In a food preparation environment, the dishwasher is at the heart of your kitchen, ensuring you have a steady supply of clean crockery, glassware and pans. It's important that your dishwasher works to a high standard, for food hygiene reasons, and that it's fast and reliable to keep up with the fast pace of your busy kitchen. While you may have already used a dishwasher at home, buying one for a commercial environment is much different, and here are a few of the things you'll want to consider.
- Types of dishwasher
While home dishwashers usually sit under the counter, there are many different kinds of commercial dishwasher, and it's important to find the right kind that suits your kitchen space and the way it'll be used. Some of the kinds of dishwashers available include:
- Under counter/counter dishwashers – Although they look like home dishwashers, these appliances clean dishes in minutes, and are sturdy enough to run continually throughout the day.
- Pass-through dishwashers – these freestanding units are easy to load, with a hood that pulls down to wash the dishes. They have cycles as short as 60 seconds.
- Pot/utensil washers – heavy duty dishwashers designed for kitchen use
- Glass washers – ideal for pubs and bars, different models available, some with a cold final rinse, ready for immediate use.
- Cutlery polishers – when catering for large numbers, cutlery polishers are a quick way to polish cutlery after washing, ready for use.
There are lots of options available, so speaking to a company such as Warewashing Solutions who specialise in warewashers for commercial environments will ensure you get the right product.
In a commercial kitchen space is often at a premium and with so many people working in one space it's important that your dishwasher doesn't get in the way of operations. If you don't have space for a freestanding unit, then an under-counter option may be better. It's worth considering the volume of washing that needs to be done and what it consists of. For example, in a restaurant it may be worth making some space for a pot washer, whereas if your business is more focused on the bar, then a glass washer will be a more important investment.
Dishwashers made for commercial environments will usually have much shorter cycle times than the domestic variety, so large volumes of crockery can be cleaned quickly and efficiently. When choosing between commercial dishwashers, it's worth thinking about the number of covers that need to be done each night and how quickly they need to be turned around. In a catering environment, for example, you may be doing several sittings a night, whereas a smaller restaurant may only turn over the tables once.
- Cycle time
How quickly do you need your dishes done? Unlike home dishwashers that can take 45 minutes or more, commercial dishwashers can take as little as 60 seconds to clean a rack of plates. However, for heavier duty dishes such as pots, you may need a longer cycle to ensure you meet food hygiene standards. Larger, freestanding units are usually the quickest dishwashers for commercial environments, and also have different cycle lengths, so you can run a longer cycle for stubborn stains, avoiding the need for pre-washing.
- Health and safety
Health and safety is the number one priority when working in a kitchen, and this should come into play when you consider which dishwasher to use. Some things to think about on the health and safety side include:
- Accessing the dishwasher – if someone is constantly using the machine, will they be bending over all day? A pass-through dishwasher removes this need.
- Keeping clean and dirty dishes apart – will there be space to stack the clean dishes to keep them hygienic?
- Lifting – lifting heavy racks can be dangerous in a busy kitchen. If you have a large capacity, would a conveyor belt be better?
- Temperature – In a commercial environment, it's better to choose a machine with a high temperature rinse cycle for proper sanitation of dishes and to meet health and safety requirements.
- Specialist products
If you have a home dishwasher, you'll know that they aren't always ideal for things such as cutlery and glass, and most of us have to do some hand polishing once the cycle is done. However, in a commercial environment, there simply isn't time to do this by hand. That's why you might want to consider installing a reverse osmosis unit, a glass polisher or cutlery polisher. Simple to operate, these machines offer streak-free glasses and perfectly polished cutlery, eliminating one of the most tedious kitchen jobs. If you have space, then it's worth thinking about in addition to a standard commercial dishwasher.
When making any business investment, cost will always be a big factor, and you'll want to get excellent value for money. However, that doesn't necessarily mean buying the cheapest machine. Investing in a sturdy, well-made machine will mean fewer repairs in the long run, and help you avoid delays and downtime due to breakdowns. When factoring in the cost of the machine, you should also consider operating and installation costs. A machine that's energy efficient will cost you less over its lifetime.
We also work with catering equipment finance companies such as Silver Chef and Flexi Commercial, so you could look at leasing, hiring or Rent Try Buy
- Ease of operation
Hospitality environments often have a high turnover of staff, and so everything in your kitchen should be easy to operate. Ideally, you should choose a dishwasher with a one touch button operation, so there's no need to train new kitchen assistants every single time. A simple operation means there's less chance staff will get confused and hold up kitchen operations while they try to figure out the machine.
A kitchen needs to run like clockwork, and your commercial dishwasher is an important part of keeping things running properly. When shopping for a dishwasher for a commercial environment, it's worth speaking to the experts at Warewashing Solutions, who can help you find the right appliance for your needs. Simply call 1300 217 411 today.