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Not All Slicers Are Created Equal: How To Tell The Difference & What You Should Buy

Not All Slicers Are Created Equal: How To Tell The Difference & What You Should BuyA commercial slicer can quickly turn many of the products in your walk in into uniform, perfectly sliced pieces ready to serve, making your staff’s job very easy and improving the efficiency of your operation.  Slicers are usually used to cut meats, cheese, and eggs, among other things.  A commercial slicer consists of an electric motor, a metal base, and a feeder tray that moves product past a metal blade to produce a thin slice.

What Do You Want To Slice?

While the slicer itself is a pretty simple device, not all slicers are created equal, and you need to be careful when purchasing a slicer to avoid getting the wrong one.  It all comes down to what exactly you intend to slice.  That’s because different slicers have different capabilities, and if you try to slice something that’s too heavy for your slicer, you’ll end up with a burned out motor.

The problem is that you’ll almost always be tempted to get a standard or light duty slicer because they are significantly less expensive than larger, heavier duty slicers.  That’s perfectly fine if you just need to slice up some deli meat.  But if you need to slice any kind of cheese or frozen product, your poor slicer is going to bog down and burn out very quickly.  Here’s how to decide which kind of slicer is right for you based on the type of product you want to slice:

Heavier duty slicers also tend to have a larger blade, which allows you to slice larger product.  Make sure you size the blade diameter to the size of the product you want to slice.  All slicers allow you to adjust the thickness of the slice and should be NSF certified and have safety features like a knife guard.

Manual vs. Automatic Slicers

A manual slicer requires one of your staff to operate the feeder tray back and forth to run food product past the slicing blade.  Some manual slicers also feature a gravity fed feeder tray, which ensures the product is in the proper position to slice on each pass.Not All Slicers Are Created Equal: How To Tell The Difference & What You Should Buy

Automatic slicers feature an electrically powered pusher for independent operation.  If you’re slicing large amounts of product all at once, an automatic slicer is more convenient because it can slice continuously without constant staff assistance.

Slicer Cleaning & Maintenance

Slicers should be sanitized on a regular daily schedule using a properly mixed commercial sanitizing concentrate and water.  Many slicers have a built in sharpening stone that will keep the blade consistently sharp.  Of course, whenever your staff is working around an ultra-sharp blade whirring at a high speed, they should have cut resistant gloves on.

There are several moving parts in the feeder tray and carriage assemblies on a slicer that should be lubricated regularly to ensure smooth operation and improve the lifespan of the slicer.  Always use a food-grade lubricant for these tasks.  Over time and lots of use, parts of your slicer are going to wear out, most commonly the slicing blade and the drive belt (if applicable).  Fortunately the parts that most commonly wear out are also relatively easy to replace.  Search for slicer parts by manufacturer here.

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How Hybrid Water Heating Can Make Your Restaurant As Cool As A Prius

How Hybrid Water Heating Can Make Your Restaurant As Cool As A Prius

Every restaurant needs hot water, and most of that water usually ends up being used to clean dirty cookware and cooking equipment.  More than likely you get your hot water from a conventional gas-fired water heater with a 100 gallon or larger tank.  For years the standard strategy for hot water has been to heat a large tank of water so that a large amount of hot water is on demand whenever you need it.

As natural gas prices rise, however, and restaurants look for ways to improve their sustainability credentials, conventional large-tank water heaters have become more and more unattractive.  For starters, conventional water heaters usually suck up 20% – 25% of a restaurant’s energy bill, which means a very large chunk of change is going into keeping 100 gallons of water in your basement hot at all times.

Even if you follow efficient water heating best practices, you’re spending a lot of dough.  Traditional heaters are also not very good at conserving water, since it usually takes a couple gallons to flush out cooled water in the lines before hot water reaches the tap.

For these reasons, some restaurants have started moving towards tankless, on-demand electric water heaters.  It’s amazing how much energy you can save when you don’t have to constantly heat a large tank of water.  The downside is that a tankless heater that’s capable of handling the large-volume requirements of a restaurant are pretty expensive to purchase and install.  Even so, a restaurant would see a return on investment through energy savings within two or three years.

That means new restaurants or ones with remodeling plans are in the perfect position to go tankless.  The extra investment up front translates into more black on the bottom line a few years down the road, especially since energy prices are only going to go up, not down.

I know, I know, most restaurateurs out there are probably thinking: “I’m not going to drop some serious dough on water heaters when I’ve got so many other things to worry about.”  I completely understand.  But I also have a “hybrid” solution for those of you who want to reduce your energy bills but don’t have the cash to invest in full-on tankless water heaters.

The answer lies in point-of-use commercial water heaters and faucets that operate a lot like a tankless water heater.  The only difference is they don’t have the same high volume capacity.  Point-of-use heaters maximize your efficiency because they are relatively inexpensive to install and take a significant load off your conventional heater, which means that 100-gallon tank can focus on the big stuff like your dish machine in the kitchen.

For server stations, handwashing sinks, and back bars, a commercial point-of-use instant hot water dispenser or mini-tank (2-4 gallon) electric hot water heater will greatly improve your efficiency and reduce energy bills.  This is primarily because you won’t be wasting all that hot water that sits in the pipes leading to these outlying hot water points.

When the time comes to replace your conventional heater, you’ll be able to downsize, leading to further energy savings.  The up-front cost of point-of-use commercial water heaters is much less, which means your return on investment will happen much faster.  From an economic standpoint, it makes sense.  From a sustainability standpoint, it makes for a great marketing opportunity.  If you’re willing to invest a little, the benefits are there for the taking.

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Wire Shelving: What You Should Use Where In Your Restaurant

Restaurants always have a large amount of inventory to deal with.  Figuring out where to store this inventory while it awaits its turn on the cooking line can be a major headache.  One of your primary weapons in the storage battle is wire shelving.  Shelving units can be built to fit just about any space in your restaurant, and more than likely you’ve got some pretty odd-shaped areas you use for dry or cool storage.

The most important decision you need to make when buying wire shelving is which type to use in different locations and situations in your restaurant.  That’s because different types of shelving will perform better in different situations.  For example:

Wire Shelving: What You Should Use Where In Your Restaurant

Plated wire shelving is chrome plated.  It’s rust resistant and can handle up to 150 pounds per shelf.  Plated shelving is perfect for dry storage situations.  It’s affordable, durable, and can be fit with a caster set for easy mobility.  The one place plated wire shelving should NOT be used is in a walk in cooler.  This is because plated shelving is rust resistant, but it’s not rust proof.  As you already know, walk ins are a very moist environment.  It won’t be long before your walk in shelving is coated with rust.  Health inspectors tend to frown on that situation because rust particulates inevitably end up in food product.

Now I can’t tell you how many restaurant walk ins I have seen filled with plated wire shelving.  The basic fact is that plated shelving is less expensive than the alternative, at least initially.  But over time you’ll end up buying two or even three plated shelving sets for your walk in as opposed to one set of epoxy coated shelves, and you’ll be covering an important food safety issue at the same time.Wire Shelving: What You Should Use Where In Your Restaurant

Epoxy coated wire shelving is pretty self-explanatory: it’s wire shelving with an epoxy coat on it.  This shelving is rust proof, making it the essential shelving for use in walk ins.  It is more expensive than plated shelving, but as I’ve already said, that will probably work itself out over time.  The epoxy coating has been known to wear off over time, especially on shelves that have a lot of metal (cold pans, etc.) sliding around, but these individual shelves can be replaced pretty easily.

Both plated and epoxy shelving can handle about 150 pounds of stuff before they start to warp and bend.  If you need to store heavier items (like sacks of rice or potatoes), you need to go to a heavier hitter.  Wire Shelving: What You Should Use Where In Your RestaurantDunnage racks are perfect for this application.  These are 12” – 16” tall heavy duty shelves that are kind of built like a long foot stool.  They can handle a LOT of weight: up to 2,000 pounds in most cases.  They can also plug into your existing wire shelving system pretty easily: just leave out the bottom shelf and slide the dunnage rack in underneath.  The two most common materials used are plastic and aluminum, both good anti-rust materials, although I imagine plastic is a little better.

Caster sets are also a key component to any wire shelving unit.  That’s because sooner or later, you’re going to want to move shelves for cleaning.  The other nice thing about casters is they give your bottom shelf some extra clearance off the floor, which health inspectors like.  In general, you should always have 6” of clearance for cleaning under shelves, whether you’re in a walk in or in dry storage. Wire Shelving: What You Should Use Where In Your Restaurant

You’ll want expanding stem casters.  These casters fit into the round or square posts on your shelving units and then expand out to make a tight fit.  Also make sure two of the four casters have a brake so you can keep shelving from rolling around.

You need shelving to keep organized.  Just make sure you use the right shelving for the right situations, and that will save you a lot of headache further down the line.

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Is Your Restaurant Truly Family Friendly?

According to a recent survey by the National Restaurant Association (NRA), 75% of restaurants offer a children’s menu and another 6.25% are considering offering one.  Most restaurants understand the need to cater to young families and accommodate them in every way possible. Is Your Restaurant Truly Family Friendly?But is your restaurant really making your youngest customers and their parents feel at home?  Having a children’s menu should only be the start of your strategy to cater to families.  Restaurant high chairs, baby changing stations, and booster seats are all necessary tools in your arsenal when it comes to making all of your guests feel at home:

When I was a kid, restaurant high chairs were pretty basic, and usually an afterthought in the restaurant.  These days you have options when it comes to high chairs, and this important piece of furniture can actually complement your décor instead of taking away from it.  Wooden and plastic high chairs are available in a variety of styles and colors, allowing you to choose something that blends in and looks good.

Is Your Restaurant Truly Family Friendly?

Infant seat cradle holders are also another way to make any young family feel right at home in your restaurant.  They provide a convenient and safe stand for any car seat, and they’re available in a variety of colors.

Booster seats for slightly older kids don’t have to be an ugly chunk of plastic anymore either.  Wood finish booster seats, complete with safety strap, are a big improvement over the classic molded plastic model.  And if you want to stick with that classic molded version, at least you can choose from a variety of colors so they don’t have to stick out like a sore thumb.

Is Your Restaurant Truly Family Friendly?And for your restrooms, baby changing stations have pretty much become standard equipment, even in the men’s room.  Luckily companies like Koala are making a variety of configurations so that the baby changing station in your restrooms fits with the layout.  Choose from horizontal, vertical, and recessed versions that will fit almost any size wall, giving you flexibility when you add or replace the baby changing stations in your restaurant.

Being family friendly might start with the menu, but for your customers, the proof is in the pudding when it comes to anticipating and effectively accommodating their needs with the equipment that makes your establishment feel a little more like home.

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Commercial Dishwashers: High Temp vs. Low Temp & How To Size A New Unit

Commercial Dishwashers:  High Temp vs. Low Temp & How To Size A New UnitAre you a high temp person or a low temp person?  It seems like most restaurants have either one type of commercial dishwasher or the other, and the owner/manager is a big believer in one or the other, with very little crossover between the two.  No matter which side you come down on, there are some clear advantages to high temp dishwashers, and even if you’ve sworn that low temp is the way to go, some hard truths about low temp dishwashers may very well change your mind.

First things first: what are high temp and low temp? These two terms refer to the sanitation cycle of the dishwasher.  High temp commercial dishwashers use an internal heater to heat water to 180 degrees Fahrenheit in order to kill any germs and effectively remove grease from dishes.  Low temp commercial dishwashers rely on a chemical bath to sanitize dishes.

Here’s a quick rundown of the benefits and drawbacks of each:

High temperature dishwashers:

  • Use heat to sanitize dishes and glassware
  • Must achieve 180 degrees Fahrenheit to meet NSF regulations
  • Use slightly more energy than a low temp dishwasher
  • Do not require the regular purchase of chemicals
  • Do not damage flatware and plastics
  • Dishes flash dry at the end of the wash cycle, reducing food safety risks
  • High temp dishwashers usually wash dishes faster

Low temperature dishwashers:

  • Use a chemical bath to sanitize dishes and glassware
  • Are not as effective at removing grease
  • Are slightly more energy efficient than high temp models, however, they use more water and deposit chemicals into drainage systems
  • Can damage flatware and plastics
  • Require you to purchase chemicals on a monthly basis

Those in the low temp camp argue that the cost of chemicals for a low temp dishwasher is much less than the increased energy savings versus a high temp unit.  The initial purchase cost is usually less as well.
While this may be true, the main factor to consider when you are trying to decide between a low or high temp dishwasher is the damage to flatware, plastics, and dinnerware that might occur with a low temp model because of the sanitation chemicals used.

How To Size A Commercial Dishwasher

Buying the right sized dishwasher is critical to your kitchen or bar’s ability to keep up with demand.  Most dishwasher manufacturers list the number of racks per hour a particular model can process.

In general, racks can hold 18 dishes or 36 glasses.Commercial Dishwashers:  High Temp vs. Low Temp & How To Size A New Unit

Calculate how many dishes you generate per hour and then weigh that number against the number of racks the dishwasher you’re looking at can handle.

When calculating how many racks you need to wash per hour, consider the following factors:

  • About 35 racks of dishes are produced for every 100 meals served
  • Your dish machine should be able to easily handle peak demand volume like Valentine’s Day dinner rush
  • Dish machines have a 5 – 10 year lifespan, so add 10% – 20% capacity for future growth

Also don’t forget to account for dishes created in the kitchen.  In general, most restaurants need a door type dishwasher to accommodate pots and pans and other things that need washing in the kitchen.  Door type dishwashers can typically handle 100-150 racks per hour, making them perfect for the dinner rush in most small and medium sized establishments.

Make sure you take future growth into account!  A dishwasher should have about a 10 year life, and in that time your business should be growing.  If you purchase some extra capacity at the beginning, you’ll save yourself some time later on.

For more on commercial dishwashers, check out these links:

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Commercial Reach In Refrigerators: Know What To Buy

Commercial Reach In Refrigerator Buying GuideCommercial Reach In Refrigerators: Know What To Buy

Commercial reach in refrigerators are generally used in restaurants for short term food and ingredient storage, as opposed to large walk-ins that store bulk items long term. The commercial reach in refrigerators available through eTundra.com are built for heavy duty use and have a more powerful compressor than residential refrigerators.

More horsepower means a refrigerator’s storage space cools quickly and stays cold despite constant door opening.  This is vital for food safety, and NFS regulations require commercial kitchens to store food products at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bottom vs. Top Mounted Compressors

The compressor is the engine of a commercial reach in refrigerator.  Keeping this engine working effectively and efficiently requires a combination of maintenance and environment.  Some compressors work better in certain environments than others, and purchasing the right unit for the job and location you have in mind is an important decision.

Commercial reach-in refrigerators are made with either a top or bottom mounted compressor.  Top mounted and bottom mounted compressors have advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to make your purchasing decision based on where and how you plan to use the refrigerator.

Bottom mounted reach ins:

  • Are more efficient in hot environments because the compressor is on the floor, where it is cooler
  • Feature an ergonomic storage space with more accessible shelving than top mounted units
  • Should not be used where lots of flour (like a bakery) or dust is present as the compressor will clog easily

Top mounted reach ins:

  • Have better compressor airflow than a bottom mounted unit, making them more efficient.  However, this only applies in a cooler environment
  • Perform better in dusty environments or where a lot of flour is present (like a bakery)

Size and Insulation

Commercial reach in refrigerators come in three configurations: one door, two door, and three door.  Doors can also be halved for more compartmentalized storage.  When considering what size reach in refrigerator is right for your commercial kitchen, keep in mind that the larger the unit, the more energy it will consume.

Energy Star has begun rating commercial reach in refrigerators.  Use the Energy Star guide to identify units that are the most energy efficient.

Of course, energy usage must be weighed against the amount of storage space you need.  Probably the most efficient way to organize your refrigerated storage space is in gradually smaller units the closer you get to the hottest part of the kitchen: the production line.

Start with a walk in for bulk storage, then a two or three door reach in refrigerator stocked with daily or weekly supplies, and finish with a one door reach in refrigerator nearest the line for quick and easy access by kitchen staff.

All commercial reach in refrigerators have thick insulation to maximize efficiency and cool air holding power.  Stainless steel interiors are more expensive than aluminum or galvanized ones, but are stain and rust resistant, can withstand heavy use, and are much easier to clean and sanitize.

Commercial Reach In Refrigerator Maintenance

Most commercial reach in refrigerators are designed for heavy duty use and should perform at a high level for many years.  However, a few very simple preventive maintenance tasks will help ensure that your reach in refrigerator is working effectively and efficiently.

Keep the compressor and coils clean.  The coils are usually black tubes that are packed together on the outside of the refrigerator on the back side.  Wipe dust and dirt off coils and the compressor regularly to maximize life cycle and efficiency.

Make sure the compressor fan has good airflow.  A partially blocked or very dirty compressor fan must work harder to cool the refrigerant in your reach in, shortening it’s life

Replace worn door gaskets.  All commercial reach ins have thick self-sealing gaskets on their doors to make sure cold air can’t escape from the unit.  Over time, these gaskets wear out and lose their effectiveness.  A good indication your door gaskets need replacing is the constant presence of frost on shelves and food products.

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Two Levels Of Oven Mitt

Maintaining a safe work environment for your kitchen staff is always one of your priorities.  One of the most common injuries besides knife cuts is probably burns from hot cookware or hot surfaces on cooking equipment.

The problem with garden variety oven mitts is they aren’t NSF certified, which means they can become mediums for transmitting food borne illnesses to your employees and customers.

I know what you’re thinking: it’s just an oven mitt, right?  As long as nobody gets burned while wearing it, what’s the big deal?

Companies like Tucker BurnGuard have taken the oven mitt to a whole new level, and the results are pretty impressive.  Tucker gloves are NSF certified for personal and food safety, and different Tucker gloves are specialized for specific tasks in your commercial kitchen.

Two Levels Of Oven Mitt

The Tucker Steam Glove

The Steam Glove protects in wet or oily jobs up to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.  These gloves also feature a SteamGuard material that protects the wearer from hot vapor and water.  They are of course waterproof and have a rough texture for easy gripping in wet conditions.

Two Levels Of Oven Mitt

The Tucker SiliGlove

The SiliGlove is a silicone glove with heat protection up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  The removable liner can be dishwasher cleaned and the glove itself is anti-bacterial.  These three-finger gloves are 18” long and offer full heat protection plus superior food safety.

Two Levels Of Oven Mitt

The Tucker Quick Klean Mitt

Quick Klean mitts are the ultimate combination of heat protection and food safety.  Standard cotton gloves get wet and grimy and can transmit bacteria.  These mitts are easily cleaned and have removable liner that can also be cleaned for maximum sanitation.

Buying Tucker oven mitts for your restaurant is going to be more expensive than buying standard cotton ones.  However, the improvements in staff safety and food safety can make up the difference between a cheapie and a Tucker mitt.  There’s also something to be said about the durability of a well made mitt.  These Tucker mitts probably last through two or three life cycles of regular cotton mitts.

How has your experience been with Tucker oven mitts?  Is the price worth the quality?  Leave a comment below and let us know!

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Commercial Food Processors: Know What To Buy

Food processors and mixers have evolved considerably in the past decade to become more versatile and more powerful; meaning, they can satisfy a growing number of food preparation tasks in greater capacities.

A food processor has a central motor, usually self contained, that drives a shaft to which a blade or other cutting implement is affixed.

Food is either processed in a bowl for sauces, soups, or finely diced vegetables, or through a continuous feed chute that allows sliced or shredded vegetables to be ejected quickly into bins.

What to Look For When Purchasing a Food Processor

  • Be sure to size your new food processor to the task. If you overwork the processor by constantly pushing its capacity, you could shorten its lifespan and effectiveness. Manufacturers usually list this information for each model.
  • Some units have more than one bowl size, allowing you to change the capacity according to what you are processing.  This is especially useful if you have medium and small size processing tasks.
  • Variable speed units are more versatile and can handle foods of different densities.
  • Look for units that come with multiple attachments. The more attachments a unit has, the more food preparation tasks it can perform in your commercial kitchen or restaurant.
  • Safety features that prevent kitchen staff injury, especially with new or untrained help. The most common is an automatic shut-off feature.

Types of Food Processors

Commercial Food Processors: Know What To Buy

Robot Coupe R2B CLR

The most important factor in choosing the correct food processor is to select a machine that is right for the type and quantity of food you want to process.

  • For maximum versatility, a Blixer, or combination mixer and blender, is ideal, with emulsifying and liquefying options that can blend sauces and soups without too much aeration plus the normal chopping and grinding features of a food processor.
  • Bowl mixers chop or grind relatively small amounts of core ingredients like garlic, shallots, or basil.
  • Combination models feature a variety of cutting blades and can perform multiple tasks, such as slicing, shredding, kneading dough, and julienne, plus normal chopping and grinding functions.
  • Vegetable prep models have a continuous feed chute that allows you to chop, dice, shred, grate, or julienne large amounts of vegetables at a time.
  • Heavy duty floor blixers and food processors are designed for large operations and can mix, blend, or process up to 1,200 lbs. per hour.
  • Vertical cutter mixers feature a continuous feed chute and a large capacity stainless steel bowl, have a variety of blade attachments, and can process larger volumes than a standard bowl mixer.

Caring For Your Food Processor

Food processors should last seven to ten years if used and maintained properly.  Typically, a food processor does not require much maintenance, since the motor is usually a sealed unit.

However, a few basic steps can be taken to maximize your food processor’s life:

  • Wash food processor bowls, attachments, blades, covers, and pushers regularly.  Most are dishwasher safe.
  • Always use the food pusher that comes with your unit to guide food into the processor.  Not only is it unsafe to use other objects or hands, but damage to the unit could also result.
  • Don’t overload the machine. It’s important to size the processor according to the types and quantities of foods you wish to process.  Too small of a machine or one without enough horsepower for more dense foods will not last as long or work as efficiently as a larger one.
  • Blades and attachments become dull over time and should be replaced.

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Two Products That Will Really Help Your Food Safety Efforts

I want to talk about some products that can really help your food safety efforts:

1.  Stainless steel 1/6 pans for your prep table coolers. Stainless is a much better conductor  than plastic, so Two Products That Will Really Help Your Food Safety Effortskeep your foods in them and it will help you avoid critical cold holding violations from the health department.  Additionally, do the following:

  • Ensure that foods are 41 F or below BEFORE placing them in cold holding units.  These types of coolers are designed to hold cold foods, not to cool them.
  • Do not overfill inserts.  Mounding foods is a near guarantee that the top portion rises in temperature.
  • Keep the pivot lid closed during slow periods.  I regularly see open lids during afternoon slow periods, and foods are warming up unnecessarily.

2.  Additional epoxy wire shelving for your walk-in coolers. I often observe shelves in walk-ins with considerable unused vertical space between the shelves.  In a walk-in, this is wasted space that you can easily reclaim for the one time expense of adding shelving.  And if you’re going to buy new shelving, make sure it’s epoxy coated.  This prevents rust from forming and keeps your shelves clean.

Two Products That Will Really Help Your Food Safety EffortsThink about these examples:

  • If you normally cool foods in several 2” pans, then install shelves close enough for the pans to slide in side by side.Two Products That Will Really Help Your Food Safety Efforts
  • If you store vegetables in 6” food storage boxes, then install your shelves close enough for them to slide them in side by side:  Two Products That Will Really Help Your Food Safety Efforts

I hope you are visualizing your walk-in cooler and considering how you can maximize your space.  Installing extra shelving eliminates the tendency to stack containers and will ensure airflow around each container.

Just so you know, this is not just a theory to me … I have customers who have successfully done this, solving longstanding cooling and cold holding problems in their walk-in coolers.

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Is Your Restaurant’s Commercial Dish Machine Efficient?

Commercial dishwashers are energy hogs, pure and simple.  There’s no way to get around it, and the best you can do is try to mitigate the costs associated with dishwashing by employing a few effective strategies.Is Your Restaurant’s Commercial Dish Machine Efficient?

Wash full racks only. It’s so obvious it almost seems dumb to say, but train your kitchen staff to never, ever, run anything less than a full rack through the dish machine.  The temptation to run the dishwasher half full is much greater than you might realize, and it’s a colossal waste of energy.

Is Your Restaurant’s Commercial Dish Machine Efficient?Check water temperature. Use a dishwasher thermometer to check the temperature of the water during the rinse cycle on a regular basis.  This is especially important for high temp dishwashers, as you want to ensure you are hitting 180 degrees Fahrenheit on every cycle.  However, a temp check will also help kitchens with a low temp dishwasher because often the unit runs water that is too hot, and the water temp can be turned down to save energy.

Booster heaters, internal tank heaters, and commercial water heaters can all be adjusted to optimize water temperature and minimize waste.  It’s important to continue checking water temperature as well because over time, use and wear may change the water temp in the dishwasher, requiring further adjustments.

For more information on high temp and low temp dishwashers, check out The Back Burner’s Commercial Dishwashing Buying Guide.

Turn off booster and tank heaters. The booster heater and the internal tank heater on the dishwashing unit should be turned off at the end of the night.  Otherwise, they will continue to heat water needlessly while you are shut down, wasting a ton of energy in the process.

Check water pressure. Many larger dish machines have a pressure gauge that indicates the water pressure in the unit.  More than 25 Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) could mean you are using more water than necessary, as most dish machines require only 20 PSI.  Check with the unit’s manufacturer to see what the optimal PSI is for that machine and to learn how to adjust the PSI.Is Your Restaurant’s Commercial Dish Machine Efficient?

Optimize conveyor type dish machines. The tradeoff with large conveyor type dish machines is that you can process a lot of dishes quickly, but they are big energy hogs as well.  Only fire up the big conveyor during your rush periods when you know you’ll have a lot of dishes to wash.  During slow times, it’s much more efficient to use a smaller undercounter or door type dishwasher, as long as you can keep up.  The longer you leave the big conveyor shut down, the more energy you’ll save.

When you do need the conveyor dishwasher, make sure you do a couple things to optimize energy use.  First, run a conveyor in “auto mode,” which will make sure the electric motor inside the unit only runs when needed.  Secondly, install or replace worn door curtain strips.  These strips hold heat inside the unit and make it run more efficiently.

Finally, consider using a heat recovery system in your kitchen. A refrigeration heat recovery system takes the heat generated by your refrigeration units and uses it to pre-heat water that goes into your water heater, which means the water heater has less work to do and therefore uses less energy.  Another heat recovery system uses heat from used hot water going down the drain to pre-heat hot water heater water.  These systems require some up-front cost, but they pay for themselves relatively quickly.  If your operation consumes large amounts of hot water, you could save a significant amount of energy by using a heat recovery system.

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