5 things to think about when planning a dark kitchen warewash set-up

High volume warewashing 1

The trend for delivery and off-site kitchens has increased exponentially and with consumer dining habits changing dramatically during Covid-19 that is only set to increase. When it comes to delivery kitchen design, the warewashing area might not be the first thing you think about but it certainly requires careful planning. Here are 5 things to consider… 

1. Delivery and offsite dishwash areas have quite different requirements to conventional kitchens in several respects…

Operating staff may be casual and unused to working dishwashers, so simplicity is key to design and layout to ensure good washing results and the safety of staff.

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Good ergonomics and non-slip floor surfaces are also important, as the staff may be using these machines non-stop every day.

Both high risk and low risk areas can be operated separately within the kitchen, prompting the need for separate dishwash solutions — or dishwashers that span both sections, with ware being loaded from the dirty section, then washed and unloaded in the clean section.

2. With large pots, pans and utensils requiring daily washing in delivery kitchens, having a warewasher that can be seamlessly loaded with the necessary equipment is a must.

Understanding the physical capability, as well as the size of the unit, is a crucial first step before committing to a purchase.

This doesn’t just refer to the size of the wash chamber, but also the size of the hood opening which must be large enough to securely fit taller pieces of equipment.

Space may be tight and there possibly won’t be the full services you’d expect in a commercial kitchen.

There is probably little room for tabling, sinks and pre-wash, which means there might not be an opportunity to pre-prepare heavily soiled pots and utensils with baked-on dirt for the washer.

3. Economies of scale can be achieved by standardising the handling processes across multiple sites…

Standardising the size and type of the machines helps to minimise handling and therefore labour, but it also creates further savings because it is easier to plan maintenance and breakdown cover and create fixed price contracts that provide total cover.

Depending upon volume, the requirement could include universal dishwashers, dedicated pot washers, or conventional rack or flight transport dishwashers.

Universal machines – which can handle bakers’ trays, pots and pans, as well as crockery and cutlery – are a good choice for small volume operations and they also provide valuable back-up as the business expands and larger machines are installed.

Choosing reverse osmosis water treatment is very cost-effective because it minimises the amount of detergent and rinse aid required and gets rid of another cost in the form of water softeners and the salt they consume – the higher the wash volume, the more you save.

4. Dishwash areas tend to be high volume and essential to the running of the business for the supply of transport boxes and kitchen cookware…

An equipment breakdown could mean disaster, so having the right maintenance package in place is vital. Quick response times and a high first-time fix rate is a necessity when looking at the technical services performance of potential providers. An extended warranty offer will be attractive to many sites.

The costs of running a large dishwashing area – in terms of water cost, energy, chemicals as well as labour – will add up to many times the cost of the dishwasher. Delivery kitchen providers must accurately assess their likely wash volume over the years the machines will be in use, which is where the advice of a dishwashing specialist really comes into its own.

5. The ability to wash a variety of ware, possibly using clean and dirty areas is one element of the planning…

Heat recovery that is integrated into the dishwasher will save expensive and complicated condense extract schemes.

Choosing reverse osmosis as your water treatment system ensures that the customer does not have to concern themselves with water quality issues and all the hassles and costs which evolve from traditional water softeners, such as topping up with salt, regeneration and reliability issues.

As with every kitchen design space and layout are key, but with delivery kitchens special consideration needs to be made for increased power usage and drainage.


Meiko is the Platinum Partner sponsor of the Warewashing category of FEJ Kitchen Excellence Week. For information about Meiko and its range of products, call 01753 215120 or visit

Tags : Kitchen Excellence WeekMeikoWarewashing
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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