The trend for delivery and off-site kitchens has increased exponentially and with consumer dining habits changing dramatically as a result of Covid-19 that is only set to continue in 2021. But what are the warewashing needs of a delivery kitchen and how do you design a wash operation to meet the specific requirements of this type of set-up?
What are your experiences of delivery or off-site kitchens from a warewashing perspective?
Paul Anderson, managing director, Meiko: Delivery and off-site 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.
Good ergonomics and non-slip floor surfaces are also key, as the staff may be using these machines non-stop every day. The client can operate both high risk and low risk areas separately within the kitchen, prompting the need for separate dishwash solutions — or dishwashers that span both sections, with wares being loaded from the dirty section, then washed and unloaded in the clean section.
Robert Wager, sales director, Maidaid Halcyon: This is quickly becoming a growing customer base, with specialist requirements for larger Maidaid equipment. With the majority of items needing to be cleaned in these types of kitchen being pots, pans, prep equipment and utensils, Maidaid has a selection of specific equipment to cater for this demand. The UT Pot Washer range is designed to deal with some of the toughest jobs these types of kitchen can present.
Steve Bowler, regional category manager for warewashing, Electrolux Professional: From an equipment point of view, our approach remains exactly the same in that we start from the customer’s throughputs and work backwards to deliver the most appropriate solution. Given the throughputs are very different to a traditional kitchen, in that nearly all the food will be delivered in packaging that does not return to the kitchen, the warewashing station in a delivery kitchen is often quite different to one which caters for seated diners.
Delivery kitchens obviously do not cater to dine-in customers so there are not cups, glasses and crockery to worry about. But there will be pots, pans, prep equipment and utensils. How does that impact what kind of warewashing equipment is suitable for this kind of set-up?
Tim Bender, sales director, Hobart Equipment Division: An ideal solution for these types of set-ups is our new Two-Level Washer. Where an ordinary utensil washer may take up too much space, the Two-Level Washer builds up, not out, with two stacked wash chambers doubling the capacity and productivity of a conventional hood-type machine without doubling its footprint. Both chambers can be used for speedy utensil washing, yet crucially water and detergent usage remains the same as a regular hood-type machine.
David Glover, UK and Ireland country manager, Wexiodisk: 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. Therefore, 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.
Paul Anderson, Meiko: 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.
What advice would you give to operators of delivery kitchens when it comes to planning a warewash area or choosing the right solution? Are there any equipment or planning considerations unique to warewashing areas in delivery or off-site kitchens?
Robert Wager, Maidaid: 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. The Maidaid Halcyon UT range comes with a new advanced design with smart soft-touch electronic user interface, vertically mounted wash pump for self-draining and a carefully designed moulded wash tank for ease of cleaning at the end of service.
Tim Bender, Hobart: It’s important to match the desired performance of a dishwasher to the scale of operation. For example, a machine that is used for lighter duties may not need to have all the features of a machine being used eight hours a day. Put simply, a machine 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. Pre-plan, take into account operational factors, and work with a reputable supplier and trusted distributor to correctly specify the right machine at the outset. And never, ever, cut corners with finances.
David Glover, Wexiodisk: In delivery kitchens, space is often limited which means a warewasher must be as compact as possible, yet without compromising on warewashing capacity. This is exactly why the WD-8 is the perfect solution for delivery kitchens given that this model retains the same great quality and functionality that Wexiodisk machines are renowned, yet without taking up unnecessary and valuable kitchen space.
Paul Crowley, Winterhalter UK: 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 won’t be an opportunity to pre-prepare heavily soiled pots and utensils with baked-on dirt for the washer. One solution is our TurboZyme process. This combines our UFL utensil washer with our VarioPower technology and ‘Crust Cracker’ chemical, to give operators fast cleaning, even with the most stubborn deposits — and there’s no need to pre-wash.