There really is no target product for hot food holding equipment. Rather, deciding what piece of hot food holding equipment best suits a foodservice operation comes down to what menu items they tend to hold and for how long. For example, muscle meats such as pork loins, turkey breasts and the like tend to keep well in many pieces of hot food holding equipment because they don't dry out quickly. But crispy items, such as fried chicken, tend to be harder to hold because the operator is trying to achieve two goals: crunchy outside and moist inside.
By allowing the foodservice staff to prepare menu items in advance and hold them safely while maintaining product quality, hot food holding cabinets can help alleviate production burdens and enhance service to customers. Also, by working ahead, foodservice operators can potentially cut down on the amount of labor they need to serve customers.
Exactly what features a foodservice operator is looking for in hot food holding equipment depends a lot on what menu items are being held and their state. For example, is the food in sheet pans or hotel pans? Is the food plated or packaged? Packaged products tend to require less humidity because the package holds the moisture. Non-packaged food will most likely require humidified cabinets to help product retain its moisture. Packaging has a lot to do with it. Foil reflects the heat instead of helping the product absorb the heat.