manual vegetable slicer?

I come to the font of wisdom seeking a great model of manual vegetable slicer. I just saw the math of how much I ma paying for my sliced onions vs. a bag of whole . . . and I need to spend that money on a slicer now that our volume is high enough to warrant it.

What’s the best one to get. We use about 10# of onion a week, need 1/8" to 3/16" slice. Extra points given for ability to slice relatively clean rings of bell pepper as well.

Is the Nemco the pot of gold I seek? Will it cut bell pepper rings?

what do you use to slice your deli meats? We use a hobart slicer for all our meats & veggies

Get the Nemco Easy slicer with the adjustable blade
It’s about $300 and its worth it
Works great on mushrooms too


Factor in waste and labor and the cost for bagged sliced produce isnt that far off…if not cheaper.

“Factor in waste and labor and the cost for bagged sliced produce isnt that far off…if not cheaper”

Not even close.

We use more onions than you are talking about, buy them in 50Lb sacks and slice them by hand.

How much does a slicer cost you? How much are you paying for parts and service?

How much time does it take for prep?

Waste is definately an issue, I have done both and the waste and quality of packaged vs prepped is tremendous.

I also have worked in other industries than pizza who use sliced onions, and while the little guys tend to hand slice, the larger organizations ALWAYS do packaged.

One workmans comp accident every few yrs chopping veggies, the cost of new blades and extra storage containers…

I completely disagree with your comment…add all costs of the product and the difference in TOTAL cost is minimal…

Try calculating the real cost, not just how much one bag of 2.5 or 5lb sliced compares to 5 lbs of raw…

I disagree also.

I own 3 stores, and I have been in the restaurant industry about 25 years now. I have seen it all.
When I worked at Harrah’s Casino & Resort, we did all the prep by hand for over 40,000 meals a day. To me its about maintaining the quality of the product, and shelf-life. Most prepped vegi’s only last about 5 days. You can use them on the 6, 7 or 8th day but your using a substandard product, and your risking your reputation by giving your customers sub-standard products.

When I worked for Domino’s Pizza we got everything pre-sliced. Yes it made everything real easy, but depending on where you were on the delivery route would determine how fresh you got your vegi’s. Most sliced mushrooms will last 7 days, but Onions are about 4 days, and Green Peppers are about 5. Food waste was high at Domino’s when I was there. Cause we would get substandard product all the time. The sad thing was, that many of the other managers, didn’t care and they would assemble sub-par pizza all the time, which cost the company dearly in advertising & marketing to re-entice the customers we were losing from putting out that kind of product.
When I moved over to work for Papa John’s each store had a Nemco manual vegetable slicer, and we sliced up our onions, and green peppers daily based on our predicted use. The product was much fresher, and the customers were much happier.
If you have an employee file a claim, and loose work, from a self inflicted knive wound while prepping vegetable. That to me is an employee that you need to get rid of anyways, cause he is probably costing you money in other aspect of the business also. Its really hard to cut yourself with a coring tool, and paring knife, and a manual vegetable slice, I think your 100 times more apt to get cut from incorrectly disposing of 10# cans, than you are from slicing vegetables.

I am looking at paying the exact same cost for 10# pre-sliced onions and 50# whole onions bagged. Sliced last me 5 to 6 days, even bagged. If I buy a 50# and have 50% waste, I am still ahead of the game. It should cost me about 15 to 20 minutes to slice 10 lbs onions that will also last 5 days or so. Not too much more time than it takes to open bag, download into food bins and label.

I am still an advocate of pre-prepared vegetables in small, lean staffed operations. We are employing more people, which means more opportunity for slicing. We have a very inconsistent usage pattern for onions, so I can do 5# at a time and leave the whole one in the mesh bag for weeks.

I am already using a mandolin for slicing bell peppers. Mind you, that is a comp claim waiting to happen when you don’t have talented users. Not to mention the erratic slicing patterns using floppy bell pepper. The rotary slicer becomes a multi-tasker with high consistency of product.

I may regret the purchase, but I anticipate a ROI of 6 months for a $287 model I found. That includes shipping on that adjustable model. I included a little bit of labor added costs, as well as training time of 30 minutes. Compared to food cost savings on several foods, I expect a good return . . . at least until we get bored or move into a higher usage pattern than we can keep up with.

Nick, your labor cutting green peppers with the nemco will be a lot less than with the mandoline. Even my wife now is glad we got the Nemco, and she didn’t even like it when I spent $60 for the mandoline. By the way be sure to watch the training video at


Price of a slicer: $0

Parts and servive: $0

Waste on un-prepped: Probably about 20%

Quality of pre-sliced: All too often very poor. Waste is about 10%.

Work Comp claims (knock on wood) Never had one in 9 years in either of my two locations.

New Blades (see above) $0.

Extra storage containers: Couldn’t say. A few dollars? Paid for on the savings from the first 100 lbs?

The price comparison is that 50 lbs of onions generally costs me about $8. On a percentage basis, it is even a better savings than making your own dough. All the big nationals do that the expensive way too. Not everything they do is based on cost savings. They are often motivated by reducing complexity. (A wothy goal in any business).

We do have a slicer that we use for mushrooms. Un-sliced mushrooms cost about $1.10 a pound. The same slicer will do onions, but we prefer the hand sliced product for appearance.

Slice your own until you get to about 10 stores, or your store volume is above 20k a week. If your store is slow say under 10k, you have plenty of time to slice vegetables, as the store grows though you begin to move through more employees, and you will have consistency problems.

I am a total advocate of slicing your own.

However, I do know there will be a day when either the turnover will rise to 300%, and or it will seem safer and more efficient to have one highly trained onion/green pepper/tomato/mushroom slicer cut the 1000 lbs a week needed for my 10 stores doing 20k a week.


My shop has inconsistent volume and there are always downtimes when kitchen staff does prep - typically for just 2 days worth of product.

We use an automatic hobart meat slicer with a “vegetable chute”. You fill the tube with mushrooms or tomatoes, or onions or bell peppers. Or load in the italian link sausage, or shove in a ham. Turn it on, adjust the thickness, then walk away and do something else while it slices.

Gotta say I would pay to see someone process 50# of onions in 15 minutes from bag to bins. It would be fun to watch. I got knife skills, but it would take nearly 5 minutes alone to peel the onions.

I do also experience nearly 10% food waste in the best of conditions with onions from tops and tips plus peels and blemishes. Hand sliced is inconsistent, even with top skills, and I am aiming at approximating a clean, even ring of onion and/or bell pepper if possible. I may find it impossible, but I can give it a try.

OTHERS’ MILEAGE MAY VARY (my experience is below):
Skill level is something that takes time and commitment with a chef knife. Care and maintenance of a high end chef knife is sketchy, at best, in most pizzeria operations I’ve seen. I cringe every time I open on of those food service chef knives, hoping it will last. I will not bring my full tang, high carbon, forged knives to the shop :shock:

When we get to the next stage of restaurant and menu development, I will hold “chef school” to teach knife skills, prep techniques, timing, shortcuts, sautée skills and the like. For now, we bake pizzas and fry wings. Knife skills area little non-sequitor for most of the tasks of du jour.

we used 2 slice onions & peppers by hand, but switched to the Nemco dicing machine a while back…nice even 1/4" cuts…spreads evenly

I don’t care for “diced” vegies on my pizza. I prefer sliced. We use Easy Slicer

Only item I don’t feed through it is tomatoes and fingers

We decided early on that sliced was our thing . … period. Diced reminded us of econo and frozen store brand pizzas. It makes us think of Totino’s pizza with little diced pepperoni cubes. I see very clearly the speed and efficiency value of the dicer, especially when I go to slicing bell pepper rings again. I can pop off julienne pepper actually much quicker with that 10" chef knife mentioned before, but we are committed to rings if we can get them.

That said, we could change if this slicer thing isn’t the bell pepper answer. The 11-cup Cuisinart from eBay 7 years ago will only last so long.

I used to manage a mall based pizza restaurant that did over $900,000 per year, and they have over 300 stores. I never used prepackaged produce. We had salads, pizza toppings and whatever else. If volume changes, your stuck with the stuff and it can go bad.

It’s always better to cut as you go. I stays fresher longer and it give someone something to do to stay busy.

I worked for Wendy’s as well, it was all fresh cut.


: we use manual and jose to cut and they still have most of their fingers

The Nemco slicer is a good unit. It will do everything stated previously on this forum.

George Mills