How To Choose a Server in 5 Steps

Choosing the perfect beverage server from our extensive catalog of over 35 distinct lines can be overwhelming. However, with these 5 simple questions, we can help you narrow down your options and find the ideal serving vessel for your beverage service needs.

If you're short on time and prefer a more visual approach, check out our video below where Andy reviews the 5 questions to ask when selecting the perfect beverage server.

1. Does it need to be dishwasher safe?

Proper maintenance and care are important for extending the life of your beverage carafe, so understanding this from the beginning will help you choose the right one and minimize any frustrations you might have with your purchase in the future.

When evaluating your options, ask yourself, "What capacity does my staff have at the end of a work shift to put towards maintenance and cleaning?" If you have ample resources able to handwash servers after each use, then you won't need to limit yourself to any style or finish within our selection.

If you're serving a high volume of coffee and having the ability to throw the carafes in the dishwasher is a must-have, you can eliminate a significant amount of servers. Look for the dishwasher safe symbol while you browse our catalog or website as an indicator of what is and isn't considered dishwasher safe. 



2. How long does it need to hold heat?

When selecting a beverage server, it's important to consider the insulation type. There are three main options available: plastic and foam lined, stainless vacuum, and glass vacuum. Each option has its own unique benefits and drawbacks.

The main differentiator between the three types of insulation is temperature retention. Plastic and foam provides the lowest heat retention of just 2-3 hours, stainless vacuum provides 4-6 hours, and glass vacuum provides the longest of over 6-8 hours of heat retention.

So how long do you need your carafe to hold heat? Are you looking for service through a single meal service, or are you serving through an entire evening dinner service or catered event?

Plastic lined is the most economical choice if long heat retention isn't necessary. Practical uses include healthcare room service or church gatherings. For longer heat retention we recommend trying a vacuum-insulated product, which can come with a higher price tag but provides hot and fresh coffee for extended periods of time of up to 8 hours. 

Browse our selection of beverage servers on our website and filter by insulation type or temperature retention to narrow down your results.


3. What capacity do you need?

When considering the capacity of your beverage server, it's important to think about the size of your customer's cups, as well as the frequency of refills. A smaller carafe of 0.3 liters may be sufficient for individual use, or for small gatherings, while a larger carafe of 2 liters may be more appropriate for larger groups or events. Additionally, keep in mind the type of beverage you will be serving. For example, if you will be serving hot water for tea, a smaller capacity may be sufficient, while if you will be serving iced tea or lemonade, a larger capacity may be necessary to accommodate ice and garnishes. Ultimately, choosing the right capacity will ensure that your customers have enough to drink without waste or frequent refills, while also minimizing the risk of over-serving.

Browse our selection of beverage servers on our website and filter by Servings to narrow down your results.


4. Is NSF certification required?

Service Ideas takes pride in our commitment to quality, which is why we work closely with the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) to ensure that our products meet all necessary standards. Our diligent efforts to comply with NSF requirements guarantee that our beverage servers are safe for commercial use and free from any potential hazards.

Several factors contribute to the NSF status of a product in our category, with cleanability being one of the significant considerations. A product must be able to undergo thorough cleaning and drying to pass the NSF inspection. This entails avoiding tight crevices, nooks, and crannies that can trap food and beverages, leading to bacterial growth. Additionally, the materials used and surfaces that could potentially cross-contaminate must meet specific criteria.

Many foodservice establishments and chains require that all products must carry the NSF mark for safe commercial use. Service Ideas has a wide selection of NSF-listed carafes. Simply browse our selection of beverage servers on our website and filter by NSF Listed to narrow down your results.


5. Which type of lid do you prefer?

When it comes to the lid type, there are various options available to suit your needs. These include flip top, push button, twist lid, and brew thru. It's important to evaluate which lid type is the best fit for your specific application in order to narrow down your selection.

In general, the preferred lid type among our customers and sales team is the push-button lid. This lid type offers the most benefits and ease of use for both trained waitstaff and patrons. The manual actuator gives added safety to the carafe and allows for a more controlled pour than other lids. It's very intuitive to use and is commonly seen in the industry. 

Flip-top lids are also popular and provide more versatility than other lid types. The wide mouth allows for virtually any liquid to pour through it, including thicker sauces, soups, and syrups. The simple design is the easiest lid type to clean, making it suitable for creams and other dairy items.

If you're looking for a lid type that is more commonly used and versatile, we recommend the push-button or flip-top lid options. However, if you prefer a twist lid, they can be found on our standard creamers and some plastic carafes. Brew-thru lids are also available, commonly found on coffee decanters and as add-ons. While they may not be as popular, they can still be a great option for specific applications.


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