It’s 7 in the evening, and your restaurant is jam-packed with customers. Everyone in your restaurant is busy–from the executive chef to the waiters to the escuelerie. But one of your kitchen staff approached you in the middle of rush hour and whispered that your dishwasher suddenly stopped functioning.
The commercial dishwasher is one of your kitchen’s most expensive equipment, that’s why you always remind your staff to ensure that it is properly taken care of. But just like any machine, commercial dishwashers will inevitably break down. That doesn’t mean that you should not try your best to keep your dishwasher in good shape. Below are some handy tips on how to properly maintain your commercial dishwasher so you can use it for many years.
* Choose a commercial dishwasher that is designed for your operation. When it comes to commercial dishwashers, the one-size-fits-all rule does not apply. As a business owner, you’ll need to choose the right commercial dishwasher designed specifically for your operation so you can maximise its use without overloading the machine.
Do you own a bar, a pub, a bistro, a deli, or a cafe? Then the undercounter commercial dishwasher is perfect for your establishment. This type of warewasher is perfect for low-volume food establishments such as the ones mentioned above. As the name suggests, this machine is placed under the counter to give a barista or a bartender easy access to glassware or dishes during operation. Although the two machines may look similar because of their size, the undercounter dishwasher is a step up from its domestic dishwasher because of its efficiency and its powerful engine.
If you own a mid-sized fine or casual dining restaurant, a fast food restaurant, or a busy cafe, then the pass-through dishwasher is perfect for your establishment. Its compact and streamlined size makes this dishwasher perfect for medium to high-volume operations. But don’t be fooled by its size–this warewasher can wash up to approximately 100 racks per hour. It has a drop-down door and is ideal for a kitchen with limited space.
If you own or operate a banquet hall, a buffet restaurant, or a school or hospital cafeteria, choose a flight-type or a conveyor dishwasher. These beasts are efficient, powerful, and designed specifically for high-output operations. Both types of dishwashers are bulky and suitable for large kitchens. Both have conveyors where dishes and other tableware are loaded and washed automatically. But there’s one glaring difference between the two: you will need dishwasher racks when using conveyor commercial dishwashers while you will need to load the dishware onto the conveyor directly when using flight-type dishwashers.
- Do read your machine’s instruction manual thoroughly. Your commercial dishwasher’s manual is there for a reason, so read it thoroughly before using it. This piece of literature contains instructions on how to use your machine properly, as well as how to clean it and how to keep it in tip-top shape. It also contains safety precautions, as well as troubleshooting tips that you can refer to in case of minor hiccups. You can save time and troubleshoot the machine on your own when you encounter minor issues rather than calling in a technician.
- Do teach your kitchen staff how to operate the machine properly. Your machine may be the latest and most expensive commercial dishwasher in the market right now, but it is not foolproof. Instruct your kitchen staff on the proper use of this equipment to prevent breakdowns that could slow down your operation.
- Know which detergent, rinse aid, and sanitising solution is compatible with your commercial dishwasher. Ask your commercial dishwasher supplier which detergent is suitable for your machine, and don’t deviate from it. It is tempting to buy cheaper detergent or rinse aid to cut cost, but it may leave behind ugly white streaks on your dishes.
- Remove all scraps of food (as well as straws and paper napkins) from your tableware before loading them into the dishwashing racks. Grease, trash, and scraps of food left behind on plates and other tableware can accumulate and clog your machine’s filter. A clogged filter can result in dirty and greasy dishes even after you have washed them.
- Clean the commercial dishwasher at the end of every shift. At the end of the day, make sure to shut down your dishwasher to clean it. After draining it, remove the strainer pans and scrap basket. Wash and rinse them under running water. Clean the interior using a mild cleanser and a soft brush. After rinsing the interior, clean the pump cover, the overflow tube, and the wash and rinse arms. Reassemble all the parts you have removed, and clean the exterior by wiping it down with a soft cloth. Leave the machine’s door open overnight after cleaning.
- Have it inspected every year by a trusted technician. Cleaning the machine daily is your responsibility, but there’s always an issue only trained technicians can catch. Prevent costly breakdowns and repairs when you have a technician check your machine every year.
* Do not forget to delime your machine regularly to prevent the formation unsightly white streaks. Hard water has high calcium and magnesium content. When these minerals accumulate in your dishwasher, they can leave behind unsightly limescale buildup and may clog your machine’s heating elements. A water softener can help delay limescale buildup, but it will not wholly prevent it. Descale your dishwasher regularly using delimers recommended by your chemical supplier. If you don’t want to handle caustic chemicals, contact a technician to do this task for you.
* Do not force large pots, pans, and trays inside your dishwasher if it is not built for such items. It’s tempting to place large items, such as pots, pans, and trays, inside a door-type or undercounter commercial dishwasher, but forcing these items inside a smaller dishwasher will only damage the machine.
* Do not bang the machine’s rinse and wash arms against a table or a wall. Banging them against hard surfaces is a surefire way to damage the dishwasher parts.