A commercial dishwasher is one of the most important items of equipment in a catering establishment and is the most labor saving device a catering enterprise can invest in. There is a wealth of choice when it comes to buying a commercial dishwasher. There are many different versions and makes of models. Many have cycles that are as fast as a mere two minutes, which means that over five hundred dishes can be washed and dried per hour.
When it comes to choosing which commercial dishwasher to buy, an often asked question is: can the same machine be used to wash both glasses and dishes. The simple answer to this question is yes, it can. In fact, many smaller establishments use combined glass and dishwasher machines as they can not afford to buy separate units and space can often be at a premium. Neverheless, there can be potential pitfalls to be aware of if using just one combined machine. Glassware has a shorter washing time than crockery and this means that washing glasses on a longer cycle is not energy efficient. If dirty crockery and glassware are washed together, than food debris from the tableware can cause spotting and smearing on the glassware. You should also be aware of the effects of the pre-rinse cycle to clear food waste and also extremely hot cycles, which could damage glassware.
Glass washers are traditionally compact front-loading machines and are useful in establishments where space is limited, as the maximum basket size is around 400mm x 400mm. Wash cycles are very fast, including a rapid turnaround of glassware, so avoiding the need for high stock levels. Next we have cabinet dishwashers, which are similar in design to glass washers and are also ideal where space is at a premium. Moving up a level, we have a pull-down hood model, which is faster and more powerful than a cabinet washer. Dishes are normally manually loaded into a rack, then pre-rinsed over a sink. While one rack of soiled plates and dishes is being washed, another rack can be loaded and a third rack can be unloaded. Therefore, a continuous cycle of washing can be maintained, although obviously some manual input is required.
Trading up a size, we then have rack conveyor commercial dishwashers. Baskets of dirty dishes are transported on a conveyor belt, which passes through the machine on different wash cycles, starting with a pre-rinse, followed by a hot wash and rinse. The belt comes out the other side of the conveyor and the crockery is then ready for emptying. Finally, we have flight dishwashers which are similar to conveyor machines but are larger. These machines are designed to cope with very large volumes of dirty tableware, for example such as would be found in a hospital, college or exhibit center kitchen.
When choosing your commercial dishwasher, it is important not to underestimate the capacity of the machine you will require. Some businesses make the mistake of looking at the overall daily amount and purchasing a washer based on that figure. However, this does not take into account peak demand at times when prompt replenishment of stock is required. Furthermore, simply buying a machine based on your current needs does not make any for any potential increase in your business.