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A Cheap & Cheerful Dishwasher Is Rarely Cheerful

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A Cheap & Cheerful Dishwasher Is Rarely Cheerful

It's more like a very deep hole...

Buying machinery purely on price can be a bad move when it comes to a dishwasher for your business. If you are remotely busy, then you must remember that this machine will be the backbone of your food service. As we mentioned before, it can be switched on in the morning and work solid with little respite all day until late evening. Your kitchen staff may change over after a shift, but your machine will be asked to keep hammering away.

It is an industrial environment and you must spend the money that affords you to have a machine that is fit for purpose. If you buy cheap, you’ll buy twice.

I deal with many different types of venues and when it comes to this piece of advice, it means the exact same thing across the whole of the catering and hospitality industry. Let me tell you about a golf club committee got this one drastically wrong.

They had an old undercounter dishwasher that was on its last legs and was starting to let them down. It was a decent model that they had bought around 10 years earlier and they knew that it was now time for them to buy a new one to replace it. They had already bought their glasswasher from us and it was a good little workhorse, so they asked us to quote them for a new dishwasher.

We duly carried out the necessary work around this and worked out a price and various buying options for a suitable model that we knew would fit their needs. However, they decided that they would buy the cheapest machine that they could find online. That is absolutely their prerogative and I never begrudge anyone the right to make up their own mind. Sometimes I present options so that they have a choice, and always they have the choice to choose something else.

One of the members of the golf club installed the machine and that was that. However, around four months later, we got a call from them to ask us to have a look at their new machine because it would not work.

We obliged and discovered that the wash pump burned out. There was nothing stuck in it, it had simply had enough and packed in. We relayed the problem and they telephoned the machine supplier while we were onsite. They were advised to send the faulty wash pump at their own expense to the UK address of the supplier so that they could assess it for a warranty claim. After a week of downtime, the golf club called up to find out what the state of play was. They were told that they shouldn’t have sent the pump to them but instead they should have sent it back to Italy where the machine was manufactured.

At this point I would like to say that there are some very good Italian dishwasher manufacturers out there, some I have worked with for almost two decades. This, however, was not one of them.

The golf club asked us to get involved again on their behalf and it was not an easy situation. This was a supplier that we hadn’t used before. To cut a long story short, we ordered up a new pump at a cost of around £400.00 + VAT with a three-week lead time. We fitted the new wash pump and this cost included the initial call out, plus all of the labour. As a side note, and during the whole time that the club did not have a working machine, the person that made the decision to buy the cheapest machine that they could find, were themselves, nowhere to be found.

The money spent on the repair was only a small part of the overall cost, and the overall cost is something that people rarely see.

Golf in Scotland is a major pastime, and that is regardless of what the weather is up to. In Scotland you’ll hear locals saying that in Scotland, there are only two types of weather: Cold rain and warm rain. That pretty much sums it up, although you must visit if you have never been – it’s gorgeous.

Anyway, the folly of this particular golf club’s decision unfolded in the middle of what was to be one of the hottest summers ever recorded when the fairways and greens were full, and the clubhouse packed to the rafters every day.

Any extra income generated on food sales was depleted on extra staff that had to stand and handwash hundreds of dishes all day long throughout peak season. Also, because of the back log in dishes, the food was not getting to the customers on time, which then created a drag in the service and took its toll on both the staff and the hungry customers. Several staff quit during this time.

It really was not fair on the staff.

Do you get the point that I’m trying to make here? If it’s a manufacturer that you’ve never heard of, then buyer beware. If you think that buying a good, reputable machine is expensive, then just wait until you buy a cheap one. You have been warned!

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  • Richard Hose