When choosing a work/prep table, it is vital to understand the material you will work with. Depending on the activity, when carefully selected, the right worktable will make your investment worthwhile. It can be daunting when facing the decision of choosing a prep/work table, so some considerations to have in mind are:
- Budget: Certain materials are more prone to damage and may require specific upkeep. Keep this in mind when budgeting your kitchen; it might make sense to choose a durable yet low-cost counter to avoid excessive maintenance.
- Porous vs. non-porous: Some materials are more likely to absorb bacteria if not cared for properly. When outfitting commercial kitchens, it is a good idea to stay away from porous materials so that you maintain compliance with health and food safety guidelines.
- Maintenance: It is necessary to know how to care for and what the maintenance requirement is for specific materials. The commercial kitchen would benefit from a low-maintenance material to not interrupt the flow of the kitchen.
- Durability: Commercial grade work tables need to withstand the demands of the kitchen. It is crucial to choose a durable table for high temperatures, corrosion, bulky equipment, sharp objects, and staff milling around.
QUICK OVERVIEW OF POPULAR COUNTERTOP MATERIALS
- Pro: heat resistant and strong
- Con: very heavy, high maintenance, hard to adjust when installed
- Pro: heat and moisture resistant, and easy to clean
- Con: edges tend to be rough, high maintenance, not durable against cracks and chips
- Pro: resistant to heat
- Con: porous, expensive, soft, high maintenance
- Pro: durable and non-porous, crack resistant, easy to clean
- Con: costly, heavy, not heat resistant
- Pro: easy to clean, lightweight
- Con: prone to scratching, burns, and stains, tends to peel and wear, hard to repair.
- Pros: remains cool to the touch
- Cons: high maintenance, susceptible to chips, scratches, and cracks
- Pros: heat and stain resistant
- Cons: heavy, requires frequent maintenance, and prone to stains
- Butcher’s block
- Pros: cost-efficient
- Cons: requires constant maintenance, swells, and contracts due to moisture, prone to scratching
- Stainless steel
- Pros: stain and heat resistant, easily sanitized
- Cons: can smudge easily, can be prone to scratches
Stainless steel is a commercial kitchen's dream.
- It is non-porous and does not absorb bacteria from preparing meat, fish, and vegetables.
- It is resistant to stains and dents.
- Holds up against corrosion and complex sanitary chemicals
- Low maintenance
- Easy to clean and sanitize
- Heat resistant
- Easy to assemble
Stainless steel allows for your kitchen staff to focus on one thing: the food. It is effortless to clean and durable to handle BOH (back of house) madness. Stainless steel takes away concerns of food safety violations, promotes kitchen flow efficiency, and gets the food to the window as fast as possible. This material is a great choice and an excellent investment for your kitchen.
NOT ALL STAINLESS STEEL IS CONSIDERED EQUAL
It isn't enough to just purchase a stainless steel table. There are different grades that you need to be aware of. When shopping for commercial grade tables, you will see two descriptive numbers called gauge and type (or series).
GAUGE AND TYPE
Commercial-grade 18-gauge stainless steel work/prep tables are perfect when outfitting your kitchen while not breaking the bank for use in commercial kitchens. 18 gauge stainless steel is lighter than the other types and is great for prep and workstation needs.
Types of stainless steel refer to the makeup of stainless steel. Out of the different kinds of stainless steel, the top choice for economic and durable commercial-grade work/prep tables is Type 430. This stainless steel contains chromium and iron, allowing it to resist corrosion while not having a high price tag. This type of table is ideal for prepping, preparing, creating, and plating your meals.
WHERE TO GO?
A great place to start is Gridmann. Their prep/work tables are all NSF certified and constructed with durable 18 gauge, 430 stainless steel at an affordable price. All their tables come with an adjustable undershelf, and you can choose packages that come with caster wheels and/or include a backsplash. The best part is free shipping on all their orders, no minimum, and a free 30-day return if you don't like their products.