When built-in equipment fails, it can be a pain to find a good replacement. Often, the holes left behind are odd sizes, or the counter material is not up to code. Finding something to fill the hole can feel like more trouble than it’s worth, leading to operators purchasing expensive new countertops.
That isn’t to say that new counter-tops don’t have any advantages. If you run a buffet, modernizing your establishment can bring added business by word-of-mouth, especially if you go with a much different or ultra-contemporary design. Incorporating round warmers, frost tops, heated wells, and ice cream freezers may also allow you to expand your current offerings, as well. Even if the design of the counter is classic, the counter material can really make a difference in how your food is perceived; for example, granite or stainless steel counter-tops can add some class. Either way, a new counter offers the ultimate in heated well flexibility – at a cost.
However, if your current counter design works for you, there are more (and often less expensive) options. Hatco’s heated wells, for example, can fill nearly any hole left behind by your old units. Even the controls are designed to more-easily replace the broken equipments’. In addition, if your counter is made of flammable materials (wood covered in faux granite, for example), Hatco offers optional mounting kits that make your operation fire-safe and compatible with most local codes.
If the holes from your old unit or units are extraordinarily oddly sized, it isn’t the end of the world for your old counter. Hiring a professional to widen those counter-top’s holes to accommodate traditionally-sized heated wells may be your best option, especially if you are working with expensive-to-replace granite. If the holes are already too big, talk to a professional carpenter or handy-man to see what your options are. If your counter-top is laminate-covered, depending on local codes, they may be able to add supports and material to make the hole smaller and then re-laminate your counter-top. If it is granite or a synthetic substitute, it may be possible to add a step-up ring that could incorporate a smaller warmer yet be supported by the surrounding counter-top. Again, it is best to consult with a professional who can assess your unique needs.
The take-away lesson is this: broken built-in equipment doesn’t necessarily mean unusable counter-tops. Check out all of your options before spending too much!