House made French fries, perfectly balanced salsas, and fried zucchini slices are all made easier with the right food prep equipment by your side. They only take up a small footprint on your countertop, but they make a big impact to your bottom line. Whether you're looking to speed up prep, or you need that second pair of hands to help you tackle dishes more effectively, you can't go wrong with food prep equipment.
Still on the fence about investing in another piece of equipment for the kitchen? Here are 3 reasons you may want to change your mind.
Hey we get it. There's something almost meditative about slicing and dicing vegetables for prep. We know your knife skills are better than great, but we also know that the value of your time is even greater. Don't be afraid to put the knives away and lean on your equipment to help deliver a faster prep. When you get the basics like sliced jalapeno garnishes out of the way you'll have more time doing what you want to do, like getting creative with new menu concepts.
Here at Tundra, you're always hearing us talk about consistency. Why? Because any successful operation hinges on your ability to create the same, delicious dish every time a customer orders it. No matter the day of the week or the location of its preparation (we're looking at you national chains), customers will always expect their menu items to be prepared the same way—which in all honesty, is quite a compliment! You make their favorite dishes that leave them craving for more.
When you've developed consistency in your cuts, now we can start talking about inventory management and portion control. Keep track of how many slices of tomato you actually use to top that burger or sandwich, or log how many 2 ounce cups of pico de gallo you can get out of one batch of salsa. Once you begin tracking this information you'll be more empowered to order the exact amount produce you need (not too much, not too little). Another benefit? You won't be inadvertently adding too many ingredients here and there, which affects both flavor of the dish (see consistency above) and your profits.
Prep equipment generally falls into two camps: manual and automatic. Manual prep equipment includes choppers, slicers, wedgers, etc. where the only power you have is the one in your hands. The nice thing about manual equipment is just that—manual. No worrying about motors and other electrical equipment that can fail at any time. And since manual prep equipment is often less bulky than their automatic counterparts, smaller kitchens won't be burdened with trying to find adequate storage.
Automatic prep equipment, like food processors, shine in their versatility. Chop, dice, puree—you can do it all with the right attachments. Some manual prep equipment, like the Nemco Easy Chopper 3™ Series, features interchangeable blades to give chefs the versatility they want. Plus, while harder produce like carrots aren't suitable for manual choppers and slicers, automatic equipment can cut through these items without fail. Automatic equipment also poses less of a safety risk to employees since there's minimal contact with the blades. And speaking of blades, no matter if it's automatic or manual, you will have to replace and/or sharpen them over time.
From ¼ inch dice all the way up to a 1 inch dice, manual choppers can help you achieve perfect cuts in one quick and simple motion.
Like dicers, slicers come in varying widths to suit your needs. If you're slicing softer vegetables, like tomatoes, you may consider opting for a specific tomato slicer for cleaner cuts and less mess.
If you operate a salad bar or feature lots of fresh lemon, lime and orange garnishes, then a wedger is for you. Opt for 6, 8 and even 10 wedges!
We won't go into whether one is better than the other for food preparation (we already did so in our Commercial Food Processor Buying Guide). Still, we'd be remiss not to address that choosing between a blender or a food processor is really dependent on the types of items you'll be preparing; a blender's "rough chop" might lack the precision of one you'll see from a food processor, but knowing you can prepare additional items like soups, nut butters and more might make this piece of equipment more appealing.
Food processors come equipped with several different kinds of attachments and often feature either a batch bowl or a continuous feed. Check out our Food Processor Buying guide for more information.
Food prep equipment can last you several years so long as you properly maintain it. If you use your equipment daily, then wash it daily—it's as easy as that! Remove debris to keep blades sharper for longer and to prevent any buildup in the mechanisms. And if you do find yourself needing a repair, luckily most manufacturers sell parts separately so you won't be out the entire cost of a new piece of equipment.
With any knife there comes a point when you'll need to sharpen it or replace it—and slicers, dicers and other food prep equipment is no different. Luckily changing the blades on most prep equipment is relatively easy, it just takes a little precision and care.
The biggest issue most manual prep equipment owners face is broken pusher blocks. Pusher blocks are the plastic pieces on your equipment that feature little "teeth" which work to push the ingredient through the blades. Mismatching blades and pusher blocks is the #1 reason why pusher blocks break and become less effective over time. Nemco's innovative color system in the Easy Chopper 3™ series helps make matches easier for everyone.
For those with automatic prep equipment, adding a few additional containers and bowls can mean an even higher level of productivity. Instead of wasting time cleaning bowls after each batch, keep an additional bowl or container on hand to help you speed through a recipe that much faster.