What to Know Before Purchasing a Sandwich Prep Table

 

Sandwich Prep Tables can be an essential part of a foodservice business. Sandwich prep tables are often used in Subway (based) sandwicherie's. They typically have a sneeze-guard on their sandwich prep table. Sandwich prep tables are often counter height and have an insulated refrigerated lid. The material generally used for these types of units is stainless steel

 

Sandwich Prep Table Buying Guide

Prep tables are essential pieces of restaurant equipment for any foodservice business. They combine the necessity of a refrigerator with a convenient cutting board so you can quickly and easily assemble your ingredients to create signature dishes. They come in a variety of sizes and styles with a whole host of different internal components. With so many options, finding the perfect unit can be a challenge. That's why we've broken down the most important information you need to know about prep tables when you're shopping.


Sandwich Prep Table vs. Pizza Prep Table

Sandwich and salad prep tables serve different purposes than pizza prep tables, but they're not as different as they sound. Sandwich prep tables come with thinner cutting boards designed for sub and sandwich bread, and most come set up for use with 1/3 size food pans in the top storage area. Pizza prep tables feature a larger cutting board area with a raised rail and a top storage area designed for 1/6 size food pans. So if you can't find sandwich prep table that suits your needs, browse our selection of pizza prep tables to see if another one would be better.


Doors vs. Drawers

The second factor to consider is whether you will need a table with drawers or doors on the front. Regardless of your preference, both types will have a top section with a lid that is designed to hold food pans. Units with doors have a refrigeration cavity very similar to reach-in equipment measured in cubic feet, complete with shelves that can hold a wide variety of foods. Units with drawers generally come with less refrigeration space, but each drawer is laid out to hold more food pans filled with ingredients, making them easier to access and swap out with empty pans from the top storage area. There are also prep tables made with combinations of doors and drawers for greater versatility.

It's important to remember that doors and drawers may complicate the routines of more compact kitchens, depending on where you place the unit. Doors usually close automatically, but drawers typically do not. It's more difficult to close drawers when a passing cook or server has their hands full, which can be a distraction in your kitchen. On the other hand, longer doors may not open all the way in more compact areas, which would make drawers a better option.


Refrigeration

Here are three methods used for refrigerating the top food pan section of prep tables: air cooled, cold wall, and liquid jacket. Air cooled units are an excellent solution for restaurateurs who are just starting out. Air cooling is standard on sandwich prep tables, and it's coupled with low maintenance and labor costs that make them easy to use without requiring a lot of know-how. On the flip side, their power is more limited than alternative refrigeration methods.

Cold wall models run refrigerant lines through the table's structure to keep the interior cool. They often allow a greater variety of pan and shelf configurations so you can customize your storage options. They also have a greater output potential compared to air cooled units. However, cold wall systems can lead to uneven pan temperatures, which can upset the uniformity of your food once prepared.

Liquid jacket is the newest form of cooling and typically used in pizza prep units, utilizing low-profile internal designs to maximize storage space while consuming low amounts of energy. It's also the best option for keeping your ingredients a uniform temperature. Unfortunately, this refrigeration type is the most expensive of the three, making it viable for only established businesses.


What to Know Before Purchasing a Sandwich Prep Table

What Size Do I Need? Measure the space you desire to place your sandwich prep table. The width on sandwich prep tables vary although, the height is generally 45". The depth of the sandwich prep table is important, be sure to consider the depth of the sandwich prep table with the doors open. You want to make sure your kitchen / work place is the best, most effective, and most efficient it can be.

What is the Warranty? Brand new sandwich prep tables will offer a one (1) year parts and labor, five (5) year's on the compressor warranty. Do not accept anything less. Reason I am saying that is the minimum you should accept is because there are certain re-sellers that offer 1-6 month warranty on commercial refrigeration including sandwich prep tables. Generally these units will be cheaper, but that old saying you get what you pay for here. I have seen thousands of sandwich prep tables throughout the years from Lowes to highest quality. From my experience the warranty is comforting and useful. Generally mechanics that work with commercial refrigeration charge between $50-$75 per hour which can get costly quick. 

Where was this Unit Manufactured? Commercial Refrigeration made in the U.S.A usually gives the best warranty. I prefer made in U.S.A manufacturers because they are easier for me to reach if need be. Having said that these days a lot is manufactured oversees. And reputable brands like True, Beverage-Air, Leader and more have manufacturing plants outside of the United States. Their products are good quality and do have good warranties. From experience of personal preference I like the quality of United States made products more. Speaking of some great products that are made outside the U.S.A, the iPhone comes to mind first. That’s a perfect example of how great products can be manufactured outside the United States. 

Do I Need Swivel Casters? We added swivel casters to our sandwich prep table. The swivel casters make it easy for me to move the sandwich prep table for cleaning. I paid $109.99 for my set. They were pre-installed, so I received my prep table with the casters installed. I think it’s really an easy upgrade for me to make. Keeping a clean kitchen is imperative to success. This makes it that much easier to clean up for an affordable price.

Does This Prep Table Come with Interior Lighting? We have interior lighting in our sandwich prep table. The interior lights work good for us, especially for the smaller, harder to find items. We did not have to pay extra for interior lighting. Inside lighting can be helpful to see the storage better. Its most certainly can be helpful.

How Many Pans do I Need? We use the pans to store lettuce, tomatoes, turkey, cheeses, and other cold cuts, and vegetables. We have a total of 24 pans. Know approximately how many you'll need to use. Generally the larger the prep table the more storage it will have for pans. 

Do I Need a Sneeze Guard? In our business, our guests chose what to include in their sandwich. They form a line in front of the prep table, and chose (by pointing their finger) what they would like to include. The sneeze-guard is durable and keeps my business safe and clean. I paid an additional $499.99 for a 4ft sneeze-guard. If you have a similar infrastructure, I highly recommend to add the sneeze guard option your sandwich prep table. The price of the sneeze guard will varrey depending the quality, durabilty, and size. The price is oftern measured by foot.

Who to Buy From? When purchasing online, make sure the company you are purchasing from has a BBB (Better Business Buaerue) rating. The Company I purchased from had an A rating. By now you'bve probably purchased from several online retailers and local retailers. My advice is to use 1 supplier for everything. If the company is honest stick with them. 

Do I Need an Oversized Compressor? In my kitchen at times it gets extremely hot. My local mechanic recommended I purchase a sandwich prep table with an over-sized compressor to withhold the high temperatures. The sales agent was friendly and sold me an over-sized compressor model FREE of charge. If your kitchen may be very hot in times be sure to include that detail to your sales agent.

 

Choosing a Sandwich Prep Table 

Before purchasing a sandwich prep table think thoroughly about key terms. Always read between the lines. When purchasing a unit consider investing $1700-4500 (Depending on what size model you need). Other very important things to consider are:

  • Warranty
  • Price
  • Ease of Use
  • Brand Name
  • Construction Type
  • Design
  • Swivel Casters
  • Interior Lighting
  • Refrigeration System
  • Compressor Size
  • Product Ratings

 

If you are knowledgable about your business needs, and you follow the directions above you will be a success story, in terms of how you pick your prep tables.


Reputable Online Retailers:

Restaurant equipment supplies are what I like to think of as great online products to buy. Online retailers have the ability to maximize their catalogue by having relationships with manufacturers with inventory. Online retailers are given the opportunity to advertise products that are available at designated manufacturer warehouses. This means a larger variety than any retailer store can offer. It also means lower prices and faster shipments. Having said that, un-experienced online retailers can make you feel like you never want to buy anything from the web again. Things that may occur with un-experienced online retailers are wrong items shipped, long shipping times, higher chance of items being damaged, and more. Bellow I have conducted a list of online retailers of restaurant equipment including sandwich prep tables that I have done research on. This list will include the top 6 restaurant equipment supplies including sandwich prep table online retailers. I am basing this list on several factors such as: availability, product quality, product reviews, variety, and website usability. You should know this can be considered bias because I currently work at eliterestaurantequipment.com, although I do my best to make the best and most clear decision.

#1 Webstaurantstore.com - Webstaurantstore.com is a popular destination to purchase restaurant equipment online. They provide a large selection of sandwich prep tables in various styles and use types. Their product line of prep tables includes sandwich / salad prep tables, pizza prep tables, and more.

#2 Wasserstrom.com - 2014 Foodservice dealer of the year is best known for their super store in Columbus, OH. They have amongst the largest restaurant equipment retail store, amongst five additional retail locations with over 5,000 individual items stocked. They have adapted with a user friendly website.

#3 Bigtray.com - Amongst the first online retailers of restaurant equipment is bigtray.com. They started selling restaurant equipment online over a decade ago. They are pioneers in design, logistics, and customer support for restaurant equipment supplies and refrigeration including sandwich prep tables.

#3 Foodservicewarehouse.com - Foodservicewarehouse has managed to develop an amazon style restaurant equipment online location, where users can learn and purchase restaurant equipment, including all types of refrigerated foodservice prep tables.  

#4 Katom.com - Katom has succeeded in developing a friendly kitchen like destination on the web.  They include a great prep table section with a large selection of many refrigerated food prep tables.  They do a great job with the product line and product pages by including information about the refrigerated prep tables.

#5 eTundra.com - eTundra  is a veteran in the foodservice supply industry. The original business model was parts, which evolved to tens of thousands of products including commercial refrigeration, furniture, and more. They include a very intimate blog that can help you get to know their staff

#6 Eliterestaurantequipment.com -Elite Restaurant Equipment is amongst the newer websites to make it on this list of restaurant equipment retailers. Starting business as a food service manufacturing growing to online retail they have succeeded in building an online marketplace that symbolizes honesty, knowledge, and relationships. Their website is user friendly and social with information about various product lines including sandwich prep tables and subway sandwich prep tables. 

 

 

Author Entry: Reid Grant edited & resubmitted by: Marcel Bluvstein

 

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