When you purchase a large piece of cooking equipment for your commercial kitchen, it’s important to have the right set up to ensure that your cooking station is at its most efficient. That means having the ability to access what you need at arm’s reach, saving valuable time in a busy environment where speedy service is the goal. In addition, cooking equipment such as griddles, ovens, and charbroilers are designed to be placed on a stand or table to bring them up to a working height.
If you are shopping for a solution, you may come across terms such as equipment stands and chef bases. This article will help you determine the difference between these terms so that you can decide which product is best for your kitchen.
Equipment Stands, and Why They are Different from Work Tables
An equipment stand is exactly what it says it is – a table specifically designed to hold heavy equipment. This rugged essential looks just like a work table, but with a few key differences that makes it ideal to be used with equipment. For one, an equipment stand sits lower than a work table to accommodate the height of the equipment sitting on it. If you were to put a piece of equipment on a work table, it will likely sit higher than a comfortable working height, which can lead to safety issues such as burns.
Another difference is in weight capacity. Work tables simply are not designed to safely handle the weight of a large piece of equipment, whereas an equipment stand is. Most equipment stands have turned-up edges along the back and sides of the stand to help keep your equipment from sliding around.
The bottom of equipment stands are typically open, giving you plenty of room to store pots and pans. Pan slides are usually available as well, which can give you the flexibility to add drawers to the underside of your equipment stand for storage of utensils.
What is a Chef Base?
Chef bases are the standard term for refrigerated equipment stands. If space is an issue in your kitchen, chef bases are the perfect solution, as they provide refrigerated storage right underneath your equipment. Typical chef bases have anywhere from two to eight drawers of storage, depending on the length of the base. A variety of food pan configurations can be placed inside each drawer, and ingredients are easily accessed without the cook having to go across the kitchen to pull them from a refrigerator or walk-in. This makes the efficiency of your cooking operation go through the roof!
One thing to keep in mind with chef bases, however, is spacing for your equipment. You’ll want to make sure your equipment is mounted on legs so that hot air isn’t directly transferring from the bottom of the cooking equipment to the top of the base.
Chef bases don’t have the raised edges that equipment stands have. They are typically available as either a flat top or a marine edge. A marine edge is a grooved edge designed to contain spills. A flat top will provide more room to house your equipment, as the entire top space is accessible. If buying with a marine edge, be sure to measure your equipment to ensure that it will fit between the edges.
At the end of the day, choosing between a chef base and an equipment stand comes down to two things: function and budget. If pot and pan storage is more important for you, then an equipment stand is the way to go. If you want quick access to ingredients and more efficient refrigerated storage, go with a chef base.
Keep in mind that because they use refrigeration, chef bases will be considerably more expensive than equipment stands, starting at around $1,600 for the most affordable. Depending on size, equipment stands start out as low as $150 to $200. Know your budget before you shop.
Cody Bell is a content specialist with Central Restaurant Products. With over 7 years of experience in the foodservice industry, Cody has developed knowledge on topics from all aspects of commercial foodservice, from the front of the house to back of the house. He is a NAFEM Certified Foodservice Professional. In his free time, Cody likes to spend time with his wife and puppy.