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Up Your Game with Build Your Own Chili Bars

Culinary, Industry Trends, Serving Solutions

More and more consumers are venturing away from home for onsite dining occasions. With in-person dining growing 22% in Q2 2022 compared to Q11, restaurants have an opportunity to capture even more onsite traffic by leveraging sporting events and seasonal food trends.

Sports fans love this time of year, watching their favorite teams on big screens and enjoying classic game day comfort foods with friends. Pizza, wings, and nachos are fan favorites, but other menu items are popular in cooler weather months and are perfect for serving patrons during sporting events. Chili, for example, is an iconic American staple and a classic comfort food showing an annual growth rate in consumption of over 8%.2 Plus, chili is easy to prepare in bulk requiring low prep and labor – perfect for restaurants and sports bars affected by ongoing labor shortages.

Turning your venue into a game day destination with a build-you-own-chili bar station is easy  and Server Essentials™ can help you score big with customers. Featuring point-of-use dispensing, serving, and holding equipment, Essentials products are engineered with your needs in mind, providing easy-to-use, dependable options to help improve efficiencies both back- and -front of house.

Perfect Proteins

IntelliServ® Warmers keep chili at peak flavor from the first serving to the last. These rethermalizing countertop warmers are designed to heat and hold 6 quarts of food and can be configured with one 1/3-size steam table pan or two 1/6-size pans. Digital temperature control ensures accurate holding, and digital temperature display provides instant feedback on heat settings, both making it easy for staff to view and maintain appropriate heat levels.

Consider multiple IntelliServ Warmers to conveniently serve a variety of chili options from beef, chicken, and smoked pork to plant-based meat alternatives. These warmers are also ideal for holding beans, noodles, and other chili ingredient mix-ins that need to be kept safe and warm.

Tasty Toppings

A chili bar would not be complete without a few key toppings to build on flavor and texture. Cold Serving Stations are perfect for holding ingredients and keeping them chilled at safe temps throughout the game. These stainless-steel stations are insulated to prevent condensation and feature a hinged lid with the option of stay-open and self-close operation. They also come with clear lids which showcase your toppings and make checking product levels quick and easy.

Use cold stations for holding popular toppings such as shredded cheese, chopped onions, sliced jalapeños, and sour cream. Use ice or universal ice packs to keep toppings chilled.

Tiered Stations are an excellent solution for toppings that do not need to be kept warm or cold. They only use 5 ¼" of counter space and come with clear hinged lids and serving spoons for safe topping presentation and dispensing. Offer dry toppings like oyster crackers and croutons to add a crunch to chili bowls.

Savory Sauces

Let patrons customize the heat levels of their chili by offering a selection of sauces right at your chili bar station. Squeeze Bottle Stations and TableCraft Bottle Holders keep condiments and sauces organized and ready for use with options that neatly hold up to (8) 16-oz. sauce bottles. From traditional hot sauces with varying levels of heat to more adventurous flavors such as Worcestershire, tamari, and soy sauces, patrons will be big fans of all the options and your establishment.

For more game-day serving ideas, read our blogs How To Build the Best Bloody Mary Mini Bar and Serve the Ultimate Sports Smorgasbord.


1Toast Q2 Restaurant Trends Report: Full-Service Restaurant Sales Rebound to Pre-Pandemic Levels,

2Chili Trends, Analytics & Statistics,