Best Dishwasher for Small Restaurants

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It is almost unthinkable to run a hospitality or similar venue today without using a commercial dish or glasswasher. Not only does a commercial dishwasher save time and water it also ensures you have a consistent supply of hygienically clean tableware.

A range of commercial washing machines are available on the market today: glass washers, dish washers, pot and utensil washers, reverse osmosis glass washers, granule-style pot washers, just to name a few different types. Then you have a choice of benchtop, underbench, pass-through, rack conveyor, or continuous conveyor. If that is not enough you can be confronted with a vast array of different types of washing racks.

At Rhima, we supply a range of medical, industrial and commercial washing equipment off the shelf or custom-built to your specifications. This time we will be turning our focus to commercial dishwashers for restaurant usage.

Your restaurant would not be complete without a highly functional yet efficient commercial dishwasher. These washers, in most cases, fit straight in with no adjustments to services and save you all the hassle of hiring additional for a sink full of dirty dishes.

Commercial dishwashers is becoming standard practice in the hospitality industry, mainly due to their highly efficient performance and especially with the COVID-19 pandemic being so infectious. They use far less water than regular manual washing and save energy. What can be more beneficial for restaurant owners than a dishwasher that saves you TIME and MONEY?

So, make sure that there are several key features to look out for to choose the perfect dishwashing for your restaurant:

  1. Unit Capacity: Unlike domestic dishwashing machines that use place settings as a capacity guide, commercial dishwashers refer to the number of racks or items that can be washed in one hour. In addition to this rating, the correct machine choice also depends on soil level and available space. Just to complicate matters, the type of hospitality venue you have is also a driving factor in the correct choice of a commercial dishwashing machine. A-la-carte requires a different setup compared to banquets and fast food, which is different from healthcare. Specialist advice is paramount.
  2. Noise Control: A quiet and functional dishwasher has quickly become an essential feature in any quality dishwasher. Loud rumblings can disrupt the whole operation, and that is something you’d want to prevent beforehand. A quiet dishwasher is equipped with a double-walled feature for noise and energy saving. Dishwashing machines are also a source of heat radiation and good insulation not only saves money but is also safe for operational staff.
  3. Rack Options – Considering the position and number of racks is vital when choosing a commercial dishwasher. The choice and number of racks need to suit your operation. An underbench machine in a small, busy kitchen requires a different rack configuration as would a system in a reception centre that may also use racking for storage.
  4. Wash Cycles and Time vs Temperature: Finally, the main point of getting a dishwasher is to ensure that it delivers the cleanliness you want as well as complying with local and national health regulations. Even though you may have very lightly soiled items, hygiene regulations would require a minimum temperature of 70oC for at least 2 minutes. If you need to wash glassware in the same machine as dishes then a separate glass cycle would be advisable. Heavily soiled items might need a longer “soak” program. Most dishwashers come with a different range of wash cycles, but it is important that you understand when to use them.

At Rhima, our philosophy is to use a high volume of water at relatively low pressure for its washing action,

  1. The wash cycle goes from where the water is heated to at least 70ºC, and a (non-foaming) detergent is added. This is recirculated for the wash cycle.
  2. In a separate tank, freshwater is heated to a minimum of 82ºC and sprayed over the glasses and dishes. Once the wash cycle has finished this very hot, fresh water is sprayed over the ware through a separate set of nozzles. The combination of a hot (82ºC) final rinse and a rinse aid allows the dishes to flash dry as they are removed from the machine.

There are several types of commercial dishwashers that will suit small to medium-sized restaurants:

  1. Underbench Dishwashers:

As the name suggests, underbench dishwashers are designed to be placed underneath your benchtop. At Rhima, they are built to suit an opening 600mm wide and to fit under a 900mm high benchtop. Underbench dishwashers are famous for their compact size while being powerful and affordable. With a minimum cycle time of 2 minutes, the underbench dishwashers are the perfect machine for washing and sanitizing cups, saucers, plates, glasses, containers, cutlery, and most restaurant equipment. The practical capacity of this commercial dishwasher ranges from 15 to 20 racks per hour.

Rhima’s example: The VU-50 underbench dishwasher. Hard-working, cost-effective and quiet, it is the perfect candidate for budget-conscious entrepreneurs, and most suitable for small to medium-sized restaurants. The High Sparkle 50 underbench dishwasher. With self-cleaning cycles and the ability to wash glasses and dirty plates without needing a second dishwasher.

  1. Passthrough Dishwashers:

Passthrough Dishwashers make the washing process in a professional kitchen fast & efficient. Primarily known as Hood Type Dishwasher, it operates in a way that racks are manually pushed into the wash chamber. Depending on the version of the machine, the hood is opened manually or automatically. The moment the hood is pushed down, the machine’s cycle starts, and when lifted, the cycle stops. This type of dishwasher defines a remarkable statement during a busy period in a commercial operation. A reliable & effective commercial passthrough dishwasher caters to higher-capacity crockeries, cutleries, or glassware. Thanks to this commercial dishwasher type’s functionality, they can wash up to 25 racks per hour.

Pass-through dishwashers require special benching for soiled and clean dishware. It is important to get the size and configuration to suit your venue style. For example, a pre-wash spray is ideal for sit-down food service to remove excess food soil from plates. This not only minimizes rejects but saves detergent and water consumption. The correct choice of racks is important to ensure wash-up efficiency.

The next step up from pass-through type machines are automatic conveyor dishwashers.

Rhima’s example: The VH-50 pass through dishwasher. Powerful, higher capacity and efficient during a peak period of restaurant operation. RH-60 passthrough dishwasher. With self-cleaning cycles and the ability to wash glasses and dirty plates without needing a second dishwasher.

  1. Glasswasher:

As the name indicates, this dishwasher is customised for glassware. The glasswasher has seen a rise in the hospitality industry, built to quickly and efficiently wash and rinse large quantities of glassware. At Rhima, the benchtop or underbench washers are most appropriate for washing glasses. Most glasswashers wash and rinse a rack full of glasses in less than three minutes. Our glasswasher machines can also be connected to specially treated water (Reverse Osmosis or RO water), delivering a spot-free result. A rapid dry unit is also available that finishes the polish-free solution with drying capability.

A highly functional one ensures that the restaurant’s bar will always have clean and above all polished glasses ready for serving.

Rhima’s example: Rhima Models RB-35 and RB-40 are ideal for most restaurants and bars. The High Sparkle 40 and 50 are perfect machines for cutlery and glasses as it eliminates the need for polishing. Especially when connected to the Reverse Osmosis and rapid dry units. These High Sparkle machines are powerful, versatile, and quiet, they have a unique clean cycle at the end of the wash to ensure that the machine always washes with clean water which improves results and has a sparkling end result.

To conclude, which type of dishwasher is perfect for a small restaurant? Out of these three types, they all have different features and attributes. Eventually, it solely depends on the size of the operation you are running. Call us for expert advice.

If you have limited space and also quite a busy bar area you could put in a bench top (RB-35) or underbench (RB-40 or High Sparkle 40) glass washer. If you require streak-free glasses then add a High Sparkle unit which uses reverse osmosis (RO) water rinsing. RO water has most minerals removed, and it is the minerals that cause spotting on glasses.

If you have a restaurant with a large number of settings per evening, then a pass-through type dishwasher would be ideal. These machines come with various options such as pre-rinse units, steam condensers etc. Dirty items are loaded into racks on one side and then pushed into the machine for processing. After the cycle, you open the hood and remove the clean items onto a separate clean bench. This method is very efficient and gives greater capacity.

As the operation grows the machine would become automatic, whereby racks are conveyed through a tunnel washer. These layouts require specialist advice due to the fact that so many options are available and the system needs to be “fitted” to suit your operation.
If you have a busy kitchen that perhaps also makes pastries and more intricate food you may consider putting in a pot and utensil washer. These machines not only have bigger wash chambers, but the pumps are more powerful. We would recommend a pot/utensil washer if you have a person constantly washing pots.


All Rhima machines are tailored to suit individual needs and to comply with HACCP and OH&S guidelines. In the end, we want our users to have sparkling, spotless, and hygienic crockery or glassware.

Have a look at our website for more detailed information on different machines.