Pan and Tray Racks Buying Guide

Pan and Tray Racks Buying Guide

A commercial kitchen is made up of several key components. Without the right equipment and tools readily available to workers, the entire operation can quickly become a disaster. One of the more important items in a restaurant kitchen is a pan and tray rack. Used for a variety of purposes and in a range of businesses, this essential item is a must-have for most kitchens.

Applications and Benefits

Applications and Benefits

A rack designed to hold pans and trays of various sizes, these racks can be purchased in a variety of options to meet a range of needs. From options to hold pizza dough to allow for it to rise to bun racks to store ready-to-use buns in a more easily accessible manner to employees preparing orders, the applications for these racks are seemingly endless. They can be used to allow for products to properly cool straight from the oven which is ideal for nearly all restaurant types. They can also be utilized in freezers and refrigerators to ensure proper spacing between prepped products to avoid issues.

Designed to house trays and pans of various sizes, these units offer benefits aside from their ability to hold product properly. Made to allow for several trays or pans to be stacked vertically, racks help save on space in a kitchen. With most units able to house anywhere from a few trays to an impressive 40 pans or trays, maximizing on storage and space has never been easier. In fact, half units can be utilized on countertops or underneath work tables to help further capitalize on space.

They also help improve safety standards in the restaurant when dealing with hot trays. As opposed to having hot trays sitting on a countertop or work table where accidental burns may occur, trays can be placed out of the way to cool.

Racks also help make inventory management a little easier. By ensuring products are easily accessible by staff, it can help improve the work flow of operations. For instance, visibility is improved to allow for employees to see when they are running low on essential menu items with the use of these racks.

Another benefit of this type of rack is that most units are available for holding both trays or pans. Since most restaurants use a variety of containers to prepare and store products, it is especially useful to be able to store trays and pans of prepared products on the same cart to help streamline the production area.


When choosing this type of restaurant equipment, an important consideration to make is the matter of height. While height will obviously help determine how many trays or pans can be housed within a rack, the height also plays a role in accessibility for staff. Choosing the tallest height in a rack for maximizing trays stored may not be as effective as choosing two racks of a more manageable height to get the same number of trays stored. For example, opting for two racks holding 20 trays each may be a better solution for your location than one rack holding 40 trays. When selecting any type of equipment, you should always consider the ease of access the equipment will offer to improve staff productivity.

Here's a few of our favorites

1. Eagle Pan & Tray Rack OUR-1807-3-SR

2. New Age Pan & Tray Rack 1481

3. Turbo Air Pan & Tray Rack TSP-2250

Air Flow

When using racks to cool baked goods, allow dough to rise, or simply to house already prepared products, air flow is important. Proper air flow between trays is created by proper spacing. With most racks offering a uniform design in place for the purposes of preventing food from being crushed and ensuring proper air circulation between trays, rest assured food items will maintain the high standards of your business in terms of quality. To ensure the best in air flow for this type of rack, look for spacing of racks of around 3-5 inches of spacing.

Construction Aspects

Since racks need to be able to handle certain extremes in temperature, as well as constant use, there are certain construction elements to look for when purchasing racks. The type of material used to construct the rack is the first matter to consider. The industry standards for racks are stainless steel and aluminum. While both are durable and reliable, they have a few differences to keep in mind. Both handle heat well without showing signs of wear since they are scratch resistant by nature, but stainless steel is stronger in construction and longer lasting. However, stainless steel is heavier than aluminum, so aluminum may be ideal for locations looking for tray racks that can easily move from one spot to another with ease. While both metals handle moisture well without accumulating rust, aluminum has a higher heat conductivity rate which means it may not be as ideal as stainless-steel racks for handling hot trays. When choosing between the two metals, the matter will come down to where you intend to utilize the rack. For example, an aluminum rack would be ideal for freezers and refrigerators while you may choose to opt for stainless steel racks in areas near heat or handling hot trays direct from the oven.

Another factor to look for in the construction of racks is the welding. Since most units are created by welding separate metals pieces to together, the welding needs to be of high-quality to ensure a long-lasting and reliable solution for your business. Many operators will see the weld is visible and assume it is a sign of shoddy workmanship. However, the welding on metal racks is almost always visible to some degree. While care can be taken to place the welding on the inside of the rack to make it less noticeable, this line of visible welding is a part of many carts and racks. When evaluating welding, look for cracks or fissures in the surface of the welded area. This may be a sign of trouble which can lead to stability issues later.

NSF Standards

As any restaurant operator knows, food safety is of paramount importance for both the safety of customers and the continued operation of the business. When food safety regulations are not met, a business can be closed down. When choosing tray racks, a safe bet is to opt for models that are NSF rated. The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) helps businesses determine which solutions are best suited to running a safe and sanitary location to prevent foodborne illnesses. Choosing tray and pan racks meeting these guidelines can make your business safer for customers. For many racks with this rating attached, it means the racks have such features as the inability to harbor bacteria, the meeting of required safety suggestions, or other parameters of food safety.