In today's busy world, customers expect you to produce quality food at the speed of the light. Ensuring you deliver to customer's expectations on both accounts is not an easy task. It requires efficient kitchen processes and ensuring ingredients are kept fresh and in close reach during food preparation. This is where a pizza prep fridge could be a life saviour! 

Pizza Prep Fridge – a Food Preparation Multi-Tasker

A food preparation multi-tasker, the pizza prep fridge performs three functions in one cabinet. The top refrigerated wells are designed to hold your gastronorm pans with ingredients, keeping them at arm's reach when you prepare food. The integrated cutting board provides ample space for you to work on. Then, the under counter refrigerated storage area is ideal for keeping dough ball trays, top-up pans or other kitchen staples handy, saving you trips to and from your cool room during service.

While the name 'pizza prep' implies one use, they are far more versatile and can be used to prepare various foods in a commercial kitchen, including sandwiches, salads, burritos, burgers, kebabs, and the list goes on!

As you can see, the ways that a prep bench could be used in your kitchen are extremely vast and the product options in the market are almost as abundant. So how do you go about selecting the unit that is right for you and what features should you keep in mind?

Like a good pizza, a pizza prep is only as good as the ingredients that go into making it.

Ingredients for a Perfect Pizza Prep

 3 door pizza prep fridge Bromic

 

Number of Pans

Ask yourself how many different ingredients you would need on hand for the type of food you offer. As the various units can hold a different number of pans, deciding how many pans you'll need is a good starting point in choosing the pizza prep model.

Top Tip: Consider storage equipment you already have in your kitchen. For example, if you're using GN pans, you want to ensure the pizza prep unit is GN compatible. 

 

Physical Dimensions

When considering the size of the unit, you want to ensure it can physically fit in your kitchen. A good way to start is to check out the physical dimensions of the unit such as width, height and depth (WxHxD). In addition to that, you will need to allow extra space around your unit to accommodate for:

  • Ventilation For the best performance and maximum energy efficiency, you need to allow extra space on all sides of the unit for free air circulation. We recommend allowing at least 50mm. 


  • Access You also want to make sure you have enough space in front of your pizza prep counter to be able to open the doors to their full width. This will allow you to easily access the full depth of the under counter storage, should you need to quickly top up ingredients during service. 


  • Installation Pizza preps can be big units so to save yourself a headache upon delivery ensure doorways and tight turns can be navigated to get the unit into your kitchen. In some instances, it may be easier to fit in two smaller units rather than one large unit.

 

Refrigerated Storage Requirements

Another point to consider is the storage space underneath the prep table and how much of it you're going to need. Ideally, you'd want the unit's storage area to be large enough to hold the volume of top-up supplies sufficient to see you through the shift. This way, you maximise your staff's productive time and efficiency by saving on the trips to the cool room for top-ups. 

And while we are talking about all things storage, it is also worth checking out the door width of the under counter refrigerated storage. Make sure the doors are wide enough for you to easily put your storage containers in the unit (including those extra-wide dough ball trays!). Little things like this matter a ton, especially when it comes to busy hours.

Top Tip: The self-closing doors are a nice cherry on top when it comes to the under counter storage. It helps avoid wasted energy consumption and overheating the refrigeration compressor when the fridge door may be accidentally left open.

 

Workspace and Prep Area

Consider how much working space you need. While it is handy to have an extra-wide cutting board, you can certainly get away with a shallower one for a sandwich or salad making station. On the other hand, if you're in the pizza-making business, a deep prep area is a must. Think that family-sized pepperoni pizza you need to fit in! 

removable cutting board and insulated leads for easy cleaning

Food Safety First

 Food safety always comes first, as everyone in the food business knows. As stated in the Food Standards Australia New Zealand guidelines, foods such as cooked meats, pre-cut salads and fruits, foods containing eggs or dairy, and foods with any of the above as ingredients should be kept at 5°C or colder. 

 

Double Airflow

As your GN pans are open and exposed to the elements, it is vital that your pans are both cooled from below and above. Dual airflow ensures that food-safe temperatures are maintained throughout the entirety of your ingredients for extended periods of time.

 

Maximum Ambient Temperature

Also, it is essential to check the maximum ambient temperature of the unit to ensure it can maintain food-safe temperatures in high ambient environments. This is particularly important for kitchens with commercial pizza ovens where ambient temperature can easily get over 30°C.

Day to Day Operations

Day-to-Day Cleaning

Hygiene is of paramount importance for the hospitality business. Customers' health, your business's reputation and even its vitality are on the line when it comes to ensuring the areas where your food is being stored and prepared are clean and free of harmful bacteria. 

To maintain the excellent hygiene of your pizza prep, it will have to be thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis. So, before buying a unit, it's worth making sure this chore would be easy enough to handle without taking too much of your time. Some of the key points to consider: 

  •  Are the pans easy to remove?
  • Can the well under the pans be easily reached for cleaning?
  • Is the pan well separate from the storage meaning if food spills cleaning is simplified?
  • Can the work surface under the cutting board be easily accessed?
  • Is the work surface welded and have rounded corners to prevent food from trapping?

Maintenance

Regular maintenance of the pizza prep will ensure it serves you long and well. As mentioned earlier, all surfaces that come in contact with food need to be cleaned daily. In addition, it's a good idea to make a habit of dusting the refrigeration compressor of your unit at least once a week. This needs to be done to remove any fine food particles (e.g. flour, powdered sugar, egg or milk) that could've been pulled in with airflow during service and got stuck in the compressor. If not maintained, this could lead to the compressor gradually becoming less efficient and, eventually, breaking down.

 

Warranty

This brings us to another crucial part of your product research. In the unlikely event the pizza prep starts malfunctioning, you want to be sure the issue is addressed promptly and with minimal downtime for your business.  

Therefore, before committing to a purchase, it is a good idea to check:

  •  For the unit you consider buying, in case of malfunctioning, can it be checked by a technician and repaired onsite, or will it have to be transported elsewhere?
  • How does the manufacturer's warranty work? Does it cover a technician's visit? How quickly will a technician come to assist?
  • How can you submit a service request if needed and how soon you can expect a response? 

Conclusion

Buying the pizza prep is a sure way to streamline your kitchen operations, big time! This is why researching the right product for you and your business is an effort well worth investing in. We hope this guide was helpful and gave you some ideas of what to look for and things to consider before committing to purchasing the pizza prep unit. If you have any questions or would like to talk to an expert to help you select the right pizza prep for your business, please leave us an enquiry or call our customer support team at 1300 276 642.