There are many different kinds of dispensers for ketchup, mayonnaise and other condiments, ranging from heavy-duty steel dispensers to hold relishes, to stainless steel pumps, wall-mounted ones, and even something as simple as plastic bins. Large restaurants often make use of the larger pump dispensers to hold ketchup, hot sauces, mustard, and other condiments commonly desired by their patrons, only keeping packets of other less common condiments under the bar or counter or in the kitchen, to be brought out only in the case of someone specially requesting it.
Large restaurants and cafes, which have more involved processes of serving a meal that requires trays, servers, holders, and organizers, usually have a condiment cart, which can be easily pushed around tables and can hold several dispensers which can be replenished quite easily for the different servings because the dispensers can be lifted out and replaced with other dispensers. Dispensers for installing on walls are also becoming popular because condiments can be arranged in them in a way that's at once aesthetic and easy to sort through. Wall dispensers also save space, so this kind of dispenser is popular in smaller restaurants.
Before you decide on what dispenser you need, you first have to think about the kind of food service you give in your place, and how many condiments are used for the food you serve. If you're running a small joint which offers takeout and pickup food service, then it's best to keep packets of condiments in a small basket-type dispenser which can easily be reached by everyone. If you want a dispenser for use in your home, then you can save some money and add your personal touch to it by making one on your own. This is what you need to do:
- Select a cardboard box or plastic bin whose sides don't reach very high up (three inches should do it). You can cut the cardboard box down to size, but in the case of the plastic bin, you have to choose one that meets the standards since there's little you can do about it otherwise.
- If you're using a cardboard box, you can decorate it with colored paper or pictures and cover it with a protective layer of plastic. If you're using a plastic bin, you can skip this for the next step.
- Decide how many condiments you use in your home. This will determine the number of dividers you have to make for your dispenser.
- To make the dividers, cut a folder or thin illustration board into rectangles and also cover these with plastic so they will last. You can fold half an inch on each side and staple or glue them to your box, or further divide these dividers down the middle if you want. You might need to use a ruler to judge just how long and how high these dividers have to be.
You now have your own dispenser where you can arrange your condiments in small jars or squeeze bottles. If you don't want to put labels on them, you can color code. Keep hot sauce in a red or orange squeeze bottle to alert people that it's hot sauce, since not all people like it.