For years, the three-compartment sink has been the primary option for quick-serve restaurants for cleaning large cooking equipment, such as pots and pans. But today, with advancements in technology, it just might be a better idea — in terms of saving water, labor and chemicals — to let an automated commercial dishwasher take over the heavy cleaning work. That’s exactly what the Arby’s chain of restaurants is doing.

Automated Manual Dish WashingToday’s Hobart commercial dishwashers can get large pots and sheet pans spotlessly clean.

In a three-compartment sink, water must be maintained at a constant temperature to meet sanitation requirements. “That requires a lot of draining and refilling, and draining and refilling, which takes a lot of time, water and chemicals throughout the day,” says Bryan Waechter, National Account Manager for ITW Food Equipment Group. Not only does washing in a three-compartment sink use up valuable staff time but, as with any job performed by people, it also runs the risk of operator error.

And Arby’s has some pretty tough ware to handle: half- and full-size sheet pans, hotel pans and cutting boards for sandwich prep tables, to name just a few. (A recent limited-time offer featuring oven-baked brown sugar bacon, while delicious on a sandwich, made for an especially tough cleaning problem.) That means lots of time and labor spent at the three-compartment sink, not to mention the water and chemicals needed to refill the sink tanks.

While finding a way to cut down on the laborious cleaning jobs was important to Arby’s, “sanitation was just as important,” notes Waechter. “They need 100 percent compliance with NSF regulations on wash and rinse temperatures, and proper chemical sanitation levels in every cycle.”

After doing time and labor studies comparing their water and chemical usage with what a dish machine would use, Arby’s selected the NSF pot-and-pan certified Hobart AM15SCB door-type dish machine to handle their tough cleaning jobs. The machine’s built-in booster heater ensures consistent temperatures for both wash and rinse cycles. Safe-guard technology means that the machine cannot be operated at a lower temperature or without chemical sanitizer. Hobart’s nationwide service and installation network ensured that Arby’s would always have professional, quick service when needed.

Not only has the Hobart dishwasher allowed Arby’s to automate some of its most laborious cleaning tasks, it also frees up crew members to handle other jobs, such as interacting with guests or doing front-of-house cleaning. That leads to an improved guest experience and employee satisfaction. And a more consistent wash process helps Arby’s monitor their water costs while ensuring food safety. 

Peter Cryan, Senior Director of Equipment Innovation and Design for Arby’s Restaurant Group, says, “Arby’s is very excited about expanding our ITW relationship to include Hobart warewashing. Hobart has been a great test partner, incorporating some custom Arby’s enhancements, and we have strong confidence in their ability to continue supporting the Arby’s brand by delivering on our expectations. We will begin a two- to three-year rollout of warewashing for our company-owned restaurants that will give us significant returns annually between labor efficiencies, water savings and enhancing our employee satisfaction by making our teams’ jobs that much easier.”