Hot Tortillas Just Keep On Coming with Star’s Rolling Tortilla Warmer
By Lee Davis, CFSP
At my favorite local take-out burrito shop, the line is always out the door during lunch. As you make your way to the counter inside, the first employee places your choice of white, wheat or gluten free tortilla on an old countertop warmer that vaguely resembles a Panini grill. He holds the top down for about twenty seconds and then removes the hot tortilla onto a foil sheet. From there an assembly line of employees fills your burrito with a vast selection of tasty ingredients. Finally, one of two cash register attendants processes your payment and hands you a wrapped burrito with a bag of chips.
Over many visits, I’ve noticed that it’s the first guy in line who holds up the entire process. Between taking initial orders and operating the warmer, he only produces about two to three tortillas per minute, and that puts the restaurant’s capacity at around 150 burritos per hour. But imagine if a better machine with better technology could double or even triple his output? He might end up needing additional burrito assemblers, or an extra cash register, but the tortilla warmer would no longer be the bottleneck in his operation. Moreover, customers would no longer walk away because of the long line.
Star Manufacturing has designed just such a machine: the Rolling Tortilla Warmer, winner of a coveted National Restaurant Association Kitchen Innovations Award for 2016. Using a simple heated drum and radiant elements, it warms an individual tortilla from room temperature to 160 degrees in just seconds. The continuous feed design means that the hot tortillas just keep on coming. The Star Rolling Tortilla Warmer can put out ten 12” tortillas per minute. That’s 600 per hour. It puts out smaller 6” tortillas at a rate of 24 per minute. The unit can also warm flatbreads and pitas.
The Rolling Tortilla Warmer is a countertop unit with a footprint of only 19.5” wide by 18” deep. It operates on 120V service and requires no hood, so it can easily be used in the front or back of the house. It’s ideal for food trucks. The electronic controls are simple, with constant heat and variable speed to match product needs. The heated drum is coated with never-stick StalTek™, which makes clean up quick and simple with no need for aggressive chemical cleaners. The exterior is stainless steel and the unit comes with an infeed slide and discharge catch shelf that are removable to simplify cleaning.
The Star Rolling Tortilla Warmer (RTW14E) will be on display at the 2016 National Restaurant Association Show in the Kitchen Innovations Pavillion, May 21-24, 2016, at McCormick Place in Chicago.
Rolling Tortilla Warmer