With high staff turnover and unskilled labour a challenge for operators, the need for highly-automated catering equipment that is incredibly easy to use and transcends any language is becoming a key priority. FEJ’s first ever special report on innovative, ease-of-use equipment provides a unique breakdown of the main areas of the kitchen and the solutions now available to make life easier. In the fifth and final part, we look at undercounter dishwashers.
You only need an undercounter dishwasher to go down at the height of peak service to realise just how important this category of equipment is to the smooth running of a foodservice operation. For many food establishments, it is also vital that such hardware is user-friendly as possible.
Maidaid Halcyon produces machines that offer straightforward three button control — ON/OFF, Cycle Start and Cycle selection — and according to sales director, Julian Lambert, an end-user can be operating and carrying out effective daily maintenance on any of its dishwashers with as little as 10 minutes training.
Simplicity in all aspects of design is the key to providing the end-user with equipment that achieves the results they require on a daily basis”
“Once the cycle length has been selected to suit the products to be washed, all cycles are actioned by one button,” he explains. “Maidaid Halcyon machines also incorporate simple status indication so the user knows if the machine is heating, in cycle or ready for the next load.”
Maidaid took a conscious decision some time ago to stop trying to develop what Lambert calls “wonderfully inventive design features with unnecessary operational options”, bringing the focus back to simplicity in use, daily maintenance and serviceability instead.
As well as promising ease of use, its machines are designed to operate in limp mode when problems occur and give any attending service engineer easy access to all components with comprehensive fault codes to aid problem diagnosis.
“We make every effort to embrace beneficial technology, but use it where it provides a real benefit not just a marketing feature,” he says. Maidaid’s C515 WSD is one of its best-selling undercounter machines. It comes fully loaded with everything the customer could require, simple to understand controls and unobstructed internal surfaces to aid daily maintenance.
“This model comes with an internal automatic water softener, which saves time and elevates the need to re-generate the softener; all you need to do is add salt when the machine instructs you,” says Lambert. “Another feature of this model is its automatic internal drain pump that drains down automatically with the door shut — there is no need to remove the drain plug as this model doesn’t have one.”
So what doesn’t make an undercounter dishwasher user-friendly? Lambert says over-complication of the controls, with too many options that inevitably will not be used, is something that operators should be wary of.
“Simplicity in all aspects of design is the key to providing the end-user with equipment that achieves the results they require on a daily basis. All equipment will suffer component failure during its life, so the simplicity of access for serviceability is essential so that the end-user gets the equipment back working with as little delay as possible. This ensures the operator retains a positive view of the equipment — it’s an often overlooked element of making machines user-friendly.”
What technological developments are you seeing that will ultimately make undercounter dishwashers easier to operate and more reliable for chains?
“Maidaid Halcyon utilises some of the latest microprocessing technology within our units to control the internal processes but we have retained a very easy three button control panel. This means a uniformity and ease of operation across our range of undercounter machines that is second to none. It is our view there is little opportunity to improve the simplicity of use offered by the current range of machines, but the ongoing discussions centre around the next generation of machines being even more robust, reliable and energy efficient.”
3 key things to take away
1. If you want ease of use then look for models that bring basic operating functions to the fore but where specialist options are available without cluttering the day-to-day controls.
2. The latest undercounter dishwashers on the market can be up and running with no more than just three button pushes.
3. Simplicity of access for serviceability should not be overlooked. Catering equipment will inevitably suffer component failure during its lifetime and this will help it to get back in working order with as little delay as possible.