Whether you're looking for a sandwich prep table (shallow cutting boards are perfect for sandwiches), pizza prep table (larger cutting board with a raised pain rail), or a new combination unique to you, commercial prep tables are one of the best ways to combine a work and storage area. Used daily, and often around the clock, prep tables keep your ingredients in place (and close by) while also giving you a work surface for chopping, dicing, mixing, mashing, and combining those ingredients for hungry customers. When it comes to most foodservice establishments, prep tables are a necessity.
Used quite often in the back of house, you'll see refrigerated prep tables at many of the stations within a commercial kitchen. Great for a sauté or grill line, where you need to cook proteins and garnish dishes quickly, prep tables outfitted with drawers make it easy to locate exactly what you need when you need it (all within arm's reach). You may also consider outfitting your salad or dessert stations with prep tables as well for faster execution on these popular menu items.
You'll find prep tables in the front of house too. These days the “build your own” concept is a big one, with customers demanding (and getting) more customization options when it comes to their food. Commercial prep tables have made it easier to implement these food service concepts (you might remember just one popular chain who builds a sandwiches). The great thing about prep tables is that they keep all of your ingredients within arm's reach and to the proper temperature so you can quickly and easily get customers in and out the door with their order.
Refrigerated prep tables also come in many shapes and sizes, anywhere from 27 inches long all the way up to 93 inches long. Size appropriately to your business, keeping in mind that smaller tables work well when space is at a premium, though at the expense of less storage. Most prep tables are also setup like modular units, and many manufacturers feature a variety of combinations to suit your needs. For example, would you prefer a unit with doors (great for large storage space) or drawers (easier access)—or why choose, do both! Think about what works for your busy space, like whether closing drawers with your hands full could impede efficiency.
And if we haven't already given you enough to think about, have you considered the pan rail configuration for your prep table? Standard top prep tables typically feature two rows of food pans versus mega top prep tables, which may accommodate up to 50% more pan storage. Beware though, that added pan storage comes at a price (in the form of a smaller cutting board).