Several types of commercial, or food service, food choppers are currently available. The most commonly used versions are food processors, meat grinders and food cutters, also known as "buffalo choppers." Two of the best-known, most well-respected manufacturers of these machines are Hobart Corporation and Robot Coupe.
Commercial food processors operate in much the same way as household food processors. The major differences are that they are larger, more heavily built for durability, feature much more powerful motors, and offer a wider variety of cutting, slicing and grating blades. A commercial food processor consists primarily of the motor base, upon which sits a plastic or stainless steel cutting bowl with its interlocking cover and feed chute. Pieces of food are fed down the feed chute into the bowl, where they are chopped, sliced or grated, according to the type of blade the operator is using.
A meat grinder is essentially a powerful electric motor with a hub, to which a grinding mechanism is attached. Chunks of meat are dropped down the vertical feed chute and, using a wooden pusher, forced into a horizontally mounted screw, or worm, which then carries the product into the cutting blade and through a heavy, perforated metal plate.
The food chopper, or "buffalo chopper," is a large bowl with an interlocking cover and a motor which drives a horizontally-mounted S-blade. Food is placed in the bowl, and when the machine is turned on, the blade spins rapidly and the bowl rotates, carrying food into the blade. Both the food processor and chopper are equipped with interlocking covers as a safety device to prevent the machine from being turned on without the cover in place.