Consultant Q&A with Gary Jacobs, CEO of Jacobs | Doland | Beer, New York
FE&S: Describe a few key considerations to weigh when choosing a sandwich prep table.
GJ: The first thing we ask is how many ingredients need to be held and the volume of product. Everything is sized by 1/6 pans. Operators also should consider other aspects of the station, including cutting boards and different counter options, depending on the application.
FE&S: Are there location considerations with these units?
GJ: We want operators to think about whether the prep table will also serve as a display unit in the front of the house. Units on display require the appropriate allowance to push the table up to a die wall and space for a sneeze guard. In this case, we’ll typically recommend an upgrade to a heavier gauge stainless steel.
FE&S: What steps can operators take to ensure temperature consistency?
GJ: Whenever possible, we specify an independent thermostat and sealed cold pans on cold rail prep tables, which offer better resistance from ambient temperatures.
FE&S: What do you recommend in terms of shelving with these units?
GJ: In our experience, overshelves tend to be unstable and shallow. We prefer custom overshelves, which are constructed of a heavier gauge of steel to be sturdier and more accommodating. We also look for flexible shelving configurations.
FE&S: What are common mistakes operators make when purchasing sandwich prep tables?
GJ: A common mistake is not anticipating the sandwich program’s needs. Operators need to map out the products for each container and think through the production process. The worst thing that can happen is not allotting enough space for ingredients.
FE&S: Are there storage options with these units?
GJ: Drawers are a good option for replenishing ingredients, but operators will lose a substantial amount of pan capacity with these configurations. We encourage operators to consider using raised rails as an alternative to preserve space.
FE&S: Are there features that help facilitate easier cleaning and maintenance?
GJ: We like to specify sandwich prep tables on casters for easy cleaning. Operators also should look for gaskets that can be easily replaced.