When customers visit the on-trade they expect high standards – from the quality of the liquid to the cleanliness of the crockery or glass – so it’s essential that operators can rely on their cleaning equipment to get the job done.
While exact requirements may vary from outlet to outlet, equipment manufacturers say there are some key considerations for any operator to help them ensure their crockery or glassware doesn’t let them down.
Derek Maher, managing director of equipment supplier Crystal Tech, said the ideal warewasher will vary from venue to venue.
“A busy managed house will need a machine with a higher specification and more robust build whilst a cheaper machine will be perfectly adequate for a tenancy,” said Maher.
Bob Wood of DC Warewashing & Icemaking Systems agreed that operators should assess their venue’s needs when purchasing a warewasher – making sure to purchase the right equipment for all occasions.
“Make sure the machine is capable of handling not just the everyday demand but peak periods too,” said Wood.
“If you are thinking of expanding your operation in the near future take this into consideration now.”
There’s more than an initial outlay to consider when purchasing a washer. Wood said operators should consider the long-term cost of operating their new kit.
“Think running costs,” he said. “Once you’ve taken the leap and purchased your shiny new machine you don’t want to be lumbered with expensive ongoing costs. So make sure that the machine you have is double skinned and preferably insulated to keep heat in and costs down. Make sure it comes with automatic dosing units, as small a wash tank as possible and a low per-cycle water usage.”
When it comes to reducing cost, keeping your warewasher working for as long as possible is key.
Paul Crowley, marketing development manager for Winterhalter, said there are several ways operators can extend the life of their equipment.
“Often the longevity of a piece of equipment is compromised by incorrect operation by staff,” he said.
“To minimise mistakes choose a glasswasher/warewasher that is easy to operate.”
Crowley advised operators to always follow manufacturers instructions when it comes to both maintenance and maintaining hygiene, although he did suggest some things to look out for when purchasing to make these tasks easier.
“Full stainless steel construction, curved interior corners and flat heating elements, instead of traditional ‘kettle-style’ ones – all these make cleaning easier,” he said.
One quality that’s crucial in a glass or warewasher is speed, as highlighted by Simon Frost, chair of the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA).
“Machines are rated on the number of racks they can wash per hour,” said Frost.
“However, while a machine with a washcycle of 60 seconds could in theory handle 60 racks an hour, in reality it will be lower, as staff need time to remove and replace the racks.
“The standard practice is to assume 70% efficiency – in other words, if a machine is theoretically capable of washing 60 racks per hour, assume you will be able to wash 42,” he said.
It’s not just quality washers that are required to deliver high standards, but the glassware (or crockery) itself, according to Gill Head of Artis.
“Often overlooked, but really very important, glassware can make a big difference to the look of your bar,” said Head. “The correct choice of glassware will depend on the sort of bar you are and your drinks menu.
“Sounds obvious, but you would never serve a cocktail in a pint glass, but getting glassware right can be a lot more subtle than that.”
Stuart Campbell of Instock agreed on the importance of glassware, and said it is important to strike the right balance between price and durability.
“Glassware selection in regards to durability is very much a matter of preference and budget,” he said.
“Glassware with a rolled edge on the lip and a thicker base will be more suited to heavy handling but might not go hand in hand with the image that your establishment wishes to convey. In this matter a conversation really is best had with an industry professional to advise.”