Catering for Hotel and Restaurant Kitchens

Automating your dishwashing process will only prove beneficial if the right equipment is installed – buying from the high street will almost certainly be a false economy, with ‘off-the-shelf’ white goods invariably breaking down through over-use. Domestic machines such as the ones we use at home are built to tackle one or two loads per day, while in a foodservice setting dirty loads will stretch well into double figures.

Whether moving away from manual washing or domestic appliances, the main options available to caterers are:

Undercounter Tank

These front-loading machines are built for speed, retaining tank water from one cycle to another to eliminate waiting between wash cycles. In 1-5 minute cycles that incorporate an 85°C degree final rinse, you can clean more items in less time to reduce utility bills.

Undercounter Freshwater

A freshwater dishwasher replaces all water after each cycle. Wash times are a longer so this process is more forgiving with less pre preparation required before loading. Machine cycles last from just 11 minutes, but a choice of 4-8 programmes means you can get the most out of the equipment and enjoy exceptional results.


With the best of both worlds, these tank models have partial or total drainage options. If you need speed for continuous supply the tank option will be selected. If you have more time, have to deal with heavily soiled items, you can choose to fully drain the machine and re-introduce fresh water for every cycle.


Passthrough machines have a hood that is closed during use, which is lifted for loading and unloading at around waist height – increasing the efficiency of loading by up to 40%. The main benefit of passthrough systems though is that they allow you to implements a full cross-contamination and hygiene control process, whereby the kitchen dishwasher area is split into ‘dirty’ and ‘clean’ sides.

Thermal disinfection

Thermal disinfection machines will not only cope with the rigours of daily use, but also clean to the highest standards and protect kitchen environments from the threat of cross-contamination. With LED and LCD displays, the most effective models will meet FSA guidelines by displaying wash heat to confirm that key ‘time at temperature’ advice is being followed.

Any of the commercial dishwashing equipment above will prove quicker, cheaper and more reliable than manual cleaning or domestic alternatives – and the right model can guarantee that pots, pans and plates are not only cleaned but disinfected too. Katie Horan, JLA Catering product manager explains:

“The Food Standards Agency insist on an 80°C rinse for 15 seconds, and the best way to satisfy this is to have a LED or LCD display that shows the temperature in real-time as a cycle progresses. Our own thermal disinfection model is easy to use and has been developed to deliver the highest levels of performance at the touch of a button. In domestic sizes, they offer quick 1 minute washes for speed, or decontamination in as little as 13 minutes.” 

Equipment is only part of an efficient catering solution. As commercial equipment specialist JLA advises its customers, process is as important as product. Katie continues…

“Good processes make all the difference in a commercial kitchen. Where time is of the essence only a commercial machine will do, but it’s important to get the most out your equipment by rinsing, scraping and regularly changing the tank water.”

Using the right dishwashing detergent and rinse aid is equally important to the process. To be effective, it’s vital to introduce the right amount at the right time – which makes auto-dosing pumps a must-have addition. Once again, automation can help the process, and the most customer-focused suppliers make pumps available as part of an all-inclusive package whereby hoteliers and caterers can benefit from a new commercial machine, 7-day breakdown cover and ‘unlimited’ detergent supply via a monthly rental contract.