay in the chute for too long..."
We'll try stainless tags to hang on the corners of the GN. And a Clock with different time circles. When a GN goes in the combisteamer to reheat, the operator tag the GN with the actual time number. Shelflife would be reheatingtime +shelflifetime
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