As a guy who used to spend a lot of time over a prep table making sandwiches for a rather well-known chain (and no, it wasn’t Subway), I know my way around them. However, some might not, and if you’re looking to start up a restaurant and need to learn about various types of equipment that you’ll need, then this is a quick run-through of what you need to know.
First off, prep tables serve a dual purpose. The top half of the prep table is your work area where you’ll find cutting boards and the space where pans full of ingredients are kept cold. The top area is known as cold rails; the pans hang over the cooled area on these rails. The bottom half is a refrigeration area. You can keep whatever needs to be refrigerated in this area, including meats, vegetables, and sauces.
There are essentially three differences among prep tables: whether it’s for salads and sandwiches or pizza, whether access to the refrigerated areas is by door or drawer, and the sizes.
The major difference between a salad/sandwich prep table and a pizza prep table is the depth of the work area where the cutting board goes. Sandwich/salad prep areas aren’t too deep since the size of the sandwich or salad dish more than likely would not hinder the preparation. They usually are just shy of 12 inches deep. Pizza prep areas must be a bit deeper to accommodate the size of the pizza. A typical large pizza can be made on a prep surface of 19 inches, but if you’re looking to make the whole crazy big pizzas, you may need a larger prep area.
For the lower refrigerated area, access is gained either by swinging doors or by sliding drawers. The choice of which makes more sense for your restaurant is more of a personal preference. Either way, you have to back up a foot or so to open it, and the only really difference is the amount of bending you’d have to do. A drawer means it’s just a quick reach down, while getting to what’s behind a door might mean crouching down.
Size mainly comes down to the width of the unit, and that can affect other aspects of the prep table, including the number of doors to access the refrigeration below and the number of pans it can hold. Sandwich/salad prep tables start out as small as 27 inches wide, which means about six cubic feet of space below. They vary everywhere between that small size and all the way up to 93 inches in some cases, which can have a whopping 26 cubic feet of refrigerated space.
Pizza prep tables, on the other hand, tend to be…well…bigger. A small pizza prep table might start off around 43 inches, which can offer about 12 cubic feet of refrigerated space. Again, that’s small. A large pizza prep table can go up to 120 inches (10 feet, the height a professional basketball basket is from the ground), and that offers over 43 cubic feet of refrigerated space.
One more note: Another thing you’ll consider is the size of the pans you’ll need. There are five sizes to consider: full size (about 20.8 inches by 12.8 inches), half size (12.8 inches by 10.4 inches), third size (12.8 inches by 6.9 inches), sixth size (6.9 inches by 6.4 inches), and ninth size (6.9 inches by 4.2 inches). This is important to consider because you have so many spaces in a prep table, and any combination of pans could be used. Keep this in mind as your looking at prep tables.
Speaking of which, we’ve got a huge variety of used prep tables available right now for both pizza and sandwich/salad needs. Some are as small as 27 inches and a couple are as big as 93 inches, plus a variety in between. We also offer our quintessential financing options, our 30 day parts and labor warranty, and our famous freebies, including free delivery to most of Florida, free gas conversion, free paint jobs, and free custom cutting boards (which will go great with your prep table).
One Fat Frog • 2416 Sand Lake Road • Orlando, FL 32809 • 407-480-3409