Rack Warewasher Q&A with Timothy A. Barker of Table & Bar Consulting Group

Consultant Q&A with Timothy A. Barker, founder of Table & Bar Consulting Group, Memphis, Tenn.

FE&S: What are the primary considerations when purchasing a rack warewasher?

TB: Like when buying any equipment, use is the first consideration. Operators need to confirm the unit is designated for the appropriate items. In terms of capacity, the size of the warewashing area and operation also need to be taken into account.

FE&S: How does location impact the type of unit needed?

TB: Configuration and placement are high priorities when accommodating a rack warewasher. Operators should consider the work flow impact as well. Corner units are ideal for compact spaces as these models are easier to work with in a tighter radius. Also, noise and proximity to customers is a factor, especially with warewashers used in the front of house. There are insulated machines that offer quieter operation.

FE&S: What are the utility requirements with these machines?

TB: A big consideration is the restrictions in terms of electricity and water, so operators need to confirm the availability of these utilities prior to purchasing a unit. An operation may have space for a large conveyor rack warewasher but not the proper utility access to run it.

FE&S: What are the advantages and disadvantages of high- and low-temp warewashers?

TB: High-temp units are pricier and use more electricity but clean faster with high heat. Low-temp machines use less electricity but require chemicals, which add to the operating cost.

FE&S: What should operators be aware of with booster heaters?

TB: With door-type machines, which are larger, booster heaters increase heat recovery to run more cycles. These systems won’t shorten the cleaning cycle but will curtail the time between cycles. Generally, any door rack washer will have an adequately fast cycle of between one and two and a half minutes.

FE&S: Are there recent innovations that simplify operation of these machines?

TB: Smart warewashers are now available that automatically adjust the cycle time, depending on how soiled the dishes are. The downside is, staff needs additional training to use these machines.

FE&S: What are the purchasing options for rack warewashers?

TB: Operators can lease these machines from the manufacturer, which has become more common. Although the company will maintain the machine, chemicals still need to be purchased for low-temp units. 

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