Why Restaurants Use Microwaves

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Not all restaurants use microwaves for their food, but a lot of restaurants do. This includes both the fast food and the fine dining restaurants. The thing is that it may never be known if the restaurant is using them unless you see them doing it, or notice indications in your food that the food has been microwaved.

One strong indicator that a restaurant has microwaved your food is food that looks fully cooked, but upon eating it, there are cold spots in some of the food. Some of the portions of the food may be hot, warm, and cold at the same time. The cold part indicates that it was probably taken out of the refrigerator, placed straight on the plate (or in another container first), then microwaved.

When food has been freshly cooked at high temperatures it does not come out hot and cold, unless it is from something like poultry or dough. Cold poultry in the middle however will also show signs of being undercooked. However, if all parts of the food appears to be cooked, including the middle portions, but has a ‘colder than room temperature’ feel to it, then it was probably briefly microwaved.

Well heated steamy food that is flimsy and lacking crisp could also be a sign of microwaved food if it isn’t something that has been baked in moisture.

Is It Normal For Restaurants To Microwave Food?

The restaurants that do have microwaves for their food do not normally use them to cook their fresh food. The microwave isn’t really used for that specific purpose most of the time. So don’t think that there are good quality restaurants out there serving you 100% microwaved food. Most of them do put in a lot of work to make their food, and use ovens, grills, and other commercial equipment primarily to cook your food.

Low end restaurants will be more prone to stick food in the microwave and make it a regular habit. The food from these type of establishments may arrive at the restaurant pre-cooked already, so they get thrown into the microwave when needed.

An example of this are cafes that specialize in making coffee drinks, but has breakfast sandwiches and snacks too. They clearly specialice in drinks, but may have food too without a kitchen big enough to have a commercial grill. Food establishments that specialize in grilling may also so this too for bakery items that suddenly appear on the menu.

However, even low end restaurants will have some other food cooking equipment besides microwaves.

They just use the microwave in their establishment for certain foods that they feel are less important than the other main foods that they serve to their guests. They may think that the guests don’t care about anything really accept the the main thing that made the establishment popular to begin with.

With all this said, just because one restaurant may pick up habits of microwaving food, doesn’t mean all their restaurants in that specific food chain do it. These decisions are left up to the owners of the franchise to make for themselves sometimes. However, the fact is that restaurants have used microwaves for their food more often when they feel like they can still deliver quality foods the customers love while using them. If it diminishes the quality of the food, then they may avoid it altogether, rather than making it a habit.

It is the same rule of thumb that some of the companies go by when they put processed foods in their packages to sell them in local grocery stores in the frozen foods departments. None of the food brands there would have became popular if the customers thought it was bad food, so they sell because of the some of the customers perception of it is good or good enough.

What Are Microwaves Used For In Restaurants?

So if a restaurant is using microwaves, then what are they used for? Here are some ways that microwaves are used by restaurants:

  1. Reheating food leftovers.
    • Reheating is one of the number one reasons why restaurants will use a microwave. They will reheat any batches of food that were used in large portions yesterday. They will place the food into containers with lids on them and store them in the cooler. Then, they take them out the next day and reheat them as the first food they use for the start of the day.
    • They will microwave the leftover food to prevent food waste if the food is still good based off of the date label. This is done by some fast food restaurants and casual dine-ins.
  2. Reheating hot food that is getting cold.
    • Once again, to prevent a loss of profit, restaurants will sometimes microwave food that is sitting in their warmers and waiting to be served.
    • If the food has been sitting too long because business is too slow, and their food warmers for keeping the food hot and fresh isn’t working properly, then they might take the food and put it briefly in the microwave. They do this to keep them at safe temperatures so they don’t have to throw it away. Throwing food away means a loss of profit, so they may use the microwave to save the day.
  3. Quickly heating sauces, butter, or other add-ons.
    • Restaurants will sometimes just have a microwave not to cook the food, but to heat up any add-ons that will go unto the food later on. The additions could be a specially made sauce or gravy for example.
    • Sometimes even cold solid butter is quickly microwaved to soften it faster, so that it can be used to cover a grilling steak when it is time to cook it. The restaurant may never actually put any foods in the microwave, but just these small additions that help compliment their finished work.
  4. To heat side dishes.
    • Mashed potatoes, macaroni n cheese, soups, and other pastas are commonly placed in microwaves by the restaurants that use microwaves to heat their food if they choose to do so.
    • Not all foods at restaurants are made on the spot. Some of them come in packages already cooked and ready to go. They just have to be heated up. It is very similar to the frozen foods that can be microwaved in grocery stores. All they have to do is open the packages up, pour them into containers, and heat them in the microwave for a few minutes before placing them in food warmers.

Do fine dining restaurants use microwaves?

A lot of fine dining restaurants do not have microwaves. They will be more expensive; therefore they can afford to waste food that may otherwise have to be reheated quickly in a microwave to be served.

Some of these restaurants may have a microwave they use in an emergency to prepare minor things when they are in a pinch. An example of this would be whipping together a dip that ran out in the middle of a rush of customers and quickly throwing it in the microwave to prevent guests from getting irritated by the inconvenience.

Some food establishments may also have a microwave solely for their employees when they have to eat, but encourage any food that would have to be reheated to instead be thrown away and cooked anew.

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