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January 12, 2023

Food service trays are a prevalent and valuable item for restaurants. They are often found on tables that may be shared by more than one person, which is why they are often referred to as communal trays.


Today we’re going to look at the trays commonly used in commercial venues and give you some tips on choosing the best ones for your restaurant.


What are commercial food service trays?


Food service trays are a surprisingly common sight in any large kitchen. They are commonly used for many things, from serving crockery to serving condiments and even when keeping food fresh. Food service trays come in various shapes, sizes, and materials; these trays are perfectly adequate for many purposes.


But there is one significant problem: they are destructive to food. The primary reason is they tend to look like a mess on the floor, with food all over the place — which makes cleaning them up a lot more complicated than it needs to be (especially if you happen to be using the same tray as someone else).


So, what do we do? There are two ways of looking at this problem.


1.) we make our own reasonably priced commercial food service trays that don’t look like a mess (which would cost much more than buying some commercially available ones).

2.) we take advantage of commercial ones already on the market (which would probably cost less than making our own). Let’s call them “commercial quality” and “self-service quality” versions.


The self-service version uses an adjustable tray base, which allows it to be set up in increments so that whatever you put on it (and where) will fit perfectly in your kitchen without having to adjust the tray itself. These bases range from reasonably cheap models, with adjustable bases costing around $20-$30 per tray (depending on material). Or up to more expensive models with adjustable bases costing several hundred dollars or even higher (the variety that people have spent tens of thousands of dollars on has nothing to do with how well they perform as commercial trays).


The advantage of this version is that it will produce clean output without having to worry about adjusting anything yourself; however, if you need an adjustable base like this, you will probably want something substantially better than $40 per tray. There are considerable differences in performance between inexpensive adjustable bases and those costing several hundred dollars or more. Commercial quality versions can be made very cheaply using readily available materials — so long as you don’t mind having somewhat less effective self-service devices in your restaurant kitchen:


Ultimately, we think cost savings may be significant enough to recommend picking one type over the other if you can afford to do so.


Types of commercial food service trays


Trays are used in restaurants, schools, healthcare facilities, and offices in the food service industry. They are made of plastic and are often used for serving food at a table.


The trays come in many shapes and sizes to fit large and small spaces. Some may be made of metal, while some may be made of plastic. The common problem is that they tend to have gouges or pits that can cause damage when the tray is dropped or hit with objects such as forks or knives during use. Trays are available for sale on various websites, such as Amazon, but if you would like to save money on good quality products, we recommend you pick some here at FSX.


Materials used in commercial food service trays


While there is massive room for improvement in the materials used in commercial food service trays, getting a high-quality tray at a great price is still possible. However, there are several things that you need to be aware of when thinking about what kind of tray you want to purchase:


  1. The tray material must be strong enough to hold the food and not buckle under light pressure.
  2. The tray material must be durable and resist physical abuse; it must also have good adherence to the food being placed on top of it. (Some people refer to this as “material adherence”)
  3. Food service trays should be made from durable materials with good adhesion. They should be waterproof, stain resistant, and easy to clean; they should also have good thermal stability, water resistance, scratch resistance, and avoid deformation or damage from temperature changes
  4. Trays should also resist corrosion — especially alkaline corroding metal parts like hinges, bolts, and screws — which can be an issue for aluminum trays (which is why we recommend a stainless-steel version instead of aluminum). This is especially important for heavy-duty trays that need much force or are used in environments where corrosion isn’t an issue; we recommend stainless steel trays over aluminum ones because they last much longer than aluminum ones.
  5. It’s also important that food not get caught inside the tray during use: either at the rim or any place where food may get stuck on the tray itself before being carried away by customers. The most common solution here is coating the whole surface area using epoxy materials like ABS plastic, which will resolve this problem. (It’s worth noting that there are many other alternatives to epoxy coatings, including glues and similar adhesives.)


Benefits of using commercial food service trays


Food service trays are a popular item in fast food restaurants and other commercial food services, as well as many locations of airports and hotels. They are inexpensive and easy to produce but have a long lifespan of many years. Trays have been around for a long time, but they have changed over the years. The old trays were made of wood and were not very durable, so they had to be replaced often.


The new trays we will discuss here are made from plastic. They are manufactured in any color and within a wide range of sizes, from small boxes to large bins (or even pallets). But it is also essential to be durable enough to withstand the abuse you will put them through in your restaurant or other commercial facilities (with frequent cleaning).


As we mentioned before:


  • There is no one solution to this problem; you need to find what works for your specific business
  • Trays should be durable enough that they can withstand regular cleanings; the suitable trays will last you for several years
  • They should not weigh much or fall off the rack easily; they need to stay on their trays at all times
  • They should offer meaningful storage space (you’ll need racks for those bins)

In addition:

  • Trays usually come with an end cap that helps keep them on their trays during the cleaning process (we recommend using them) – This doesn’t mean you need end caps in your bins – make sure your bin has one and use it when needed!


Drawbacks of using commercial food service trays


Food service trays are a reasonably standard fixture, and they have proven to be as popular as they have proven to be in the past. They are also a relatively low-tech solution that Food service trays can easily adapt to many different markets. But despite their ubiquity, many people don’t know what these trays are for, how they work, and why you should care about them.

This is a guide to help you use them well and avoid common pitfalls. If you’ve never used food service trays before, we suggest you get some experience under your belt before diving into this article.


What Is a Food Service Tray?


A food service tray is any tray that holds food. Many people confuse food service trays with other types of take-out containers, plasticware like pasta bowls, cups, or whatever else might fit into the same category. However, there’s no such thing as another food container in our world (i.e., there’s no such thing as just another container). As long as your product can fit inside the tray, then it qualifies as a “food container” (an excellent way of saying “lunchbox”). There’s nothing wrong with how this term is used here — if we had different terms for different types of containers (and we don’t), then we wouldn’t need guides like this. The term “food container” was invented by Juliette Gordon Low from her research on lunchboxes in 1904; she was looking at the fact that children would often use lunchboxes instead of their own lunches during school breaks. She came up with the phrase “food container” because she thought it sounded more interesting than just “lunchbox,” — which sounds like something you’d say if you were completely lost on how to use an item like this!


How to choose the suitable commercial food service trays


The commercial food service tray is one of those products you often see when you are in the kitchen or restaurant business. It is also ideal to describe the product: heavy and oversized, with a big handle. You can use it in many ways, but most often, you will use it to stack trays of food on a table surface.




Food service trays are used in restaurants and other commercial food service settings. They are used for storing and transporting food, such as salads, casseroles, sausages, bread, fruits and vegetables, and plates or bowls.


The variety of sizes and forms of trays can be enormous. Trays may be very small (such as a salad plate) or large (such as a serving dish). They can be made of plastic or metal. Many are hard-wearing and non-corrosive.


There are the basic tray types that you should know about:

1″ round (1″ diameter)

2″ round (2″ diameter)

3″ round (3″) round

4″ square (4″) square

5″ square (5″) square

Filed under: Restaurants