An expert’s opinion should always be sought out when it comes to installing warewashing equipment in a commercial kitchen, whether it be as part of a new venture in the foodservice industry or as an upgrade or refurbishment.
When exploring what equipment is out there and, more importantly, which equipment is best suited to the needs of the business, the fundamental question is: ‘will it do the right job?’ Ultimately, warewashing machines should make doing the job easier in an ergonomic way, as well as being chemical, energy and utility efficient.
With such a wide range of models on the market, thorough research should always be carried out beforehand to determine which type of appliance will be most beneficial to the businesses’ specific needs.
For example, some machines are free-standing and designed to go under a counter ideal for small spaces, but they might not benefit the user if they have a high throughput, with staff having to constantly bend down to open a door which blows out a face full of steam. In addition, strenuous bending and lifting can make the job more difficult and even affect the user’s physical health.
An efficient alternative to an under counter appliance is a pass-through model with specially designed inlet and outlet tables. These are much quicker and easier to use as baskets and are designed to be pushed through a machine with sinks for pre-washing and pot washing.
Moreover, pass-through equipment that incorporates twin sink bowls can be an excellent stopgap if the machine malfunctions.
Stainless steel fabrication specialists design and build their own dishwasher tabling with sinks and hand wash basins to suite specific spaces. They also feature drain racks, scrap holes, bin voids and drop-off gantries to provide a more streamlined dishwashing operation in commercial kitchens across the UK.
Larger operators, on the other hand, can turn to more heavy-duty machinery that incorporates specialist racks and conveyors as well as utensil washers for holding utensils, trays and gastronorm containers. They can then be bead blasted to remove burnt on deposits which normal dishwashers struggle to eliminate, while also reducing manual scrubbing and scouring.
With the choice of warewashing equipment being so varied, an expert can help advise on the correct type of machines along with correct electrical power, drainage and water supplies.
Careful consideration should especially be given to the drainage filtration systems of the equipment in order to ensure food debris and particles are easily collected and disposed of. Failing to check whether filtration systems are adequate could prove reckless, as the slightest blockage could become very costly to clear and even cause an interruption in production, not to mention damaging the machine’s water waste pumps.
Ideally, the machines should come equipped with specially shaped interiors that are easier to clean and have end of normal use wash rinse cycles to help keep their interiors clean.
The water quality entering the machine should also go through optimised filtration filters and water softeners should be correctly specified and installed following water quality tests.
Most warewashing manufacturers supply detergent and rinse aid chemicals that pair with a specific machine, which should always be the preferred choice over cheaper consumable alternatives.
Additionally, beware of the fatberg! Always make sure the machine does not allow fats, oils and grease to enter the sewerage system, as this can be devastating. The preferred model should be fitted with a grease interceptor and separation system which removes fats, oils and grease from the machine’s drain waste.
Finally, when acquiring warewashing equipment, it’s crucial to ensure that its aftercare service and maintenance is well managed from the supplier. After all, machines in general are only as good as the person who builds them.
It’s also beneficial to look into the possibility of taking out a ‘Planned Preventative Maintenance’ contract, which will ensure the machines are always operating at peak performance.
Overall, by consulting an expert for advice on what warewashing equipment to choose and where to site it, businesses can source the best choice possible from the complete range of machines available on the market.
By David Pedrette, managing director of Target Catering Equipment, a family-run business that has been providing quality, bespoke catering equipment to the foodservice industry for over 30 years