A clever way to lift food sales and safety

For venues set across multiple levels the dumbwaiter can prove invaluable


IN hospitality, there are many elements behind the scenes which, when operating optimally, blend seamlessly into the background. One such example is the so-called dumbwaiter – a trade workhorse that can save staff time and reduce the chance of accidents.

That was the message from service and goods lift manufacturers, who told SLTN that for on-trade venues operating across multiple floors, a dumbwaiter can prove invaluable.

Craig Stevenson, branch manager of Stannah in Scotland, said: “If you have premises with service happening across one or multiple different levels to your working kitchen, then you most definitely need a dumbwaiter service lift.

“It offers multiple advantages to your chefs, service staff, customers and even your premises.

“Your lift means you reduce spillages, food stays hot as the lift can be heated and it reduces the need for staff to carry covers over stairways. Less toing and froing to the kitchen means the walkways are left clear for your customers and everyone can enjoy the ambience of a vibrant, but not manic atmosphere.”

Stevenson added that, overall, the use of a dumbwaiter improves health and safety “and you will be addressing your operator responsibilities by meeting or exceeding the manual handling regulations”.

The right piece of kit can also extend the physical capabilities of business, according to Simon Morgan of service and goods lifts manufacturer Husbands, who said: “A multi-floor dumbwaiter enables a venue to serve floors that would previously be considered too far away from the kitchen. We have seen a number of venues open upper floors for private parties.”

It can also be tailored to suit the venue, offering various benefits during a busy service.

Morgan said: “A modern dumbwaiter comes with a host of options. Food can be kept warm in transit by fitting a heated shelf. Additional shelves can be fitted to optimise use of the space inside the lift car.

If you have premises with service happening across different levels, you need a dumbwaiter.

“One of the most common options is an intercom so that the kitchen can speak directly to the restaurant service staff – therefore [there is] no need to shout down the stairs.”

With so many options to tailor a dumbwaiter to an individual premises, there are various considerations to take into account before ordering, reckons Stevenson of Stannah.

He said: “Once you’ve decided to explore installing food lifts, the main consideration is the day-to-day service in your venue.

“Is it all day, every day? Is it only evenings? Do you cater for events? Answering these questions will dictate what size and how many lifts would improve your business efficiency.

“Our service lifts can be installed at floor level for use with trolleys and/or at waist height for convenient service ease.”

Morgan of Husbands agreed that operators must consider their individual requirements prior to order and installation.

For example, he said that the space available on site must be taken into account.

“Width, depth and headroom are three important factors dictating the size of the lift that can be fitted,” said Morgan.

“The size of crockery, trays and other goods should be considered in order to select the right model.”

Above all, however, both Stevenson and Morgan stressed the importance of working with a trustworthy manufacturer with a proven track record.

Stevenson of Stannah said: “Using a reputable supplier who appreciates your reliance on your lifts and provides a local maintenance nationwide is essential for your peace of mind.”

This was echoed by Morgan of Husbands, who said: “Using an established manufacturer ensures a team of trained engineers are available for repairs and maintenance works. This ensures lifts are kept in perfect condition. Restaurants require quick call outs 24/7 and only the established manufacturers can provide this service, together with a full inventory of spare parts.”

Improving health & safety

Each year more than a third of all work-related illnesses reported to the Health and Safety Executive or local authorities are due to manual handling.

The risk to your staff increases each time service occurs; if that service involves manually carrying hot food over stairways, your risk is unreasonable for your staff.

The use of a service lift can reduce all those journeys and improve customer service.

– Stannah