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.
Read more on equipping deli stations
Other items typically available include a wide variety of toppings (lettuce, tomato, pickles, black olives, a variety of raw and pickled peppers, onions, etc.), sliced cheeses (American, muenster, pepper jack, Swiss, Colby) and sauces (mayonnaise and its vegetarian equivalents), a variety of mustards, oil and vinegar and dressings (ranch, Thousand Island, etc.). The type of and number of ingredients offered should be determined in advance as this will affect the size of the required prep station.
Some delis also offer sides like chips, cold salads and/or soup (either self-serve or served). Space must be allocated and the appropriate equipment specified for such options.
Equipping a deli station
Refrigerated sandwich prep units typically come in one-, two- or three-section lengths with integral cold pan sections. These display ingredients and are used for the assembly of sandwiches. The top openings range from a quantity of eight to thirty, 1/6 size pans. Under-counter refrigeration compartments can be specified with doors or drawers to provide additional storage so ingredients can be replenished as needed. Specify casters on these units for easy removal and cleaning.
A refrigerated display case with self-service as well as attended service sections lets operators display pre-made sandwiches. These are typically located at the beginning of station where guests can select items without having to wait in line. Pay close attention to such merchandising options as they will have a great impact on projecting a fresh image for the station.
There are several ways to heat up or toast a sandwich. A microwave convection oven is a great tool for pre-marked panini sandwiches. These ovens combine impinged air and radiant heat with microwave energy to rapidly cook or heat food without compromising quality. An integral catalytic converter allows for UL-certified, ventless operation and is an attractive option for operators with limited exhaust facilities.
Conveyor toasters are another popular option. Specify a model that also can accommodate larger breads, like bagels.
A hot well may be included for hot items like meatballs, Buffalo chicken etc. Various sizes can be dropped into the service counter and integrate with the sandwich assembly process. Heated under-counter cabinets are also important for replenishing hot sandwich ingredients.
Nice-to-have-but-not-essential equipment might include a carving station, a grill and a fryer.
Most of this equipment is electric and "plug and play." Refrigerated prep tables are typically designed to slide into a lined opening of a millwork counter with the top of the unit flush with the height of the counter top. Protector cases in front of the prep tables are required by code. Exhaust ventilators for cooking equipment such as a grill or a fryer are required.
Deli stations offer familiar menu items, but yours will vary depending on the demographic mix of customers and the region. Research customer preferences in advance of design work. For example, a high number of vegetarian/vegan customers may call for a wide selection of hummus, portobello mushrooms, tofu and other soy-based products.
The cost to add a fully equipped deli station will be about $85,000, a good investment considering the wide range of menu choices such a station can generate.
Tanzer Tok is Assistant Design Director of Design and Operations for Porter Khouw Consulting, Inc. a foodservice planning and design consulting firm based in Crofton, Maryland.