Warewashing is a vital component of every commercial kitchen, but there is always a lot to think about when it comes to choosing and operating the right set-up.
1. A site survey will help you maximise the kitchen space you have to create the optimum warewashing area.
New dishwashing technology is reshaping the modern dishwash to make the best use of space, meaning operators must first understand how the new technology can help them.
A site survey is required after you have enough information to make an informed decision about what type of dishwashing equipment you will be needing.
2. Dishwash areas fail if they are not planned properly and the flow of the wash items isn’t properly considered.
The key is getting a good design that flows smoothly, without staff crossing over each other while carrying or pushing heavy loads of dirty crockery.
Flow though, is just one element of kitchen design and we need to remember that elements of that design can change in priority.
Food waste handling now is so much more important than it used to be and the new design may need to adjust to the priority on site, which could include new items of equipment such as a separate food waste processing system or even just extra floor space for bins to collect waste for compost.
3. The latest generation of machines all boast efficient steam or heat recovery functionality offer the kind of flexibility that once wasn’t available.
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, beside getting some energy back, is that is 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.
4. Choose a dishwasher that can accommodate future growth.
Operators clearly need to avoid over-speccing, but if the business is growing then the dishwash needs to accommodate that. But this is just one factor that needs considering when sizing up a dishwashing machine.
There is a traditional method of taking the number of covers and then adding some arithmetic to get to a maximum number of plates/glasses per hour capacity.
That might still work for a drink-led bar, but the introduction of new technologies such as reverse osmosis water treatment which produces sparkling clean glassware and cutlery with a hand-polished finish is influencing how dishwashers are chosen.
5. Running a dishwasher on a full load for each cycle gets the most out of your investment.
This is certainly the ideal scenario. All the figures for efficiency go out the window when a dishwash 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: 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.
Maybe a wash rack designed to hold three or four bowls might help, or maybe a flight machine with a peg belt would have been a better choice, or maybe a different bowl? When it comes to racks, there is a choice of inserts and specialist racks to wash virtually any shape pot, pan or crockery dish ever invented.
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 www.meiko-uk.co.uk