Service Tips: Refrigerated Prep Tables

From sandwiches to burritos to pizzas to salads, refrigerated prep tables play an important role in professional kitchens of every sort.

Properly using, and not abusing, this equipment can help extend its operational life and reduce service issues.

  • One of biggest mistakes operators make with refrigerated prep tables is overloading the undercounter storage area. Holding too much food in this space can cause the unit to fight for air to cool. On a related note, make sure to leave clearance around fans and vents. A blocked vent can cause a unit to overwork, destroying vital components.
  • Too much food in storage isn't the only way a refrigerated prep table can get overworked. Operators should train their staff not to leave the unit's doors open too long. With two to three people working at a table at once, its far too easy for a door or two to be left open. In this case, a unit's operational life could get cut short and the unit will struggle to maintain safe holding temperatures.
  • Speaking of doors, door abuse is a big problem for refrigerated tables. Staff often kick or slam doors shut, or open them with tongs or spatulas. These actions can easily damage hinges or gaskets, which will then need to be replaced.
  • Keep an eye on the pans that hold ingredients at the tabletop. Severely dented or warped pans could disrupt the airflow of a unit. Similarly, some operators will try to double- or triple-stack these pans. Refrigerated prep tables simply aren't made to keep food stored in this manner at safe temperature. In such a case, both the unit and the food will fall short.
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