But now after talking with eco reps and A-clr reps (who just contradict each other) I'm not sure which way to go...
Instead of creating a new topic, I'm just gonna bump this one.
There's a new kid in town in my parts, called swisher.
Anyone dealt with these guys?
They're cheaper than ecol@b as far as dish detergents/rinses are concerned.
Looks like they're heavy in the Eastern states. Looks like they're buying out smaller companies on the West coast.
Not sure what to think of it. Broadliner rep seems to think they're on the up & up. If he knew different, he'd say so.
The place I'm working at was using Sysc0's Keyst0ne line, which I'm told is Ecol@b's soap plus an inflation.
Their (swisher) rep came in (on a Saturday) to check levels at my request.
No lab coat. Straight shooter. Tagged my warewasher with stickers
Any new thoughts? Foodpump?
It's not cheaper to buy a machine, especially a high temp machine. Additionally, the assertion that they use only a bit more power is way off. There is so much more information needed to be able to offer any advice on this.
Okay, I know this is an old tired thread, but I worked for Auto-Chlor for over a decade. I held every position from making chemicals, servicing dishwashing equipment, installations, sales, and eventually regional manager. There is so much to know before you can compare "deals" and, frankly, most operators have no idea what they have going on in the dish pit. Want advice, just ask.
Ecolab is the most expensive on average.
Both Auto-Chlor and Ecolab service reps have quotas and are paid commissions.
The real money is made on the cleaning products (degreaser, floor cleaner, presoak, pot sink soap, 3 comp sanitizer (quat), grill cleaner, etc. not the dish machine.
You will not save money buying a machine unless you do not wash a lot of dishes.
The average dish machine that is leased from Auto-Chlor is run 2300 times each 4 weeks.
The break even point for buying vs leasing is +-2000 washes per month.
You can't just buy cheap chemicals from smart and final and hook them up. The machine is calibrated for whatever vendors product is providing your service. The products are not similar in concentrations. Please understand I am not saying you can't save money buying cheaper product. You just need to have the machine adjusted to accommodate the more diluted product.
I have rarely surveyed a restaurant that owned their own dishwasher and found the dish machine to be in good repair. This is especially true for high temperature machines and conveyors.
With Auto-Chlor, you can negotiate pricing on every aspect of your bill with the Branch Manager. Just call the branch and ask to make an appointment. You will get something. As a manager, i would agree to big discounts to keep the customer long term and keep them happy. This was applicable to "good accounts". If you lease the machine, buy nothing else, and are a minimum biller you will not get much because there isn't a lot of margin in the smaller accounts.
No, I haven't heard of Swisher.
This is what I like to do:
-Buy my own hi temp washer, get the soap guys to calibrate it and pass inspection, and then buy my soap and rinse aid (the exact same stuff as what the soap guys are selling--same label, codes, and dates) from my broadliner or restauarant supply store.
-Here's the hard part: Train my staff. Train the servers to properly bus a table and to properly load the dishes at the dish pit. Train teh dishwasher to proerly scrape plates clean, remove lipstick from glassware, and how to deal with crud, train him to observe the tank water, an if neccesary (only when he hasn't scraped his plates clean) to change the tank water mid-shift. Observe the critical temps and detergent levels, and--most importantly to drain and wipe out the tank and filters end of the day.
So, for me a dishwasher is very important. Most of them only last a few months--then I invariably make then salad guys or they move on, but I invest quite a bit of time in them. This, I consider part of being a Chef
Hi temp machines can cost anywhere from 5-10 grand, all depending on configerations. Dish tabling is extra.
Someone has to pay this cost, (and it's always the customer) and I prefer to pay it up front. My choice. But then, I own my own business as well.
I tell my dishwashers that the machine is actually very low tech. "You've all run through a garden sprinkler as a kid, right?. That's what this box is. The big sprinkler flings tank water on the dishes for 60 seconds. The little sprinkler sprinkles fresh, hot water on the dishes for 30 seconds to sanitize them. That's it. No magic. If the dishes go in dirty, they come out dirty, but sanitized dirty."
I also like to be in charge of my business, I decide what soaps and chemicals are being used, when, and how, I decide how much to buy and what prices I will pay for it. And I don't like "tricks" like dedicated hand soap dispensers that will only take a certain type of disposable soap bladder that can only be purchased at one place at a price I have no control over, or paper towel dispensors, or customer bathroom equipment witht he same "trick" attached to it..
That being said, when working for others, who have contracts with the big boys like E.L or A.C., I have no say, but I see the invoices. Soap and chemicals don't go on to my foodcost, so I'm safe. But I am aware of what it costs.
Someone has to pay for the machine. You decide for a quick, sharp pull on the band-aid, or a long, slow, complicated bleed.
High Temp vs Low Temp. High temp is just as good at sanitizing as low temp machines. Better in a higher volume situation such as conveyor machines. In a smaller environment I would go Low Temp every time. Here's why, think of the biggest party your restaurant has ever seen and yor booster heater craps out. It's going to take alot longer to fix the booster whether it's a fuse or an element than it is to replace a squeeze tube to pump sanitizer on a low temp machine. Yes the low temp machines do have a third chemical but if everything is adjusted correctly it should only cost 3 - 5 cents per rack for all three chemicals vs dumping all of the water (10 -12 gallons) in a high temp every 2 - 3 hrs of operation and then using more detergent to get your levels back up in your first two cycles.
Buy vs Lease. In the long run buying is less expensive until two days after the warranty is up you have to spend $600.00 for a new pump motor. The lease may cost a little more but you have the peace of mind that whatever breaks there's no service charge, no travel charge and no parts charge and you usually get really good service because these days the service team really wants to keep your business. Don't buy the cheap chemicals, you'll have to use more product to get the same results which causes the issue of why am I using so much product or why am I getting poor results. Use the better quality chemicals from your major food companies like Sysco or US Foods and it's just one stop shopping.
I hope this helped
Had my share of low temps, never again.
Don't really care which machine sanitizes better, whatever the health inspector Ok's is fine. But a high temp sanitizes by heat, dishes come out hot, and they dry pretty darn quick. Dishes come out lukewarm out of a low temp and take forever to dry completly. This drives me nuts.
Ok here's the skinny... When you rent from ecolab and Achlor you're getting 90% of the time a refurb machine, it may look new but its not unless you ask for a new machine. That refurb has been refurbed before most likely. They get 100% of their money for that machine from the customer in 18 months on rental fees, and chemical sales. The only difference in chemicals is the concentration, yes there are different formulations but that's splitting hairs. The question is what is the final result. 1) Are my dishes clean 2) Is the rinse shedding water off my silverware and glassware 3) Is the sanitizer satisfying the health department? 4) Is it cost effective.
All you pay for with Eco is the concentration, and Oh, those repairs are not free at all. eco's $80.00 bucket of detergent cost them $5.00 to make so you can do the math.
Buy a used or refurb machine. get the manuals on line and find a parts supplier on line. Most machines will go thru a motor, drain solenoid, pump motor, pump seal, and chemical squeeze tubes, at some point, all are relatively easy to replace, with very basic tools, and are very affordable on the parts if you buy on line or direct form the machines manufacture.
Realize that the chemicals and soaps you are buying from ALL of them are extremely HI MARKUP items.
All the salesman tend to overstock you, so you order it ,don't let them go in your storage room and do it on there own .
To me all the contraptions they use to dispense the stuff is all ( Rube Goldberg) older guys her should remember him..
The dispensers are set by the techs to put in more then actually needed.
I like Hot Water Machines because the dishes dry at room temp and I think they do better job of cleaning .
Ok, this from an ex-chef / restaurant manager (25 years) who now works for EL.
High Temp Vs Low Temp.
The only reason to pick hi-temp over low is dependant upon what kind of wares you wash. Real silver, metalic gold embelishments on plates,etc require hi temp because the chlorine sanitizer will damage the metals.
The common mistake people make with low temp machines is running them at 120 degrees (standard hot water heater temperature for hand washing)
If you get a water heater and set it at 140-160 degrees with chemical sanitizer you will get great results.
The energy difference and equipment cost is quite significant. The machine itself is way more complex and has higher amperage & voltage rated parts.
A high temp machine has to wash at 160 and rinse at 180 minimum which takes a lot of energy.
Even buying chlorine sanitizer and running at 140-160 temps represents a lower cost per rack by far.
Hospitals & nursing homes typically run hi temp because they are more reliable, and the risk of chlorine mis-handling is reduced.
Lease Vs Buy
Most chains lease dishmachines, why? The operators are generally the most abusive, least motivated people on the planet and they abuse the machines. The lease agreement includes service, parts & labor.
The managers could care less (unless it breaks down), a bad mix.
The volume is so high that the last thing the managers have time for is dish room drama, including supervision & training.
Most schools and private restaurants own their machines, why? The operators are more closely supervised, the owner is involved in the dish room, possibly the owner has time and desire to make repairs himself to save a few dollars.
EL Vs AC
Well, most chains use EL. The training, 'available to the customer' resources and nationwide program delivery are big factors, but it really depends on the rep.
While I agree that soap is soap, you have to consider some facts.
A bottle of liquid detergent, hand poured will end up costing you more than a metered, dilution controlled concentrate. Do the math. HOWEVER if the monkeys hand pour the concentrates then you are getting killed. End Use Cost is pennies per gallon of solution if used correctly.
Who else is going to come out at 8pm Friday to get your machine back up? Its a wierd reality that the dish machine always fails on the busiest night. I have changed 99.9% of major components on the weekends. Last pump motor was a Saturday night at a beach country club on 4th of July, before that a Denny's during Sunday breakfast, etc.
RPM (Routine Preventative Maintenance) is crucial to preventing break downs. A humming contactor, grinding pump motor or damaged heater element can be changed out prior to catastrophic failure!
Training & Support
Your Rep should be available to train your staff on regular procedures at regular intervals, minimum 2x a year.
The chemical vendor should supply wall charts, videos, stickers, labels etc at N/C to help you with Health Dept compliance and staff knowledge.
The argument becomes what is the best VALUE. Yes, you can go to Sams Club, or Restaurant Depot and buy a bucket of soap, but that's all you get. Inside our soap is all the equipment, repairs, training, point-of-use materials etc.
There is value in picking up the phone and having a technician there to resolve your issue.
Do you have time to fix a broken hand soap dispenser?
Can you fix a wash pump motor? Do you stock the parts?
If you could pay 50c a gallon more for gas and get unlimited, free service, is that a value to you?
BTW, EL act as first responders to customer owned machines, and can often make minor repairs on the spot.
Hobart charges a trip fee, labor by the hour, swap parts and leave mentality and the bill is always several hundred dollars.
I have stayed and washed dishes by hand on a Saturday night, driven to the next city to get Hobart parts for a customer owned machine, spent hours figuring out a problem that Hobart couldn't fix, helped new owners navigate the Health Dept requirements (real world!) and I have an owners perspective on the service I provide.
The only bill my customers ever get from me is the chemicals they buy, and for the record I make 6% commision and buy my own gas. (That's $6 for every $100 you spend.) and nothing from the lease. (That goes to the company that provides the vehicle, parts and support)
Hope this helps, especially as an ex-professional chef & current EL guy!! :-)