Sandwich prep tables are a deli shop's dream. This helpful piece of equipment combines the storage capabilities of a refrigerator with the organization and functionality of a worktop. These refrigerated tables make it easy to create sandwiches on the fly by keeping ingredients cold and safe to eat. Often featuring a long, narrow strip of cutting board along the edge, the prep table featuring several 1/3-size steam pans that are great for storing vegetable slices, meats, and other toppings. Sandwich prep tables are also great for school cafeterias, Asian and Mexican restaurants who have adopted a "build your own" type of menu concept. At Tundra Restaurant Supply, we carry a variety of sandwich prep tables from the industry's leading manufacturer's like Beverage Air, Nor-Lake, Turbo Air, True and more!
Sandwich Prep Tables Versus Pizza Prep Tables
Similar to pizza prep tables, sandwich prep tables differ in that they feature a recessed refrigerated ingredient rail that typically utilizes the same refrigeration system for both the well and the cabinet. The toppings stored in the rail are not only enticing to customers, but they can be accessed conveniently for making sandwiches down the line; and that "line" is really just topped with a cutting board to make it easy to make a sandwich from start to finish (and give it a good slice in half in the end). Standard top prep tables tend to have two rows of food pans with an additional row equipped with a cutting board. If you're looking for a unit with more cutting space (great for preparing large sandwiches, chopped salads and other complicated orders), you may consider a cutting top unit which is equipped with an extra-deep cutting board; conversely, a mega top unit features an expanded pan rail with a shallower cutting board.
Sandwich Prep Table Refrigeration
Many sandwich prep tables utilize an air-cooled system, which chills the air in the cabinet and circulates that cold air around the food pans. If you purchase a sandwich prep table with an air-cooled system, consider training your employees to move food pans into other refrigerator storage overnight, otherwise your unit may have to work harder at keeping your ingredients cold (causing your energy costs to soar). Sandwich prep tables placed in areas with excessive heat or humidity can also result in uneven temperatures and compromise the safety of your product.
Sandwich Prep Table Sizing and Customization
Before purchasing a sandwich prep table, consider the size you can accommodate and what you intend to serve. Small units typically begin around 27 inches wide, increasing to as much as 120 inches wide. Next up is your menu—do you offer 8 or 12 ingredients on sandwiches? Consider items like lettuce for salads, or popular deli cuts of turkey or ham that you may use more quickly than other ingredients; you may utilize larger steam pans to store more of these ingredients, but that means you'll have less space for other ingredients. If physical space is no object then consider a mega-top prep unit which is deeper than standard models, giving you as much as 50% more pan capacity. Appropriating your space correctly is key to purchasing a sandwich prep table that meets your needs.
Once you've sized your sandwich prep table, then comes the task of choosing doors or drawers (or even a combination of both). Cabinets are ideal when you're storing full-size pans or pans of backup ingredients to quickly replace those in the refrigerated well. Be aware that while units with drawers tend to come with less refrigeration space, they are built to store food pans filled with ingredients (which makes for easy-to-reach-placement) of your ingredients. Ensure that the drawer slides out enough to enable regular cleaning; cleaning will not only lengthen the life of your equipment, but it'll earn you some points during inspection time. Speaking of maintenance, keep your gasket seals cleaned as well—these are the parts that'll wear out most quickly and while they can be replaced easily, worn gaskets can impact the performance of your refrigeration.