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How Flexible Equipment Can Increase Kitchen Efficiency

Optional vision panel lids  on Continental prep tables  help operators see ingredients without needing to open.Optional vision panel lids on Continental prep tables help operators see ingredients without needing to open.Q&A with Elizabeth Grant, marketing coordinator, Continental Refrigerator

How important is flexibility in today’s foodservice environment?

Elizabeth Grant: In the past few years, we’ve seen massive challenges within the foodservice industry involving staff shortages, supply shortages, and mandated closures that had (and continue to have) huge effects on profit margins. Having a “flexible” foodservice operation helps your business withstand and adapt to those types of challenges. 

How can flexible equipment help operators who are challenged for space?

EG: Commercial kitchens, in general, are getting smaller. Flexible equipment has the ability to maximize a kitchen and allow for the best use of limited space. Space-saving features, such as refrigerated sections above the condensing units on our pizza preps and base models, allow smaller units to have the food storage capacity of a larger unit. Various widths and/or depths within a product line can also help bring refrigerated food storage to even tighter spaces. For example, our new shallow-depth base models have an overall depth about 6” smaller than our standard base models.

Can flexible equipment help operators keep food safe?

EG: Absolutely. For instance, optional vision panel lids allow operators to see their ingredient quantities without opening the lid, so they’re able to replenish ingredients quicker and more efficiently. Choosing drawer models instead of door models can also help the operator prevent food waste, because drawers keep ingredients visually organized. This means food is less likely to be shoved into the back of the refrigerator and forgotten.

How do Continental refrigerated prep tables help operators prep pizza, sandwiches and other foods more efficiently?

EG: Continental prep tables are built with the operator in mind. Standard features, such as door/drawer combinations, allow our prep tables to fit into any kitchen workflow. Doors can also be converted to drawers (and vice versa) after purchase and in the field, so owners can save time and money by not having to replace the entire unit. Additionally, the refrigerated section above the condensing unit on a Continental base model or pizza prep table is available with a drawer instead of a door. This drawer can be used to “elongate” the pan top openings so, instead of wasting time running back to the walk-in to get more ingredients for orders, the ingredients are already there within arm’s reach.

What other flexible options does Continental offer on prep tables?

EG: In addition to the flexible options mentioned, our units with rear-mounted or side-mounted refrigeration systems can be ordered or field installed to be front breathing. Front breathing allows the unit to be flush against the wall, while air intakes and exhausts from the front. We also allow the side-mounted refrigeration on our pizza prep tables and base models to be switched from the right side of the unit to the left, which allows the refrigeration to stay away from hot equipment that could potentially shorten the unit’s lifespan. Every standard feature and flexible option mentioned is meant to make operators’ jobs easier, while ensuring business owners get the best return for their investment. All foodservice operations are unique, and at Continental we believe their equipment should be, too.