Warewashing is a vital component of every commercial kitchen, but there is always a lot to think about when it comes to planning and managing this part of the kitchen. FEJ asked the market experts for their view on six statements every operator wants to know the answer to. They reveal whether they agree (/) or disagree (X).
If a foodservice operator wants to truly maximise the space they have in terms of warewashing, the first thing that they need to do is get a site survey done and evaluate the results. Agree or disagree?
Paul Anderson, managing director, Meiko: (/) I agree, however because new dishwashing technology — not available from all suppliers — is re-shaping the modern dishwash, to make the best use of space operators must first understand how the new technology can help them. A site survey is required after the customer has enough information to make an informed decision about what type of dishwashing equipment they will be needing. The survey will be needed and, most likely, the dishwash supplier will include that as part of the service.
Adam Lenton, marketing manager, Classeq: (/) In a complex market, it’s important to take advice to determine the right solution for an operator’s business needs. In doing so, all establishments, regardless of size, can save time and increase the productivity of their operation and ensure they are buying the right machine for their needs. It’s important that during a site survey they can indicate how busy they get at peak service times, what needs to be washed and ask about the length of the wash cycles available, to ensure they specify a machine that can keep up with footfall.
Steve Bowler, category manager warewashing, Electrolux: (/) Most operators will only install a new dishwasher system every 10 years or so, which can often mean a host of new technology and trends on the market compared to their last installation. However, manufacturers are constantly designing and specifying new systems, coming into frequent contact with a range of sites. This equips manufacturers with knowledge and expertise that can be shared with prospective customers, offering advice on factors such as layout.
Paul Crowley, marketing development manager, Winterhalter: (/) In my opinion, a site survey is critical. Experts can help with planning systematic workflow, working out how to get the dirties to the wash area, then get them back to the service area when they’re clean. They can also help identify additional ways to save space, for example by looking at reducing storage for crockery or glassware. They can also eradicate extraction, or even look to reduce the environmental impact of the warewashing operation. What is clear is that a good system is the key. Often the original machine specified may not always be the one you need. Sometimes a smaller, cheaper machine might be sufficient if it can be supported by the right system.
Dishwash areas fail if they are not planned properly and the flow of the wash items isn’t properly considered. Agree or disagree?
Chris Myhill, operations director, Maidaid Halcyon: (/) Having a fully operational and effective dishwash area is vital. The layout is something that would need to be carefully considered to ensure the area is being used to its full potential. Having a poor set-up will decrease productivity, not allow the machine to work to its full potential and delay service. Combine this with the potential congestion this could create in a small kitchen and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Tim Bender, sales director, Hobart: (/) Poorly planned areas don’t so much fail, but they do negatively impact the operation greatly and can lead to confusion during service. Unnecessary working steps within the wash-up area can disrupt the flow of dirty and clean plates and should be eliminated where possible.
Paul Crowley, marketing development manager, Winterhalter: (/) There is a surprising amount of science that goes into planning. It’s important that before installing a warewasher, caterers have considered a number of key issues, such as the menu, the maximum number of covers in a particular sitting, the type and style of crockery and glassware that needs cleaning and so on. Caterers also need to consider the opening hours, maximum capacity as well as food waste/recycling, storage of dirties and cleans.
If all of these considerations are not made and then precisely combined together, the consequences can be catastrophic. They might range from the chef not being able to plate food, to disgruntled staff and, at worst, poor reviews for the restaurant or outlet. Poor planning of the warewash operation has a direct effect on business profitability.
Adam Lenton, marketing manager, Classeq: (/) The whole wash area and system should be considered — stations need to be clearly defined to avoid confusion and ensure an efficient, ergonomic process. Operators need to think about the returns process for items coming into the washing area. For example, where is crockery stored, is a separate station for dirty glasses needed, what will the set-down areas look like and where will the dishes be scraped or rinsed before placing into the dishwasher/loading into the trays?
Ventilation no longer has to be an issue for warewashing areas — the latest generation of machines all boast efficient steam or heat recovery functionality. Agree or disagree?
Phil Coulstock, commercial channel director, Smeg: (/) I agree that modern steam heat recovery machines reduce or remove the need for ventilation or extraction directly above the dishwasher. The Smeg HTY511DH and HTY511DSH steam heat recovery machines remove all steam from the chamber and have a four-sided hood, too. As well as removing the need for a condense hood or ventilation they also save considerable money on the day to day running costs, paying back the initial investment for the technology.
Riccardo Scuotto, export managing director, Krupps: (X) Even if today’s new equipment is fully equipped with steam recovery systems, it is not enough for a full regeneration of the ambient ventilation. Health is an important issue in kitchens and to preserve all the staff, an appropriate ventilation system needs to be installed.
Steve Bowler, category manager warewashing, Electrolux: (/) Electrolux Professional offers smaller machines with heat recovery systems and larger rack-type machines with heat pumps that remove the need for a dedicated extraction system. The room the dishwasher is installed in will still require a certain amount of air changes per hour for the health of the operators, but the need for a dedicated system can be removed. For sites where there is a dedicated system still available, machines without the built-in heat recovery are available.
Paul Anderson, managing director, Meiko: (X) The latest generation of machines — from undercounters to hood-type machines, potwashers, rack and flight machines — can all feature heat recovery. The benefit of heat recovery, besides getting some energy back, is that it allows areas previously thought unsuitable for a dishwash area to be now considered. But that does not mean the ventilation issue is solved for everyone. There must be enough air movement within the dishwash area to maintain a comfortable working temperature, around 22°C. Failing that, it may be necessary to install overhead ventilation at the discharge end of larger machines especially, because ware is emerging hot and radiating heat and steam as it dries.
Operators should always choose a dishwasher that allows for growth in their business, rather than one that meets their current requirements. Agree or disagree?
David Glover, UK & Ireland country manager, Wexiodisk: (X) The fluctuating peaks and troughs of the restaurant trade can make it hard for an operator to accurately assess the capacity that they require from their dishwasher — for example, on a busy Friday night, an operator may need to wash a total of 400 dishes within a couple of hours whereas a slow day of service may only see a total of 50 dishes go through the system. Due to this pattern of fluctuation, we therefore recommend that an operator not only invests in a warewasher that first and foremost is able to wash a generous number of dishes for the specific venue, but is also able to complete a complete a wash cycle quickly and effectively.
Tim Bender, sales director, Hobart: (/) This is rather dependent on the business model. When designing kitchen spaces, we always advise operators to ensure any design is future-proof and can adapt to future trends — to design for tomorrow, not just today. Of course, when it comes to choosing the right warewasher, sites need to give serious consideration to the expected footfall and focus on the benefits of a correctly specified machine. A warewasher that struggles to cope with volume at peak times, or one that regularly needs to be emptied and refilled, can ultimately cost the operator more in the long run.
Chris Myhill, operations director, Maidaid Halcyon: (/) All commercial dishwasher uses should certainly plan their expected growth over the short to medium term when purchasing new equipment. In these uncertain times, long-term planning for the majority of smaller operators is almost impossible.
Paul Crowley, marketing development manager, Winterhalter: (X) Forward planning makes good economic sense but that’s not always practical in terms of finance and space. Winterhalter’s Pay Per Wash (PPW) financial model offers caterers a real alternative to machine purchase, and may help with some of these issues. With PPW there’s no upfront cost for the machine — it’s provided free as part of the scheme — operators only pay as they wash. PPW also covers service and chemicals. This payment system is especially relevant in the current uncertain economic climate.
Buying connected warewashing equipment is the most accurate way for operators to track running costs and efficiency. Agree or disagree?
Riccardo Scuotto, export managing director, Krupps: (/) Modern technologies like the WiFi connection will allow remote diagnostics and the tracking of warewasher efficiency in order to improve the correct use of it. Usually, there is a manager behind a kitchen who is charged with checking every piece of equipment and setting it in the best way to cut running costs. Sometimes it is not so easy to evaluate costs and consumption, but with WiFi those operations are easier than ever.
Chris Myhill, operations director, Maidaid Halcyon: (X) While connected warewashing equipment can potentially, in theory, give operators good operational data, the recipient of this data must be able to have the necessary training and experience to correctly interpret the results. What all must be aware of is connected equipment can only give data dependant on the parameters stored within equipment software. Any measure of power and water consumption will be driven by the number of and type of machine cycles.
Should the machine be operated with inappropriate cycles for the types of product being washed or should the machine be continually operated with part loads, the data will not be truly representative. Should service intervals or PPM visits be driven by cycle count only, customers could incur costs due to unnecessary service intervention. In Maidaid’s view, nothing improves the cost efficiency and reliability of any warewashing equipment more than good operator training and sufficient initial planning for the flow of product through the washing process.
Adam Lenton, marketing manager, Classeq: (/) This is the most accurate way for operators to track the running costs and efficiency of the machines. That said, the technology for most manufacturers is in its infancy and comes with some issues. Only one or two of the best premium machines in the market — Winterhalter for one — have this technology working effectively and therefore caution is needed to ensure that this actually meets expectation. Classeq focuses on simplicity of use and having a machine that performs to the highest standard with minimal effort and really is the best in its class.
Phil Coulstock, commercial channel director, Smeg: (/) I agree it’s the most accurate but also understand that most operators aren’t looking at this kind of data. Connected warewashers are most valuable to operators when they aid and speed up any required service interventions, whether it’s being diagnosed and any required parts being ordered remotely or used to make adjustments to prevent future breakdowns such as insufficient chemical dosage or repeated usage with no salt in the water softener. We find the majority of Smeg operators aren’t looking closely at running costs as they would rightly cite that they felt they had bought the most efficient machine to reduce running costs in the first place.
Operators should try and run their dishwasher with a full load for each cycle. Agree or disagree?
Steve Bowler, category manager warewashing, Electrolux: (/) Dishwashers cannot currently detect the number of wares inside the basket, so will use the same amount of water, regardless of whether there is one plate or 18 plates. As a result, it is always more efficient to fully load a basket, which helps to reduce wash-up times, as well as improve sustainability, as it ultimately uses less water, electricity, detergent and rinse aid.
Paul Anderson, managing director, Meiko: (/) Yes, of course, that’s the ideal. All the figures for efficiency go out the window when a dishwasher is not running to proper capacity. However, the difficulty lies with possibly choosing the wrong type of dishwasher, as well as a lack of supervision and kitchen staff not having the right accessories such as wash racks and inserts. This takes us back to the subject of planning and getting the basics right from the start. For example, when chefs or managers choose dishes and bowls for their buffets and counter displays, dishwashing needs to be considered. It does not make for efficient warewashing if you can only get one display bowl in a 500 square rack at a time lying flat because of its awkward shape and pooling hot rinse water in its upturned base.
David Glover, UK & Ireland country manager, Wexiodisk: (/) Whenever possible, operators should run their warewasher on a full cycle as this will help minimise unnecessary energy spend as well as water and detergent usage. However, for many kitchen porters, the prospect of waiting for a warewasher to reach its full load before beginning the wash cycle can seem impractical, particularly in busy kitchen environments. Wexiodisk has developed an Intelligent Control System, which automatically eliminates empty spaces between baskets while they are being washed, therefore stopping energy, water and detergent being wasted on empty washing zones.
Riccardo Scuotto, export managing director, Krupps: (/) If an operator wants to best optimise efficiency of their warewasher it is always suggested that they load it to the maximum charge. This doesn’t mean overloading the machine, but just utilising baskets and loading space as best as possible. If a basket is conceived for washing 18 dishes per cycle it means that a full and good load will be 18 dishes. Charging, for example, 22 dishes will not only be an overload, but it could also lead to bad washing results for all the crockery inside it.