The foodservice industry is facing ever-increasing demands to improve hygiene and sanitation. Dishes should consistently be clean for customers (and regulators) to feel safe and assured. The right solution for your dishwashing needs addresses these concerns while keeping operations smooth and efficient. Below is a quick guide to help you set up commercial dishwashers in your kitchen.
There are three common types of commercial dishwashers — under bench, pass through, and conveyor dishwashers. What are these, and which one do you need?
- Under Bench Dishwasher
Compact in size, under bench dishwashers fit in small to medium-sized kitchens. It is a popular choice for bars, coffeeshops, and similar establishments. It can clean up to 500 dishes per hour in cycles of around 3 minutes, faster than its domestic counterpart.
Under bench dishwashers come in different sizes to maximize the use of small spaces. Variants dedicated to glass, dishes, or cutlery are available to match the food establishment’s needs. A neighborhood coffee shop may operate two dishwashers. One specialized for glass, and one that can handle both utensils and plates.
- Pass Through Dishwasher
Pass through dishwashers operates similarly to its under-bench counterpart. The differentiating design feature is to allow faster loading of pre-rinsed dishes. When installed beside a sink with an overhead spray system, the user slides the dish rack and pulls the hood down. Move the cleaned dishes to the other side when done. Everyone can appreciate that there is no need to bend down. Cleans 600 – 1200 plates per hour.
One thing to pass through dishwashers is to check for water pressure control. Wine glasses are fragile, and sturdier plates may have stubborn grease. Different water pressure settings are needed to clean both properly.
- Conveyor Dishwasher
High-volume dishes need automated solutions. Mass catering, hotels, even airports use conveyor dishwashers for faster cleaning of large quantities. Premium models feature a drying system that makes dishes ready in minutes. It can easily process beyond 1700 plates per hour.
There’s no need to move dish racks manually. The conveyor system does it efficiently by automatically moving them through a large chamber, managing hundreds of racks each hour. With this, it is critical to select a solution or brand known to be reliable and durable. Breakdowns can be a headache.
The setup requires proper planning and major financial investment. But long term savings can be significant.
Outside dish volume and kitchen space, there are other considerations in selecting the model of your dishwasher. Brands have different models for each type. It helps to know what other features you need to look for to address your kitchen’s unique conditions.
All commercial dishwashers demand good and reliable water pressure to get the job done. Without sufficient water pressure, expect compromise in performance. Use dishwasher models with a built-in rinse booster pump if your kitchen has insufficient water pressure. It is also possible to add external pumps.
One way to check water pressure is to cover with your thumb the spout of the tap. Turn on the water. If the thumb was enough to stop the water from coming out, you need booster pumps. As dishwasher models vary, consulting specialists is always an option when in doubt.
Hardness of Water
Do your clear glasses appear cloudy after emerging from your dishwasher? Possible cause is the hardness of the water. Hard water contains calcium or magnesium, which affects the performance of your dishwasher. Limescale buildup can cause your machine to fail.
To avoid this problem, check the hardness of the water before your machine purchase. Check your water company or use test kits if available. If you are in an area with hard water, choose from dishwasher models with water softeners. This function breaks down calcium carbonate even before entering your machine. Dishwashers with this feature require “water softener regeneration salt”. Dishwasher salt may be added manually or automatically outside operating hours, depending on the model. Premium models alert users when salt needs to be added.
Cleaning all those dishes will produce dirty water, and this requires proper drainage. Dishwashers connect their waste outlet to the drain standpipe with a hose. Some dishwasher models have integrated drain pumps to push the water out. Some setups may require fitting external pumps.
If the dishwasher’s waste outlet is higher than the drain standpipe, gravity alone can be enough for efficient drainage. One method to increase the elevation of the waste outlet is to use a proper dishwasher stand.
Standard electrical outlets can power smaller commercial dishwashers. Bigger ones need more power and water. Can your kitchen accommodate these? Can you fit an exhaust hood in your target area to help manage steam?
Larger dishwashers demand significant investments to install. This part is best entrusted to specialists for accurate assessment and better budget management.
There are other points that you may want to consider. It may be peak hour capacity, manpower requirement, or even warranty coverage. Will a trained staff operate it as your or a weekend helper? These are unique to your operational needs so feel free to add them to your list.
You are now equipped with a basic understanding of commercial dishwashers. The next step is to look for solutions that best match your needs. Go for the product that is recommended by the industry. It should also be properly represented in your locality. In Australia, commercial dishwashers by Winterhalter are among the most trusted brands. It’s available and well supported throughout the country.
If you’re still unsure of your optimum solution, it’s best to consult specialists who can recommend the ideal setup for your business.