Ignacio Goris, principal at Miami-based labor management solutions firm Labor Guru, says slicing takes time, but cleanup takes longer.

“From a labor perspective, foodservice operators need to be by the machine when it’s operating,” Goris says. “The majority use slicers more for batch production rather than slicing to order.”

Higher-volume production requires longer slicing cycles and may be best served with manual units. “It’s all about function and what the unit will be used for,” says Goris. “For example, whether the operation offers full or limited service and the type of products being prepared.”

Foodservice operations don’t typically have multiple slicers unless slicing to order, which is not very common. Delis and other similar types of restaurants can take advantage of portioning capabilities with linking to scales. “Some slicers have integrated heating elements, like a heat lamp, to keep product hot,” says Goris.

Automatic slicers are best for big batches that require between 5 and 15 minutes of continuous slicing. “From a workstation perspective, this is not a piece of equipment that will be moving around, so operators may want to consider a movable cart for slicers that need to be in different areas throughout the day, or units can permanently be placed on a table,” says Goris. “It’s best to build a workstation around the slicer.”

It’s also important to think about other equipment that should be nearby, such as a cooler with ingredients, for efficiency’s sake. “Safety is another factor, as slicers are a dangerous piece of equipment,” says Goris. “Depending on the skill of the staff, it may be necessary to utilize a cutting glove to minimize risk of injury.”