Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

AUG 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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42 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • AUGUST 2018 functional by design about the possibility of designing a produce prep station directly inside of a walk-in cooler as part of a new facility buildout, notes Mike Browne, senior project manager at Webb Foodservice Design. "They wanted to be able to store the produce in the same room where it's being processed, much like many meat- cutting operations do," he says. Cost and issues related to sanitation and employee comfort, as well as logis- tics of incorporating water and power sources into the walk-in, prevented the idea from coming to fruition. But Browne predicts interest in such dual-purpose rooms could grow in the future. And the Webb design team was able to develop a workable Plan B for this particular client. "We ended up taking the same space that would have served as the combined cold box and prep room and cut it in half," Browne says. "One half will be a dedicated walk-in cooler for produce, and the other half, just outside that walk-in, is a prep room that will be cooled through the HVAC system and kept at temperatures in the low 50s." Design for Efficiency, Ergonomics Beyond being in or near refrigeration, stations designated for produce prep must also be large enough to accommo- date efficient staging and processing of large volumes of bulky products. That includes washing. High-volume operations often tap automated, large-capacity fruit and vegetable washing, spinning and pro- cessing equipment to speed production and reduce labor. In contrast, a typical kitchen requires an area with core components that include a large stainless steel prep table, sinks, enough space to stock necessary supplies and equip- ment, waste containers for trimmings and easy access to outlets for powering processing equipment. "We designate as much real estate as possible in a given kitchen because vegetable prep requires a lot of space," Wair notes. "If possible, we like at least a 10- or 12-foot prep table with a knife rack in it or on the wall above it. And we'll often include brackets or run- ners in the table that can hold 24-inch cutting boards which, like the knives, should be color-coded and only used for produce. You don't want employ- ees having to go all over the kitchen trying to find the tools they need. We always try to include two sink bowls at the station — ideally, 24 by 24 inches and 14 inches deep with a drain board. You need a large volume of water to properly clean produce and allow the dirt to fall away. Whenever we can, we also include a prerinse faucet, like those used in dish stations, which gives you the opportunity to rinse the products properly before getting to the actual washing and cutting processes." In stations designed for produce prep, Wair also recommends forego- ing a garbage disposal in the sink in favor of trash containers for collecting trimmings. "A disposer makes a sink useless as a wash sink," he notes. "If you're using it as a disposer, you can't fill it with water and float your produce for cleaning. And a lot of operators also now prefer to collect and somehow re- cycle food waste and trimmings as part of their sustainability programs." It's also helpful to incorporate ergonomics at the front end of produce prep station design. "Coming right out of the cooler, I like to have a 24-inch or so area of the prep table that's lower than the rest," says Wair. "It serves as a staging area for produce boxes or large bags and makes it easier and more com- fortable for employees to repeatedly reach in and access product. If you can't build it right into the station, a lower cart that can be rolled up to the table can substitute." Following produce prep, at the far end of the station, Wair recommends transferring product into deep, see- through polycarbonate storage contain- ers with perforated bottoms that allow any excess water to drain off. Addition- ally, he suggests storing those contain- ers on speed racks in the cooler. Doing so clearly separates prepped produce from unprepped produce. That makes 10 TOOLS FOR A WELL-ORGANIZED PRODUCE STATION 1. Single-use food-handling gloves 2. Sanitation buckets and supplies 3. Knife rack 4. Drawer or containers for smallwares (peelers, corers, etc.) 5. Cutting boards (color-coded green) 6. Cutting board storage rack 7. Salad spinner(s) 8. Food processor(s) 9. Stackable polycarbonate storage containers 10. Labeling supplies

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