Guide to Buying Stainless Steel Work Tables

Guide to Buying Stainless Steel Work Tables

It's just a work table, right? Sure, but there are several factors to consider when buying stainless steel tables.

How much use will the table get?
The usage will help to determine the gauge of steel to purchase. Standard options are 14, 16 and 18 gauge with 14 being the thickest and 18 being the thinnest. Of course, 14 gauge is the most expensive as well. If you're planning to dump heavy items on it consistently, 14 gauge is probably the way to go. If you'll only be doing light prep, 18 gauge might make more sense. 

Will you need an undershelf?
Tables come standard with either an undershelf or rear cross braces for support. If you plan to store boxes or other materials underneath the table, you would obviously choose an undershelf. If you plan to put other equipment or trash, rear cross braces might be best. Think about your particular application and what makes sense in that space. 

How long do you want the table to last?
This is where the type of stainless steel comes into play and there are two main options. 304 stainless steel is a higher quality and contains approximately 18% chromium and 0.08% carbon. 430 stainless steel is lower quality, generally more difficult to bend and has approximately 17% chromium and 0.12% carbon. The amount of chromium affects how corrosion-resistant the steel is, which is why 304 is more durable since it has a higher percentage. A quick and easy way to test what stainless steel you have is to use a magnet. 304 stainless is not magnetic while a magnet will stick to 430 stainless.

Do you need any modifications or upgrades?
Stainless steel tables are extremely versatile in their potential configurations. Vendors like Advance Tabco offer standard modifications include a backsplash, drop-in sink, single or double overshelves, casters, stainless steel legs or undershelf versus galvanized and drawers. All are available and all have cost-implications of course but can also save significant labor costs during prep and service. 

The best, and most expensive, stainless steel table you can get is 14 gauge, type 304 stainless steel since it is the thickest and most resistant to corrosion. On the flip side, 18 gauge, type 430 stainless steel, is the least expensive but most susceptible to dents and corrosion. Next time you're in the market for new table, think about what will work best for your operation and know the possibilities are endless. 

The Importance of Bar Layout and Design

The Importance of Bar Layout and Design

In short, a well designed bar WILL pay for itself. As you consider your new bar, think of the lifetime cost of the bar and it's ability to produce revenue and not just the upfront costs. 

It would be easy to simply accept a project, build it to exact customer specifications and ship it out. We work with companies like Krowne to take it a step further and understand why our customers are designing it a certain way. Do you want your bartenders to use multiple workstations? How many bartenders will be working concurrently? Will your bar have wine, spirits and beer? These are all very important questions because they directly correlate to our layout decisions. After various field studies we have determined that our efficient layouts not only increase profits and efficiency at a bar, but also boost bartender morale as they have a defined work space used to prepare drinks.

When designing your new bar, here are a few things to consider...

  1. Communicate with your bartenders before ordering equipment and ask what they are looking for. We sometimes come across restaurant owners who have a vision of how something should function without consulting with their bartenders and it creates issues down the road. If your bartenders haven't been hired yet, go to a similar type of restaurant/bar and ask those bartenders' opinions on how they would like it designed. The more information we can get from you, the better we can tailor the design to fit your needs. 
     
  2. What will your drink menu look like - cocktails, house white wine, draft beer? This is crucial to know before designing your bar. For example, if a bar is going to serve a large volume of house white wine, an ice bin with wine dividers is highly recommended so the bartender can remain facing customers while pouring glasses. In a traditional layout, wine is stored in backbar refrigerators requiring the bartender to turn around and grab the wine from the refrigerator for every glass. This reduces bartender interaction with customers and creates inefficiencies that can reduce daily profit. 
     
  3. Eliminate gaps if it's in your budget. The most efficient bars utilize every square inch of space to incorporate equipment or storage space. Filler spaces allow more room for trash to accumulate and get in the way of a bartenders work flow. This also goes for modular bar die vs equipment on legs. While equipment on legs is less expensive, modular bar die has stainless that goes directly to the floor which hides of the drains and plumbing. Not only does your bar look sleeker, it is also much easier to maintain. Bartenders can simply mop or sweep the floor at the end of the night without having to get on the ground to pull things out from between the equipment legs and drains. It also significantly decreases install time as modular bars are shipped in up to 7’ sections pre-attached to the bar die wall.

A Crash Course in Picking Plates

Here we offer a crash course on selecting china for your restaurant. This article also appears on BostonChefs.com. 

Too Easy to Get Information?

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Too Easy to Get Information?

James Beard Award winning chef Jamie Bissonnette shares his thoughts on young chefs and whether or not having access to all the information out there is a good or bad. 

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