What’s inside this buyer’s guide
- What is a pizza prep fridge?
- Sandwich/salad prep table vs. pizza prep table
- How to choose a pizza prep fridge?
- Pizza prep fridge sizes
- Pizza prep fridge refrigeration types
- Features to consider
- Other purchase considerations
- Best pizza prep fridges
- Frequently asked questions
- Pizza prep fridge glossary
- Keep your cash, use ours!
From New York's iconic Neapolitan-style to Chicago's deep-dish delights, America loves its pizzas.
However, serving pizzas that capture hearts with every cheesy bite on a commercial scale isn’t simple.
A solid pizza prep fridge is just the tool you need.
Helping pizzerias and restaurants streamline pizza preparation while boosting quality and output.
This pizza prep fridge buying guide will help you pick the pizza prep refrigerator that’s best for your business.
With clear and crisp information highlighting the necessary details of this essential equipment, from important features to the best brands, we have got it all covered for you.
What is a pizza prep fridge?
A pizza prep fridge is a dedicated refrigeration unit primarily used in pizzerias and restaurants specializing in pizza production.
Its design focuses on facilitating the swift and efficient assembly of pizza ingredients or other dishes like sandwiches, salads., etc.
A pizza prep fridge typically consists of three distinct sections, each serving a specific purpose to enhance the efficiency of pizza preparation.
The top rail section is devised with chilled containers for the toppings.
The middle section is for assembling your pizza and finally, the last one is an exclusive refrigerator section to store dough and other ingredients.
By providing a centralized and easily accessible location for these ingredients, the pizza prep fridge streamlines the preparation process, minimizes movement within the kitchen, and helps maintain the freshness and quality of the ingredients.
Sandwich/salad prep table vs. pizza prep table
A sandwich prep table and a pizza prep table are both types of refrigerated commercial equipment but they are designed with specific purposes in mind, in their features and layouts.
It all boils down to the size of their workspaces.
When you're putting together sandwiches or salads, you don't need as much room as you do for crafting those big pizzas.
That's why sandwich and salad prep tables come with a smaller table area compared to the larger workspace you get with pizza prep tables.
Now, let's talk about storage.
Sandwich prep tables usually support 1/6-size food pans – perfect for all those fixings.
On the flip side, pizza prep tables often sport a raised pan rail that's designed to handle 1/3-size food pans.
Just remember, the specifics might differ based on the brand and model you're looking at.
How to choose a pizza prep fridge?
Choosing the right pizza prep fridge involves considering various factors to ensure it aligns with your specific needs and operational requirements.
Here are some key things to consider when making an informed decision:
Measure your space
Before you commit to buying a commercial pizza prep fridge, take a good look at your kitchen's available space.
Remember, the fridge's size has a direct impact on its storage capacity as well as your kitchen's overall flow.
The next thing is to check on the availability of the power socket.
Most refrigerated pizza prep tables are plug-and-play, fitting into a standard electrical outlet with their 3-prong plug.
It's a smart move to steer clear of placing the pizza prep fridge near high-heat sources like ovens or stovetops to ensure its optimal performance.
Last but not least, think about any potential obstacles that could affect where you place the pizza prep fridge.
When it comes to your pizza prep fridge, take note that additional space might be necessary around the sides or rear, depending on its specific design.
The positioning of air inlets and exhausts dictates whether the fridge is front-breathing or side/rear-breathing.
Front-breathing units function effectively with minimal clearance on the sides or rear, whereas side/rear-breathing ones require more room for optimal performance.
Remember to factor in the clearance requirements when determining the appropriate size for your fridge.
Consider the Volume
Assess the daily food production in your kitchen.
Evaluate the types of pizzas you'll be making and the volume of business you expect.
Also keep in mind the customer inflow times, menu variety, and staff using the Pizza prep refrigerator simultaneously.
This will help you narrow down to the correct size and capacity required.
For example, if your kitchen experiences peak hours with multiple employees needing access, larger three or four-door pizza prep fridges could be the optimal choice.
Find out your storage needs
Consider the inventory you intend to stock. Will it encompass solely pizza dough and fresh toppings, or does it extend to meats and various other ingredients?
Understanding your inventory will guide your choice of the appropriate commercial pizza prep fridge.
Look for a unit that maintains the correct temperature range for your stored items.
Pizza prep fridges typically maintain a temperature range of 33°F to 41°F.
Certain high-end models come with adjustable controls, allowing you to easily tailor the temperature to suit the items you're storing.
Pizza prep fridge sizes
Pizza prep fridges offer a variety of sizes to accommodate the diverse requirements of food establishments.
In general, pizza preparation refrigerators fall within a size range from 36 to 48 inches in width, 24 to 36 inches in depth, and 78 inches in height.
This dimension gives ample storage space for an array of pizza components including dough, sauce, cheese, toppings, and already-made pizzas.
Factors such as the scale of the enterprise, the nature of the pizza establishment, and even the refrigerator's door count can be influenced by the unit's width.
While the number of doors goes from one to four depending purely on the requirement.
Single-door prep fridges: Generally, pizza prep fridges with a width of 48 inches or less are equipped with a single door.
Double door prep fridges: Models that measure around 60 to 72 inches in width usually come with two doors.
Triple-door prep fridges: Pizza preparation units that fall within the range of 93 to 114 inches in width typically come with three doors.
Four-door prep fridges: Pizza prep counter fridges that are 119 inches or more in width, typically feature four doors, providing the maximum amount of refrigerated storage space.
It is important to consider that the size of the pizza prep fridges may vary from brand to brand.
Pizza prep fridge refrigeration types
Designed to ensure uniform cool temperatures in both the lower storage and elevated rail areas, pizza prep fridges are required to uphold product temperatures between 40°F and 32°F when doors are shut and pan lids are in position.
Even in the absence of the lid, the appliance should uphold this temperature for a specific period.
Pizza preparation table fridges utilize various cooling methods.
Unified Cooling System
Specific models employ an integrated cooling system that serves both the lower section and the rail.
However, this arrangement can give rise to two potential issues.
Firstly, in instances where the pan lids are open, the compressor might need to run more frequently to compensate for the escape of cold air through the rail.
This increased operation could inadvertently result in the freezing of items in the lower storage area.
Secondly, there exists a possibility of food from the rail pans falling into the base, necessitating more thorough cleaning procedures.
Certain pizza prep table refrigerators employ traditional cooling methods for the lower storage compartment and implement cold-wall cooling for the rail section.
This is accomplished by running refrigerant lines within the walls surrounding the pan rails, effectively maintaining the temperature of the pans.
The rail area is isolated from the base, which not only helps prevent spills but also streamlines the cleaning process.
These particular models come with separate temperature controls for the two sections.
The advantage of this setup is the ability to independently manage the rail's temperature, allowing it to defrost and power down overnight, resulting in energy savings.
Yet, if the intention is to shut down the rail section overnight to conserve electricity, it's advisable to move the items from the rail and store them elsewhere.
Forced-air-cooling, employed by pizza prep refrigerators, contains strategically positioned fans and well-designed air ducts.
These elements work in tandem to ensure chilled air efficiently reaches all corners, maintaining the ideal temperature for ingredients placed in pans on the upper rail.
This innovative technology prevents spills, while separate controls finely manage base and rail temperatures, guaranteeing precise and effective cooling.
This technology in Pizza Prep Refrigerators employs a closed-loop system of coolant to efficiently regulate temperature.
Often a mixture of water and antifreeze is used to absorb heat from the storage compartments.
This liquid is pumped through a network of tubes or coils, which are strategically placed within the refrigerator.
By circulating a chilled liquid, it eliminates hot spots and minimizes temperature fluctuations, maintaining ideal conditions to evenly cool the storage compartments, preserving freshness, and preventing condensation.
This technology ensures optimal conditions for pizza ingredients, enhancing their longevity and quality.
Features to consider
Choosing the right pan specifications holds the utmost importance for your business.
Below, we've outlined a few options for you
The number of pans
Different pizza prep table models are designed to hold varying pan quantities on the top rail.
The assortment of ingredients you require at your fingertips will determine the suitable pan count.
1/3 size food pans are a standard size that is used in commercial kitchens.
However, the exact dimensions and capacity of 1/3-size food pans can vary among brands.
If you are using Gastronome (GN) pans, you need to make sure that they are compatible with your equipment.
Pizza prep fridges usually sport insulated stainless-steel lids.
Clear Perspex lids offer visibility of ingredients, while stainless steel lids prioritize cleanliness, insulation, and durability.
Choose according to your preference.
The prep surface holds significant importance within a pizza prep refrigerator.
For a pizza preparation setup, the worktop or prepping area must have ample space to accommodate your largest pizza.
Generally, these workspaces come in two materials: stainless steel and marble, each offering its own benefits.
Certain models feature a detachable cutting board that can be affixed to the worktop.
These cutting boards are commonly crafted from HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) or nylon materials.
The performance of any refrigeration system pivots around its compressor, and this principle extends to pizza prep refrigerators as well.
A more robust compressor translates to higher cooling capability.
However, this also entails a greater power draw.
Before finalizing a model, it's important to take into account the motor's efficiency and horsepower.
The horsepower of a pizza prep fridge is contingent on factors such as capacity, brand, and model of the appliance.
In pizza fridges, the compressor is commonly located on the right or left side, or at the bottom of the unit.
Your choice of the compressor's placement style should be based on the layout of your kitchen, the space you have available, and how close the fridge will be to other appliances.
This way, you can select the mounting configuration that best aligns with your requirements.
Pizza prep refrigerators typically feature either a programmed defrost or an adaptive defrost system.
These systems prevent ice buildup by periodically heating the cooling coils, to melt accumulated ice.
Automated defrost functions are designed to start the defrosting process at predetermined intervals, lasting for a fixed length of time.
However, if the frost situation fluctuates within the appliance due to changes in storage or ambient temperature, it's possible that the defrosting cycle may not start exactly when needed or could potentially run for a slightly shorter period.
The adaptive defrost system in pizza prep refrigerators dynamically monitors frost buildup.
It initiates defrost cycles only when necessary, responding to real-time conditions.
This approach optimizes energy efficiency by preventing unnecessary defrosting, ensuring consistent cooling performance, and maintaining ingredient freshness in commercial pizza preparation settings, making this a more viable choice.
Doors and drawers
Pizza preparation refrigerators come in various configurations, including doors, drawers, or a combination of both.
The number of doors or drawers depends on the dimensions of the refrigerator unit.
Prep fridges with doors
These resemble traditional reach-in fridges, equipped with storage shelves and generous storage capacity.
Prep fridges with drawers
Drawers offer convenient access to stored trays and food pans, as the contents are easily visible when the drawer is pulled out.
However, this design provides less storage space compared to the models with doors.
Prep fridges with doors and drawers
These units feature a blend of doors and drawers, effectively utilizing the available space while offering the benefits of both styles within a single appliance.
Dual-air flow system
The upper compartments of a pizza prep station are subject to the impact of external conditions, potentially affecting the quality of stored items.
Cooling exclusively from the bottom might create temperature variations between the top and bottom of the containers, potentially leading to a compromise in the freshness and quality of the ingredients.
To fix this problem, prep fridge manufacturers have come up with a solution called "dual airflow".
In this smart system, the containers get cooled from underneath, and cool air is circulated over the open tops.
This makes sure that the top rails stay at the right temperature for food safety.
Using a dual-air flow system keeps the ingredients in the open compartments fresh and tasty for longer.
Ambient temperature is the temperature that naturally exists in a given space without any additional heating or cooling interventions.
In commercial refrigeration, ambient temperature plays a critical role in system efficiency and food safety.
High ambient temperatures can strain cooling systems, leading to energy inefficiency and potential product spoilage.
Proper ventilation and temperature management are essential to maintain optimal refrigeration performance and preserve product quality.
In a commercial kitchen with a pizza oven or other heat-producing appliances, the surrounding air gets warmer.
Additionally, outdoor temperatures vary by season.
High-quality pizza prep fridges are designed to manage this.
They function effectively even when the air ranges from 40°F to 108°F, providing increased adaptability.
Other purchase considerations
Ease of cleaning
To keep your pizza prep fridge clean, a thorough daily cleaning routine is crucial.
Before buying one, make sure it's easy to clean without taking up too much time.
Pizza fridges with casters make cleaning around them simple, especially since things can get messy during pizza prep.
Important aspects to think about involve how easy it is to take out the pans, the ability to reach under the cutting board, and how simple it is to clean the space under the pans.
Also, check if the pan area is sealed from the storage below, so cleaning is easier in case of spills.
Additionally, consider if the work surface is welded and has rounded corners to prevent food from getting stuck.
Maintaining your pizza prep fridge is vital for its longevity and optimal function.
Daily, cleanse all surfaces that come into contact with food using a gentle detergent along with warm water.
Subsequently, dry the surfaces with a cloth after each use of the prep area.
Regularly wash nylon or marble surfaces with soapy water and replace worn-out cutting boards.
Additionally, dust the compressor weekly to remove any trapped food particles drawn in by airflow.
If the pizza prep fridge experiences an unexpected problem, it's important to resolve the issue quickly and with minimal disruption to your business operations.
So, before confirming your order, find out if the chosen unit can be inspected and fixed onsite.
Understanding the manufacturer's warranty terms is vital too—check if it covers technician visits, service request procedures, and expected response time.
Best pizza prep fridges
True Manufacturing Co.
For over 75 years, True Manufacturing has excelled in crafting commercial refrigeration solutions.
Renowned globally, their range includes under-counter, reach-in, prep table, and walk-in commercial prep refrigerators.
True products stand out for their durability, energy efficiency, and quiet performance, setting industry standards.
True Refrigeration excels with stainless steel quality, wide-opening doors, TruLumina Lighting, and efficient cooling. Maintenance is easy with accessible service parts and responsive customer support, merging style, functionality, and service excellence.
Of all the models of pizza prep fridges that True manufacturers have produced these are some that have caught many consumers' attention.
True TPP-AT-67 is a 67-inch-wide prep table with two solid doors and a refrigerated pan rail. With a temperature range of 33-41°F, it comes with 8 clear polycarbonate insert pans.
True TPP-AT-93-HC is a 93-inch-wide prep table with three solid doors and a refrigerated pan rail. It has a temperature range of 33-41°F, and it comes with 12 clear polycarbonate insert pans.
Avantco Equipment is a prominent name in commercial refrigeration, offering a diverse range of pizza prep fridges across price ranges.
Known for durability, their products include the acclaimed PolarMax series commercial refrigerator, which won the NRA Show Innovation Award in 2023.
Avantco's pizza prep fridges come in sizes from 44" to 93" with capacities of 6 to 12 pans.
Features like cutting boards, adjustable shelves, and digital temp control shine.
Energy-efficient and durable for commercial use, they offer easy-to-clean interiors. Backed by a 1-year warranty, Avantco's commitment to quality and innovation remains unwavering.
Below mentioned models of pizza prep fridges are of 1/3 size, 6" deep food pans, with a built-in cutting board and a temperature of 33-40°F.
Featuring a stainless-steel exterior/interior and an R290 refrigerant.
Avantco SSPPT-2 67" is a 67" wide 2-door refrigerated pizza prep table that fits (8) and runs on 115V, 2/5 hp, 2.63 Amps while, Avantco SSPPT-3 93" is a 93" wide 3-door refrigerated pizza prep table holds (12) and runs on 115V, 1/2 hp, 3.14 Amps.
Coldline is a refrigeration subsidiary brand under USRB that stands as a prominent figure in the American food service sector.
Their dedication to delivering top-tier restaurant equipment at budget-friendly rates stands unrivaled.
Their commercial pizza prep fridges are known for their user-friendliness and effortless maintenance.
They offer a number of prep table options varying from body height to display case depth.
They are NSF-certified and come with a year’s warranty.
We have mentioned two models, each with a work area of 20" ideal for pizza-centric enterprises.
Crafted from robust stainless steel and apt to show the variation this brand offers.
While Coldline CPT-72 71" offers a spacious 16.9 cubic feet storage area and accommodates (9) 1/3 size pans beneath its insulated rail lid, Coldline CPT-92 92", this unit offers a generous 24.2 cubic feet storage capacity and accommodates (12)1/3 size pans beneath its insulated rail lid.
Their best-selling model has been the Coldline PDR-60-4D-SG. It is a 60" wide refrigerator with a capacity of 20 cubic feet to hold up to 9 pizza pans, along with four drawers and a refrigerated glass topping.
Beverage-Air is an American company that manufactures commercial refrigerators, freezers, and other food service equipment.
Their products are designed for use in restaurants, bars, hotels, and other food service businesses.
You can choose the right pizza prep refrigerator depending on the capacity, temperature range, door type, and other features.
You can also read reviews of specific models before you make your decision.
Here we have highlighted two ideal models made of stainless steel with a corrosion-resistant aluminum interior liner, with a temperature range of 36°F to 38°F, adjustable shelve, a reversible door, a cutting board, and casters for easy mobility.
They also come with a three-year parts and labor warranty.
To help you compare and evaluate.
The only difference is that the DP60HC two-door pizza prep table is a great option for smaller businesses. It has a capacity of 60 cubic feet, and the DPD67HC-3 three-drawer one-door pizza prep table is a great option for businesses that need to store a lot of toppings and sauces with a capacity of 67 cubic feet
Known for its quality construction and energy efficiency, Continental Commercial is a leading manufacturer of commercial refrigeration equipment for the food service industry.
Continental Commercial was awarded the National Association of Restaurant Equipment Suppliers (NARES) Gold Plate Award for their Continental Commercial CRX Series Reach-in Refrigerator in 2023.
Some of the known models in this brand, that has a temperature range of 32°F to 40°F featuring three adjustable shelves and a reversible door are Continental CPC-3612 with a capacity of 36 cubic feet and Continental CPC-4812 with a capacity of 48 cubic feet.
It is important to choose the right model based on your requirements and after thorough research.
Frequently asked questions
What do I need to keep in mind while buying a pizza prep table refrigerator?
When considering a pizza prep table, first evaluate your menu variety and types of pizzas.
A refrigerated prep table proves invaluable due to its time-saving advantage.
Prepping ingredients ahead, reduces cooking time and labor, benefiting menus with a fixed ingredient list.
Also, assess your kitchen's space and your business size.
Choose a prep table that aligns with both your cooking needs and available area. In the USA, a standard size is GN 1/3 (325mm x 176mm), fitting well in most kitchens.
Larger establishments can amplify efficiency through an organized prep table, enhancing multitasking capabilities.
Tailor your choice to menu, space, and business scope for a prep table that elevates culinary efficiency and output.
Which are the best pizza prep refrigerator brands in the USA?
The brands that are known around the USA for their pizza prep table refrigerator are True Manufacturing, Coldline, and Beverage Air.
Each with distinct unique features.
True Manufacturing is known for its versatile pizza prep fridges, and Coldline is known for its durable pizza prep fridges, built to withstand the demands of a busy kitchen.
Beverage Air is known for its user-friendly pizza prep fridges and is easy to operate and maintain, even for those with limited technical experience.
Ultimately, the best pizza prep fridge brand for you will depend on your specific needs and budget.
Check out Silverchef’s range of pizza prep fridges from top brands, which you can buy, rent or lease with our easy financing options.
How much does a commercial pizza prep fridge cost?
The cost of a commercial pizza prep fridge can vary greatly depending on the size, type, features, and brand.
Pizza prep fridges with more features, such as multiple shelves or more doors and drawers, are typically more expensive.
Established brands like True Manufacturing, Coldline, and Beverage-Air tend to command higher prices than lesser-known brands.
Market conditions and fridge availability can also affect prices.
It is important to do extensive research and compare prices from different retailers before investing in a commercial pizza prep fridge.
You should also consider your specific needs and budget when making your decision.
If the cost of a commercial pizza prep fridge is out of your budget, you may want to consider renting a fridge from Silverchef instead.
Pizza prep fridge glossary
This key component releases heat from the compressed refrigerant, cooling it into a high-pressure liquid for optimal fridge performance.
Some pizza prep fridges come with a feature that shows the current temperature and settings.
This makes it easy to monitor and adjust how the fridge functions.
The defrost cycle is a built-in process that heats the cooling components of the appliance at regular intervals.
This helps melt away any frost or ice that might have built up.
The evaporator in prep fridges cools by drawing heat from the air, causing the refrigerant to evaporate.
This process maintains a lower interior temperature, essential for preserving food.
Energy star rating
An Energy Star rating signifies the appliance meets stringent energy efficiency criteria, reflecting its design for lower energy consumption.
Gastronome / GN pans
They are standardized containers for food storage and presentation in commercial kitchens.
They come in various sizes, following Gastronome standards, ensuring compatibility with equipment.
This is a flexible sealing strip made of rubber or similar material, placed around the edges of doors and lids.
It prevents air leakage, maintaining temperature and energy efficiency.
It is a layer of material that minimizes heat transfer.
It surrounds the fridge to maintain desired internal temperature, enhancing energy efficiency and food preservation.
Polyurethane insulation is a type of foam used in appliances like refrigerators.
Created from polyols and isocyanates, it prevents heat transfer, enhancing energy efficiency and temperature control.
The thermostat maintains the internal temperature of the refrigeration unit with the user's preferences, creating a steady and well-regulated environment.
Keep your cash. Use ours!
We hope this guide has helped you better understand what you need to look for in a pizza prep refrigerator and how to choose the right model for your needs. If you want to know more, you can always reach out to the SilverChef team.
Hospitality equipment can be expensive and paying for it outright can put pressure on your business’s cash flow.
Our finance solutions allow you to get the equipment you want now and to pay for it in small, regular amounts out of the revenue it generates for you.
Rent–Try–Buy® not only helps you maintain your cash flow; it gives you unrivaled flexibility to adapt your equipment to the changing needs of your business.
You can upgrade or buy the equipment at any time or, after 12 months, return or continue renting it.
If you decide to buy the equipment, we’ll give you back 60% of the net rent you paid in the first year and 20% of any rental payments thereafter — to put toward the purchase price. If you buy the equipment within a year, the interest will be 0%.