What is in this article?:
- Designing a new deli
- Read more on equipping deli stations
Deli stations are some of the most popular options in onsite serveries. Here are steps you can take to make sure yours is equipped properly.
A deli station can provide options for many different types of customers: picky eaters who consider sandwiches a “safe” choice, vegetarians and vegans who are looking for a break from the pasta or salad bar and others who may fancy themselves sandwich creators!
A deli station allows operators to offer a fresh, made-to-order station with a wide variety of ingredients that can be combined in infinite ways. It is also one that can be staffed with workers with minimal culinary skills (i.e. students) and kept open for nearly all day parts, including late night.
Whether it’s a basic set up similar to Subway or a more elaborate one—like a New York-style operation—customers from college students to busy executives gravitate to this concept when other options may not be appealing or when they have a hankering for a made-to-order sandwich.
When it comes to designing and specifying equipment for one, consider these questions:
• How will sandwiches will be prepared and assembled?
• What speed of service/volume production will be needed?
• What percentage of sales will be pre-made versus made-to-order sandwiches and what types of merchandising will be needed to maintain that ratio?
It’s also important to consider where a deli station will be located in a servery. For example, if located next to a bakery station, the breads used in the deli could be baked off there, creating that irresistible aroma of just-baked bread. (Subway and Jimmy John’s have mastered this technique). The deli station could be co-located adjacent to a grill area where hot specialty sandwich ingredients such as roast beef, turkey, etc. could be prepared and readily available. Another advantage of co-locating a deli adjacent to a compatible station is the ability to share labor during off-peak periods.
It is crucial to define your deli station concept before selecting and laying out the equipment. If grab-and-go sandwiches will be a main offering, an attractive refrigerated display case should be specified and designed into the station space. It’s also important to build flexibility into any station so that different menu items and/or concepts can be added easily at a later date without significant cost investment.
A sandwich starts with the choice of bread, usually displayed in a case, on bread shelves or on counter top space in nice baskets. Customers generally like to have a variety of familiar and specialty breads to choose from: white and wheat along with rye, sourdough, pumpernickel, pitas and more. Rolls such as subs, bagels, baguettes and ciabatta and focaccia are often offered, with plain and flavored wraps rounding out these selections.
For meats, the typical deli station offers favorites such as ham, turkey, roast beef, pastrami, bologna and other cold cuts along with protein salads such as chicken, tuna, seafood, etc. Some operators prefer to order their deli meats pre-sliced while others like to enhance the perception of freshness by slicing meats on site at the deli station. When that is the goal, some operators also display "take home" hams, roasts and similar items, as you would find in a grocery store.