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It should go without saying that chafing dishes are one of the most vital parts of any catering operation, and so the type of chafing dish you choose is clearly going to be an important decision.

Beyond size and shape, the first thing to consider is how the chafing dish will be heated. Some people are turning away from the traditional gas canister chafing unit and instead using induction dishes. Induction is the new kid on the block – it uses magnetism to heat the dish itself instead of the surface that dish is placed on. It’s an interesting idea that comes with a few advantages, but there’s more than one reason why many caterers are sticking with the traditional gas unit.

Works with all Metals

The major drawback when it comes to induction heating systems is that they only work with certain metals, namely those that contain iron. Natural cast iron will always work with an induction heating unit, but stainless steel generally needs to be fitted with an induction-ready base. That’s an added cost you probably don’t fancy dealing with. Aluminium is another problem metal for induction – like stainless steel, it requires a special induction base.

Significantly Lighter

The vast majority of caterers will place a lot of importance on the lightness of their equipment. After all, chafing dishes are probably going to need to be transported on a regular basis. Gas canister chafing dishes are very light, and they can be stacked easily. Perhaps most importantly, the canisters are housed in metal, so it’s unlikely to be a big deal if you drop one. The same isn’t true with induction chafing dishes. They are much heavier, harder to stack, and more prone to damage when dropped.

Less Expensive

Finally, induction units are still very expensive compared to gas units. This might change in a few years’ time, but it currently makes sense to go with gas unless you have plenty of money to burn. As a business that probably requires multiple chafing units, it only makes sense to go for an economical option, especially since doing so won’t impact performance.


Andy McGowan
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