Uniformity and standardization in any industry make many things easy for the professionals involved. One such thing in the Catering and Hospitality Industry is the Gastronorm. With a history coming from Switzerland, it is a measuring system meant to universalize the sizes of the containers used in the hospitality sector. Knowledge of this system is used to maximize the use of the available space on the counter/ display, commercial microwave oven or refrigerator. Optimization of capacity is made possible by the use of this system across the industry.
If you are just starting out or want to efficiently use the capacity of your catering equipment, the system plays a vital role. The Gastronorm sizes could be understood by the following table:
|Gastronorm Models||Gastronorm Sizes|
|GN 1/1||530 x 325mm (full)|
|GN 1/2||325 x 265mm (half)|
|GN 1/3||325 x 176mm|
|GN 1/4||265 x 163mm (quarter)|
|GN 1/6||176 x 162mm|
|GN 1/9||108 x 176mm|
|GN 2/1||650 x 530mm (double)|
|GN 2/3||354 x 325mm|
|GN 2/4||530 x 162mm|
Standard Depths these containers can be found in
The whole standardization system is established by the European standards committee. It has worked towards making it simple for the industry professionals to purchase, check the compatibility with catering equipment and let the kitchen stay efficient. However, if you are wondering how exactly choose the right size as per the oven or freezer or fridge the container has to go in, you can use the following method:
- Measure the internal space of the unit the Gastronorm container has to go in.
- Then finalize the number of the things that you decide to put inside the containers. The need could vary: food processing, displaying or just plain storage.
- Use that number to divide the length of the catering equipment space. It will be (almost) equal to the (length or width of the) gastronorm size you must choose for the said purpose.
- Reference of the PDF guide can be taken to be really sure of taking the right decision.
Now that you are aware of the size you should go with, it would do you good to be aware of gastronorm container materials that are popular in your industry for different reasons and purposes.
Gastronorm Container Materials
The metal is great for heat retention so it goes without saying that the containers of this metal keep food hot for long. Thus it is a natural choice for the chefs and caterers. The durability of the container is another reason they prefer using stainless steel gastronorm containers. They could withstand a big range of temperature in oven and fridge, i.e. from cooking in the oven to Blast Chilling. Another plus point that steel containers have is their silvery shine which makes them look good. Hence, it’s no wonder that these could be used as they are for buffet presentation.
Synthetic food safe materials- Polypropylene/polycarbonate
Being extremely tough, these materials are considered ideal when it comes to transportation. Many catering companies use them when traveling to some other location is required. These are considered effectively break –resistant, especially the polycarbonate ones. However, consulting the manufacturers would make you doubly sure about your purchase. Also, these containers are considered good for holding and displaying cold food.
Use of Gastronorm
- Buying correctly sized lids and strainers for respective containers
Imagine having a container with no uniform size, for which you have to buy its accessories like a lid. Which size would you buy? It would either be a guess or you need to carry the container to buy its exact match (or need to order one for the exact size!). And with no universal reference, chances are that you would hardly be satisfied with your purchase trip.
Real estate of the shelves is limited and often in scarce. Its optimum utilization poses a sort of everyday challenge for people dealing with shelving. These containers work as life (time!) savers. Just put the material of your choice into the container and it goes over the counter. As simple as that!
- For Oven and oven equipment
Often, the gastronorm is at play when you have to consider space inside. Peak times require optimum utilization of the capacity of the equipment. Catering operation output can get drastically better if you use Gastronorm sizes for shelving in the oven. Grids are available for oven and girdles mainly designed in GN1/1 size.
As with the ovens, the same goes for cooing/freezing equipment. Knowing about the capacity improves space utilization, which is a commercial set up can directly impact the processes, their productivity and output and thus the bottom line of the restaurant.
- Heating/chafing dishes
Mostly used for the purpose of display, these dishes are meant to keep hot, food hot and cold food, cold. The utility of these containers thus makes them ideal for displaying at buffet tables. Life for chefs / Deli owners/caterers was thus never easy without Gastronorm sizing.
Available in a wide variety of materials, from stainless steel to melamine and all the GN sizes, these containers and their accessories are to be bought by going through the exact catering needs. Bought for storage purposes in pantries or commercial equipment, display in refrigeration units, or for buffet presentation, cooking in ovens, the container sizes works for all.