In any commercial kitchen, whether it be a simple family dinner or a celebrity chef’s Michelin-starred establishment, the dishwasher is and should be given as much importance as the fridges, the stove, and the oven. By tirelessly keeping plates, cups, mugs, forks, spoons, and knives in tip-top shape, one could even think of the dishwasher as the very heart of the restaurant, maintaining the flow of both cooking and eating utensils through the front and back of the house. Although dishwashing appliances might be too expensive for washing dishes at home, not even the best dishwashers will be able to work at 100% at the volume demands of commercial establishments and be able to maintain that performance consistently over an entire workday. For that reason, dishwashers are an absolute must.
But what kind of dishwasher should you choose for your restaurant? There is quite a wide range of commercial dishwashers available on the market today, coming in all shapes and sizes – we at Warewashing Solutions should know. In this article, we will be guiding you through a quick and simple guide to help you find the dishwasher that’s right for you.
What To Consider
Before you start looking, it is always helpful to start by asking yourself some guide questions. “What do I need in a dishwasher?” “How many dishes do I need it to clean, and how quickly do I need it done?” As you might already understand, different kitchens need different kinds of dishwashers. To simplify things, however, we’ve listed a few aspects of the dishwasher that will matter the most in your search:
- Capacity: Measured in racks per hour, it is a general indicator of the speed and performance of the dishwasher. The racks per hour measurement, however, depends on other factors, such as the size of the racks, the number of racks the dishwasher can hold per cycle, and the cycle time (which itself depends on whether the wash cycle is a light, medium, or heavy wash).
- Features: Thanks to modern technology, the dishwashers of today now come with a bunch of new features. This can range from visible ones like sleek user interfaces with high-resolution digital displays, or internal upgrades like energy- and water-saving techniques that help you save on operational costs in the long run. Others still can come with internal sensors that can be used for diagnostic and maintenance purposes, such as giving out alerts when the filter needs cleaning or if it’s running out of detergent.
- Usability: Features such as what we’ve previously mentioned might be nice to have, but they add complexity to the dishwasher and can make it difficult to use for some people. Be sure to check with your kitchen staff so that they are aware of and understand how to use the dishwasher you plan to get.
- Power Consumption: Although modern dishwashers do come with power-saving solutions, they still require a lot of power to get up and running. Most dishwashers require at least 220 Volts and at least 20 Amps of current. This means that the dishwasher will require access to three-phase AC. Be sure to consult your local electrician regarding the installation requirements of your dishwasher.
- Operational Temperature: Dishwashers are usually designed to operate with high or low-temperature water. High-temp dishwashers make use of heaters to get the water up to about 85 degrees C to properly sanitize dishes going through a wash cycle; this additional heating will result in a higher utility bill as the heating element is usually powered by either electricity or gas. Low-temp dishwashers instead make use of chemicals to sanitize dishes, and these chemicals will need to be refilled every so often.
- Price: As with any other kitchen appliance, the price is always a major concern when you’re shopping around for a dishwasher. You will have to take account all of the dishwasher’s properties we’ve discussed and seen how that will fit into your budget for both the short-term (buying the dishwasher itself) and the long-term (later maintenance and repairs).
What’s Out There
Now that you know what separates Dishwasher X from Dishwasher Y, it’s time to get to know your options. Dishwashers on the market today tend to fall into one of four designs: flight-type, under-counter, door-type, and conveyor-type. There are also a couple of ware washers designed specifically for utensils and glasses, respectively. With that said, let’s get into the details:
These dishwashers guide dish racks on a conveyor belt through the washer unit where they undergo a wash and rinse cycle before coming out the other end. Conveyor-type dishwashers can come in various sizes, with larger variants adding a pre-wash section that removes food particles before entering the wash area. These washers are great for large restaurants and cafeterias, with the ability to wash over 200 racks per hour.
These dishwashers are the most compact of the group, and as the name implies, can be installed under a counter like a residential dishwasher. Befitting of their size, they have the lowest power consumption and the lowest capacity with an average of about 30 racks per hour on a light wash cycle. They also happen to be the cheapest option, which makes them great for smaller establishments that don’t have a lot of dishes going through constantly.
Door-type dishwashers are compact, free-standing dishwashers similar to under-counter units, except that they are loaded by lifting the dishwasher door up to access the interior, unlike under-counter washers that are loaded from the front. Door-type washers are taller than under-counter units, with an average capacity of about 40 racks per hour.
Just by size alone, flight-type commercial dishwashers dwarf all others in the market. They resemble conveyor-type dishwashers in most respects, but instead of a simple wash-rinse cycle, they take dishes through a thorough, multi-stage process that makes dirty dishes come out the other side looking as good as new. Their size and conveyor-like loading allow for massive warewashing capacity, with certain models capable of cleaning well over 10,000 dishes per hour. This size and power, though, comes at a price – one much higher than all of the other dishwashers we’ve covered, which makes them suitable only for kitchens that work with very large amounts of dishes.
Glasswashers and Utensil Washers
These specialized dishwashers are designed to clean their namesake wares with a higher degree of rigor compared to more general-purpose washers. Glasswashers are designed to work with delicate glasses and cups, while utensil washers are geared for removing any caked-in gunk on cooking utensils, pots, and pans.
As we’ve said earlier, no one dishwasher is good for every restaurant. That is why you will have to do a bit of research, so you know exactly what sort of dishwasher you need. If you are every stumped, however, we at Warewashing Solutions are here to help. We offer only the highest quality commercial-grade ware-washers and kitchen equipment for all establishments throughout Australia, as well as top-of-the-line maintenance and customer support, so your equipment is sure to last you for many years to come.
Call us at 1300-217-411 and get your kitchen decked out today!