Your Complete Guide on What to Look for in a Salad Prep Table

What to Look for in a Salad Prep Table: A Guide for Choosing the Best Salad/Sandwich Prep Table for a Commercial Kitchen

Posted by | 13-09-2023

When setting up a commercial kitchen, one of the essential pieces of equipment is a salad prep table. This item is designed to keep ingredients cool and at your fingertips while providing ample space for assembling fresh salads, sandwiches, and other cold dishes. However, with various models and features available in the market, making the right choice can take time and effort. This guide aims to streamline that process.

Salad items inside a refrigerated prep table

What to Look for in a Salad/Sandwich Prep Table for a Commercial Kitchen?

In a bustling commercial kitchen, efficiency and convenience are everything. As chefs and kitchen staff navigate the culinary demands maze, equipment must keep up and anticipate needs. This holds especially true for salad/sandwich prep tables, where the action happens fast, and every moment counts. How do you ensure you get the best prep table if you want to set up or upgrade your kitchen? Here’s a detailed guide.

Prep Space

The workspace of a salad/sandwich prep table is its heart. Here, chefs come up with culinary masterpieces, mixing and matching ingredients. The size and layout of the prep space determine the efficiency of your operations. A cramped space will not only slow down the process but can also result in mix-ups or contamination. 

It's essential to consider the average volume of salads or sandwiches you'll be producing daily. If multiple chefs use the table simultaneously, ensure they can comfortably share the workspace. Moreover, the material of the workspace is equally vital. Stainless steel is often the go-to choice due to its durability and ease of cleaning. It also presents a hygienic surface, which is paramount in food preparation.


Beneath the workspace, the base of the prep table serves as the primary storage area for ingredients and, sometimes, equipment. The base's design can significantly impact kitchen efficiency. It should allow for easy access to ingredients, ensuring that chefs don’t have to move around much, saving valuable time during peak hours. 

An ergonomic base design can reduce fatigue, especially during long hours. Given that the base is often refrigerated, the insulation and sealing mechanism becomes critical. It's crucial that the base maintains the required temperature to ensure that ingredients remain fresh, especially if the kitchen experiences frequent opening and closing of the base compartments.

Pan Capacity

Pans are where the individual ingredients are stored, ready to be used. Their number, size, and arrangement can impact your kitchen’s output. Different kitchens will have varying needs when it comes to pan capacity. Some establishments may need a myriad of ingredients on hand due to a diverse menu, while others may have a more specialized offering requiring fewer pans. 

Ensure the table's pan capacity aligns with your menu's complexity and the volume of ingredients you'd typically use within a day. Arrangement matters, too. Pans should be organized to make the most frequently used ingredients easily accessible. It also helps if the table design permits some flexibility in the arrangement, accommodating the evolving needs of a dynamic kitchen.

Refrigeration Methods

Keeping ingredients at an optimal temperature is crucial for freshness and food safety. Forced Air Cooling circulates cold air throughout the unit, ensuring a uniform temperature. This method is effective, especially in larger units, where even cooling is essential. However, a potential downside is that the constant circulation can sometimes dry out certain ingredients.

On the other hand, Cold-Wall Cooling relies on the unit's walls getting cold. This method provides cooling without a fan, which can be quieter and maintain a higher moisture level, preventing ingredients from drying out. But, one might encounter slightly uneven temperatures across the unit.

Air Intake

A proper air intake mechanism is indispensable for the refrigeration system to work efficiently. Air intake plays a vital role in ensuring that the compressor and other refrigeration components get the necessary airflow to function optimally. A blockage or a poorly designed intake can lead to overheating and reduced efficiency.

When choosing a prep table, ensure the air intake is strategically positioned. It should not be easily blocked, especially if the table will be placed close to walls or other equipment. Regular maintenance and cleaning of the intake area will also ensure it remains obstruction-free.

Drawers, Doors, or Both?

How you access the ingredients in the base can affect speed, convenience, and energy efficiency. Drawers offer organized storage, allowing for individual ingredients to be easily segregated. They efficiently ensure that only a small portion of the refrigerated base is exposed to ambient temperatures. This can lead to better energy efficiency and extended freshness of ingredients.

Doors, however, offer a broader view of all ingredients at a glance and provide more overall space, especially for larger items. Some kitchens prefer a combination, using drawers for small ingredients and doors for bulkier items. Ultimately, the choice between drawers, doors, or both will depend on the specific needs of your kitchen, the volume of ingredients, and personal preferences regarding access and organization.

Top of a refrigerated prep table

Which Features Will Be Right for My Business?

Navigating the wide array of features in salad/sandwich prep tables can feel like a challenge, especially when balancing the needs of your business against budget constraints. Every commercial kitchen is unique, and understanding which features will bring the most value to your operations is crucial. Here's a closer look at some key features to consider when choosing.


Durability isn't just about getting your money's worth; it's about ensuring that your operations run smoothly day after day. A durable prep table of high-quality materials like stainless steel can withstand a busy kitchen's daily wear and tear. 

This guarantees a longer lifespan and means fewer interruptions due to breakdowns. When considering durability, consider the long-term impact: a durable table might initially cost more but will save on replacement costs and potential lost business due to equipment failure. A durable surface is often easier to clean and more resistant to stains, ensuring your kitchen maintains the highest hygiene standards.


While price is always a factor in business decisions, it's essential to see it in the context of value. Low upfront costs can be tempting, but evaluating the total cost of ownership is crucial. This includes factors like energy efficiency, maintenance costs, and potential lifespan. A cheaper table might cost more in the long run if it consumes more power or needs frequent repairs.

When budgeting for a prep table, it's also worth considering financing options or looking at reputable brands that offer guarantees. Remember, investing in a good prep table directly translates into the quality of service you offer your customers.


In a commercial kitchen, time is of the essence, and any downtime can be costly. Thus, ease of maintenance is a critical factor. Prep tables with simple designs and fewer intricate parts can be easier to maintain and clean. Removable parts, like pans or shelves that can be easily washed or replaced are advantageous.

Consider the availability of replacement parts and the manufacturer's reputation regarding after-sales service. A brand known for prompt and efficient service can save you countless headaches in the long run. Regular maintenance, like cleaning air intakes and checking refrigeration systems, can prevent more significant issues, so a design that makes these tasks straightforward is invaluable.


A user-friendly prep table can enhance productivity and ensure staff work comfortably and efficiently. Ease-of-use encompasses various features. Adjustable shelves, for instance, allow for flexibility depending on the ingredients or equipment you're storing. An intuitive temperature control system ensures the food is stored at the optimal temperature without constant monitoring.

The table layout, whether the positioning of drawers and doors or the arrangement of pans, can significantly affect workflow. A design that aligns with the natural flow of your kitchen operations will reduce the time taken to prepare dishes and serve customers.

Your Complete Guide on What to Look for in a Salad Prep Table

Product Reviews: Top Refrigerated Salad/Sandwich Prep Tables from Ancaster Food Equipment

When it comes to delivering perfectly chilled salads and sandwiches, the quality of your prep table can make all the difference. Ancaster Food Equipment, known for its premium kitchen solutions, offers some of the industry's finest refrigerated salad/sandwich prep tables. In this section, we'll dive deep into detailed reviews of their top products, ensuring you make an informed choice for your commercial kitchen needs. 

The True® TSSU-48-12-HC Salad/Sandwich Refrigerated Prep Table - A Game-Changer in Commercial Kitchen!

The True® TSSU-48-12-HC prep table stands out as a remarkable choice for commercial kitchens seeking efficiency and reliability.

Space and Design: The expansive 48" work surface offers ample space for preparation activities and optimizing workflow, especially during peak hours. The integrated 12-pan, refrigerated rail system ensures ingredients are readily available and preserved at their freshest and optimal temperatures.

Build and Durability: The table is constructed with stainless steel and promises aesthetic appeal and long-lasting durability. Such robust build quality ensures it can handle the demands of a bustling kitchen environment. Its user-friendly cleaning features underscore its suitability for maintaining top-notch kitchen hygiene.

Notable Features: A built-in cutting board enhances convenience, while the self-closing, stay-open door system ensures ease of access and streamlining the preparation process. Moreover, the patented forced-air design guarantees consistent and safe temperature levels for stored ingredients.

Energy Efficiency: The ENERGY STAR® certification on this unit signals its eco-friendliness and efficiency. This feature indicates the balance True® has achieved between operational efficiency and sustainable performance.

Manufacturer Trust: With its origins from True® Manufacturing Co., a brand renowned for quality in the commercial refrigeration domain, this prep table comes with an assurance of quality. The legacy of True®, stretching back to 1945 and its emphasis on sustainability, offers a significant vote of confidence.

Salad items ready for preparation

EFI CSDR2-48VC Prep Table – Efficiency and Elegance Combined

For those in the food service industry, efficiency, durability, and design often take precedence. The EFI CSDR2-48VC prep table seamlessly melds these attributes, offering a promising solution for commercial kitchens.

Space Utilization: One of the first aspects you'll notice is the expansive 48-inch work surface, complemented by an integrated cutting board. This feature ensures that food prep, whether chopping vegetables or crafting gourmet sandwiches, is a breeze. Additionally, the under-shelf provides handy storage space, ensuring that tools and supplies are always within arm's reach.

Durability & Efficiency: Stainless steel construction is designed to last, even in high-traffic kitchen environments. The cooling system is another noteworthy feature. Maintaining ingredient freshness and optimal temperatures is crucial in the restaurant business, and this table does the job impeccably.

Notable Features: Among its diverse features, the front breathing side mount compressor is efficient. The environmentally friendly R290 refrigerant and heavy-duty Embraco compressor underline the unit's commitment to sustainable operation. The self-closing and stay-open door, recessed handle, and safety door lock add functionality and safety. The magnetic door gaskets ensure a tight seal, while the pre-installed shelves and casters highlight its user-friendly design.

Aesthetics: Beyond functionality, the EFI CSDR2-48VC prep table showcases a modern design that can enhance any kitchen’s aesthetic appeal. Its sleek stainless steel exterior is both easy to clean and visually appealing.

Trust in the Manufacturer: EFI Sales Ltd's history of supplying top-tier kitchen equipment to Canadian businesses for over 58 years adds a layer of trust. With a record of delivering quality products at competitive prices, they've built a solid reputation in the industry.

A nicely cooked sandwich

True® TSSU-60-16-HC Prep Table - Where Function Meets Excellence

When considering the diverse needs of a commercial kitchen, the significance of a reliable and efficient prep table cannot be overlooked. Enter the True® TSSU-60-16-HC prep table, an epitome of design and efficiency tailored to the needs of any demanding chef.

Robust Design: The True® TSSU-60-16-HC boasts a stainless steel top, ensuring it is easy to clean and resistant to corrosion. Such design considerations are essential for high-volume commercial kitchens where durability and hygiene are paramount. Moreover, the refrigerated lower section of the table is a testament to its purpose: ensuring ingredients retain their freshness.

Ample Storage: Any chef will appreciate the generous storage space. With two doors revealing a large storage area, the 60” prep table ensures ample space for diverse ingredients, reducing the need for frequent restocking.

Intuitive Features: The True® TSSU-60-16-HC is packed with features to enhance usability:

  • A patented forced-air design maintains a consistent product temperature, which is crucial for ensuring ingredient quality.
  • The inclusion of an all-stainless steel front, top, and ends signifies durability, while the GalFan-coated steel back emphasizes corrosion resistance.
  • The removable foam-insulated lid and hood are functional and cater to the ease of cleaning.
  • The internal make, with its clear coated aluminum liner and a stainless steel floor, speaks to the product's quality.
  • A full-length removable cutting board, compliant with NSF standards, guarantees a sanitary preparation surface.

Eco-friendly & Efficient: Environmental responsibility and efficiency converge in the True® TSSU-60-16-HC. The utilization of R290 refrigerant demonstrates a commitment to sustainability. The table's refrigeration system and formidable compressor ensure the contents are quickly cooled to the desired temperature.

The Manufacturer's Reputation: True® Manufacturing Co. carries an illustrious legacy from 1945. Renowned for its commitment to quality and innovation, True® has cemented its place as a trusted partner in the food service industry. With a track record of producing reliable commercial refrigeration equipment and a focus on sustainability, as evidenced by many of their products earning Energy Star certification, their offerings inspire confidence.

Refrigerated salad for a comemrcial kitchen

EFI CSDR2-60VC Prep Table - A Prime Choice for Commercial Kitchens

The commercial kitchen realm demands equipment that stands out in functionality and durability. The EFI CSDR2-60VC prep table seems to check both these boxes effortlessly.

Sturdy and Practical Design: One of the first things to note about the EFI CSDR2-60VC prep table is its robust stainless steel construction. Such a design ensures that the table remains resistant to daily wear and tear, even in the most bustling kitchens. The 60-inch work surface, complemented by a built-in cutting board, ensures ample space for a variety of food preparation tasks, from slicing vegetables to assembling gourmet dishes.

Cooling and Storage Capabilities: Any kitchen professional will value the table's cooling system, designed to maintain the ideal temperature for ingredients. This becomes even more vital in establishments such as delis or restaurants where ingredient freshness directly correlates with customer satisfaction. The addition of a convenient undershelf provides a much-needed storage solution for tools and supplies.

Feature-Rich: The EFI CSDR2-60VC doesn't just stop at basic functionalities. Its features list reads like a chef's wish list:

  • A front-breathing, side-mount compressor ensures efficient cooling.
  • The use of the environmentally friendly R290 refrigerant is a nod to eco-conscious establishments.
  • The heavy-duty Embraco compressor is a testament to its longevity and reliability.
  • Safety features, including a standard safety door lock and magnetic door gaskets, ensure the safety of both the ingredients and the users.
  • Casters for easy movement and pre-installed shelves further enhance its usability.

Aesthetically Pleasing: Beyond its functionalities, the prep table's modern design ensures it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. Instead, it will integrate smoothly into any contemporary kitchen decor, elevating the aesthetic quotient of the space.

Manufacturer’s Trustworthiness: Backing the product is the reputation of EFI Sales Ltd, a name synonymous with quality in the realm of commercial kitchen equipment in Canada. With nearly six decades of experience, they've continually supplied businesses with top-notch kitchen equipment, establishing themselves as a reliable stakeholder in the industry.

A refrigerated sandwich prep table

EFI CSDW2-60VC Prep Table - Efficiency, Safety, and Functionality Rolled into One

The fast-paced nature of today's commercial kitchens necessitates equipment that delivers on performance and integrates seamlessly into the workflow. The EFI CSDW2-60VC prep table stands out in this aspect.

Versatility in Design: Recognizing the demands of high-volume kitchens, this prep table has two drawers dedicated to ingredient storage, allowing quick access and streamlined operations. The inclusion of a door adds to the storage options, showcasing a design meant to cater to diverse kitchen needs. The 60-inch work surface, enhanced with a built-in cutting board, guarantees ample space for a range of food prep tasks.

Sturdiness and Longevity: Stainless steel isn't just about aesthetics. In a setting as challenging as a commercial kitchen, durability is paramount, and the EFI CSDW2-60VC, with its stainless steel construction, ensures just that.

Keeping it Cool: Its refrigeration system is at the heart of any prep table. The table promises consistent and optimal temperatures for ingredients, ensuring they remain fresh and safe. Such a feature becomes indispensable in establishments where the dish's quality hinges on its components' freshness.

Feature Highlights:

  • The side-mount, front-breathing compressor is a nod to efficient cooling.
  • Eco-conscious establishments will appreciate the use of environment-friendly R290 refrigerants.
  • An efficient refrigeration system, complemented by the heavy-duty Embraco compressor, assures reliability.
  • Safety isn't overlooked, with features like the standard safety door lock and magnetic door gaskets.
  • The addition of casters ensures the table can be moved easily, allowing for flexibility in kitchen setups.

Aesthetics and Functionality: The prep table's design is contemporary, ensuring it integrates well with modern kitchen décors. But beyond looks, it's the functionality that shines. Ensuring food safety, reducing waste, and enhancing kitchen efficiency are just some of its many benefits.

In the Realm of Food Safety: One can't emphasize enough the significance of food safety in commercial establishments. Ensuring ingredients are stored at the right temperatures guarantees the safety of dishes and extends the freshness of ingredients. Moreover, by having everything within arm's reach, kitchen operations become swiffer, reducing order processing times and enhancing efficiency.

The Manufacturer’s Promise: Behind this product is the expertise of EFI Sales Ltd, a name that has consistently served Canadian businesses for over 58 years. Their reputation in supplying high-quality kitchen equipment at budget-friendly prices speaks volumes about their commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.

Salad making on a prep table

True® TSSU-72-18-HC Prep Table - The Culinary Professional's Choice

In a bustling commercial kitchen, a chef's last desire is to hunt for ingredients constantly. Enter the True® TSSU-72-18-HC prep table – a culmination of ergonomic design, refrigeration expertise, and culinary convenience.

Extended Storage Space: Standing out with a whopping 72” length, this prep table boasts three doors, each leading to generous storage. Whether it's a gamut of veggies, a variety of meats, or those secret sauce ingredients, there's room for everything, making it an asset, especially for high-demand kitchens.

Functionality and Design: Stainless steel is the favored choice in commercial kitchens due to its longevity and easy-to-clean nature, and this prep table, with its stainless steel top, encapsulates that principle. The refrigerated lower section is a testament to True’s commitment to quality – ensuring ingredients stay fresh and at the optimal temperature.

Key Features:

  • Its patented forced-air design guarantees consistent temperatures, ranging from 33°F to 41°F, both in the food pans and the cabinet interior.
  • With its GalFan-coated steel back and all stainless steel front and ends, durability isn't just a promise; it's a given.
  • An NSF-approved, clear-coated aluminum liner on the inside and a full-length removable cutting board ensure food safety standards are met and exceeded.
  • Using R290 refrigerant showcases the brand's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint without compromising efficiency.
  • This prep table doesn't just cool; it cools efficiently and quickly, thanks to its powerful compressor. This is invaluable in a kitchen where time is of the essence.

Manufacturer’s Assurance: True® Manufacturing Co is not new to the game. With a legacy spanning since 1945, they have proven their mettle in commercial refrigeration. Their consistent focus on innovation, customer service, and sustainable practices has cemented their reputation. Having facilities across the globe is a testament to their international standards and commitment to quality.

EFI CSDR3-72VC Prep Table - The Perfect Companion for Busy Kitchens

When speed and efficiency are paramount in a commercial kitchen setting, the right equipment can make or break the workflow. EFI's CSDR3-72VC prep table is more than just a piece of equipment; it's a chef's reliable partner.

Optimal Storage and Space: This prep table is tailored for high-demand kitchens with three solid doors offering refrigerated storage. The 72-inch work surface, coupled with a built-in cutting board, means there’s enough space for multiple chefs to work in tandem, boosting kitchen productivity.

Durability and Design: The commercial-grade stainless steel ensures longevity and ease of cleaning. Its modern aesthetic ensures that while it’s a workhorse, it doesn't skip out on looks, blending seamlessly with any kitchen décor.

Efficient Ingredient Access: The double ingredient rail covers are a game-changer. Allowing chefs to access only the ingredients they need while keeping others covered offers a twofold advantage: efficient workflow and energy conservation.

Key Features:

  • A side-mount compressor and an efficient refrigeration system guarantee consistently cold temperatures, ensuring ingredients stay fresh.
  • Every feature screams user-friendliness and safety, from self-closing stay-open doors to recessed handles and safety door locks.
  • The use of the R290 refrigerant underscores EFI's commitment to the environment.
  • With casters for easy movement and pre-installed shelves, reorganizing the kitchen setup or cleaning becomes hassle-free.

Food Safety and Efficiency: The primary role of a prep table isn't just storage; it's also ensuring food safety. The EFI CSDR3-72VC excels in this regard, ensuring that perishable ingredients remain at safe temperatures. This not only guarantees the freshness of the dishes but also means a significant reduction in food waste. Additionally, by centralizing food prep to one location, the prep table ensures chefs can work efficiently, reducing customer wait times and potential errors.

Manufacturer Trustworthiness: With nearly six decades in the industry, EFI Sales Ltd is not a novice. Their wide range of quality products at affordable prices has made them a favorite among Canadian businesses. Their legacy speaks volumes about their commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.

EFI CSDR1-27VC Prep Table - The Compact Solution for Efficient Food Prep

Choosing the right kitchen equipment is essential for any establishment's success. The EFI CSDR1-27VC prep table, tailored for spaces that require a smaller refrigerated prep area, stands out as a quintessential addition to any kitchen with limited space but no compromise on quality and efficiency.

Compact yet Efficient: Despite its smaller 27-inch workspace, this prep table ensures that every inch is used effectively. It accommodates up to 8 ingredient pans and includes a built-in cutting board, providing a comprehensive solution for preparing a variety of dishes.

Flexible Configuration: The option for a left-hinge or right-hinge door configuration means the table can be adapted to different kitchen layouts, ensuring easy access regardless of space constraints.

Sturdy and Reliable: Crafted from commercial-grade stainless steel, this table promises durability even in the most hectic kitchen environments. Its advanced cooling system keeps ingredients at optimal temperatures, ensuring their freshness.

Key Features:

  • The side-mount compressor ensures effective cooling, while the R290 refrigerant emphasizes environmental responsibility.
  • Self-closing and stay-open door features, a recessed handle, and a standard safety door lock enhance user safety and convenience.
  • The inclusion of casters and pre-installed shelves offers easy repositioning and efficient storage solutions.
  • Beyond its utility, the EFI CSDR1-27VC boasts a modern design, ensuring it functions well and complements the aesthetics of any kitchen it's placed in.

Safety and Efficiency: One cannot stress enough the importance of food safety. This prep table guarantees the safe storage of perishable items, ensuring prevention against foodborne illnesses. With the easy access it provides to tools and ingredients, it greatly reduces prep time, ensuring faster order turnarounds and fewer errors.

Manufacturer’s Legacy: Backed by nearly six decades of experience, EFI Sales Ltd's commitment to quality is undeniable. Their extensive operations across Canada and a reputation for supplying top-notch equipment at competitive prices make them a trustworthy choice for kitchen solutions.

Final Words

Choosing the right salad prep table for your commercial kitchen is critical. Whether you prioritize space, refrigeration type, or ease of use, ensure that the chosen model aligns with your business's needs. Doing so can enhance efficiency, maintain food safety, and ensure that your customers always receive the freshest salads and sandwiches. With the added advantage of Ancaster Food Equipment's expertise, you're on the path to making the best choice for your culinary aspirations.

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