Opening a small restaurant -- dishwasher advice (purchasing vs. Ecolab lease)

Joined Jun 29, 2015
Hi all,

I'm opening a small restaurant at the end of August and am finalizing orders for all the appliances in the kitchen.

I've heard mixed things about how to acquire dishwashers -- it seems smarter to pay outright for a dishwasher as a long term investment. I've heard though that they tend to breakdown often and that you'll end up paying a lot on service repairs. Whereas leasing from Ecolabs is expensive per month, but it comes included with free and prompt repair.

I would rather just purchase a dishwash outright but can't tell if this is a mistake. For the record, I'm looking for a single, very simply undercounter dishwasher (one that can do a full load at high-temp in ~3 mins). Anyone have experience with this issue and care to weigh in?

Thank you!
Joined Jan 19, 2014
Why high temp? Low temp will cost less in the long run. A new Hobart runs for less than $5k, or buy used for up to half that. Mine's a workhorse requiring very little service. I pick up my own chemicals once per quarter at Restaurant Depot. Huge savings there. Ecolab will bleed you dry on chemicals.
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Joined Jun 29, 2015
Pretty sure there are Health Dept codes here in NYC regarding temperature for washers like this. Any insight? Is lower temp + chemicals sufficient? More of a code issue for me.
Joined Jan 19, 2014
Sorry. I have no knowledge of NY codes, but I can't imagine why they would disallow low temp. Perfectly safe way to go as long as your water chemistry is in check with sufficient chemicals. But I now see you want under counter and I'm not sure there's a low temp version from Hobart. Is your space such that you must go under counter? Bad ergonomics for the person who has to slog through dishes glassware and pans all day. If you have the space, you may want to consider a stand up unit right next to your 3 bay sink with a place to drop the dirties.
Joined Jun 29, 2015
NY code is strict and arbitrary. I wish it were otherwise.

FYI, I am a small bar/restaurant that seats 20. An undercounter washer is sufficient, no need for the big guns. A big Hobart would be excessive for my setup. Just trying to make the most informed decisions with which undercounter unit (lease vs buy) to pursue.
Joined Oct 31, 2012
My instinctive response is to compare the monthly Ecolab cost against the total cost for the dishwasher. 

As in Ecolab is $100 per month. Dishwasher is $2000. So in 20 months (under two years) you would have spent the same in Ecolab as it would cost to buy the dishwasher. 

Obviously I made those numbers up but you get the idea. 

As to which brand? Sorry, I don't know but I wouldn't discount a stand up washer just yet. They make smaller models that are simply designed to be operated in a standing position. They hold no more dishes/glassware than a front loader/under the counter model but Cape Cod Chef is right. After a few loads, that gets hard to take. Anything to save your back. If you can fit it in, I'm sure you'll be glad you did. 

And as always, a used one may be available for much less. 
Joined Oct 10, 2005
I might as well come out in the open and say it:

I hate low temp d/washers


-They need 3 chemicals:Soap, rinse aid, and sanitizer, high temps only need the soap and rinse aid

-They don't get hot enough to deal with greasy stuff effectively

-Dishes come out p*ss warm, not hot, so they will take longer to dry.

-Sanitizer is highly corrosive and will need the lines and dispenser hanged out more frequently

That being said, most health inspectors don't really care, as long as the machine either passes the final rinse temp or passes the ph strip test for sanitizer.

Hobart USED to make good dishwashers, most of the undercounters they make are crap.

May I suggest a Champion 401?  It's a good machine, most cost around 4 grand CDN, a 501 is a better machine but and extra grand more.

Many used food eqpt places will have used machines with warranties on them, they are worth checking out.

Don't forget you will still need a pre rinse sink, a spray  gun and a table for the dish rack when you take it out, doubt if Eco lab will lease you that.

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