Glass Washers: Understanding the Crucial Component of a Commercial Bar

In busy commercial bars, providing clean and spotless glassware is paramount. To enhance your bar operation’s efficiency and deliver a memorable customer experience, it’s critical to be informed about the different types of glass washers and their key features. This guide will delve into specifics, such as operating temperatures, water and energy consumption, sizes, and washing capacity.

Wine glasses in a commercial glass washer
Wine glasses in a commercial glass washer

In the bustle and fervour of a commercial bar operation, every component plays a significant role. However, there’s one critical piece of equipment that often goes unnoticed yet is instrumental in shaping customers’ perceptions – the humble glass washer. This indispensable tool not only takes the heavy lifting off busy staff but also ensures patrons are served in consistently clean and polished glassware, critical for that impeccable first impression.

Speed and Efficiency

Relying on part-time bartenders or kitchen staff to wash glasses during busy shifts can spell disaster. A commercial glass washer speeds up turn-around time, catering to the fast-paced environment of a bar. It not only cleans glasses faster than humans ever could but also ensures the glassware is sterilized and safe, which is more important now than ever in the COVID-19 era.

Types of Glass Washers

There are primarily two types of commercial glass washers:

  1. Rotary glass washers: These machines have a rotating carousel and multiple spray arms to clean glasses effectively. They are suitable for establishments with medium to high volume glassware washing requirements.
  2. Pass-through (or conveyor) glass washers: Ideal for high-volume bars, these glass washers transport glasses through a continual cleaning process with spray arms, ensuring a steady flow of clean glassware for service.

Operating Temperatures

Glass washers typically operate at the following temperatures:

  • Wash cycle: Ranges between 49-60°C, depending on the model and manufacturer.
  • Rinse cycle: To ensure proper sanitization, the rinse cycle usually heats the water to approximately 82°C.

Water and Energy Consumption

A glass washer not only serves up clean glasses quickly and efficiently but also helps reduce your establishment’s environmental footprint. When compared with manual washing, which often involves leaving the water running, commercial glass washers use less water due to their precise engineering and built-in conservation features. They also use less energy as they only heat the water required for each wash cycle.

A commercial glass washer’s water and energy consumption depend on its size, model, and make. However, some general figures are:

  • Water usage: These efficient machines consume about 5-11 litres of water per rack. Some high-efficiency models use as little as 3 litres of water per rack.
  • Electricity consumption: Typically, glass washers use approximately 2.5-4.5 kWh per cycle, depending on the wash cycle length, temperature, and model.

Sizes and Washing Capacity

As with all kitchen equipment, glass washers are available in various sizes, powering capacities, and layouts. A standard glass washer usually accommodates 41-61 cm square racks, with larger options available for more expansive establishments. To choose the right size, consider your bar’s space constraints and the volume of glassware you process during peak hours.

  • Undercounter glass washers: These compact machines can fit comfortably under the counter, handling up to 30 racks per hour (around 600-800 glasses).
  • Freestanding glass washers: Standing independently, these glass washers are larger in size and can wash 60 racks per hour or more (1,200-2,000 glasses) depending on the model.

Wash Cycle Durations

Commercial glass washers boast quick and efficient cycles, ensuring your bar is never short of clean glassware. The length of a wash cycle varies by model and capacity:

  • Undercounter glass washer cycles: Typically, these take approximately 2-4 minutes, with high-temperature units often being a bit faster.
  • Freestanding glass washers: These high-capacity machines usually complete a cycle in under 60-90 seconds.

Long-Term Savings with Commercial Glass Washers

A commercial glass washer’s initial cost may seem steep, but the potential for long-term savings can make the investment worthwhile. Let’s explore how a commercial glass washer can benefit a bar financially.

Labor saving

Traditionally, bars would employ staff members to do the job manually. Let’s consider the minimum wage in Ireland is €11.30 per hour. If bar glass cleaning and sanitizing takes 2 hours daily, the monthly cost will be about €678 (assuming you operate 30 days a month). In contrast, an average commercial glass washer can do the job more quickly and efficiently, freeing staff to engage in more revenue-generating tasks.

Water and Energy saving

An efficient commercial glass washer uses approximately 5 to 11 litres of water per rack. If we assume the higher end, a bar using around 20 racks a night consumes 210 litres of water. In comparison, manual washing could use up to 2-3 times that amount.

The cost of water varies by county, but let’s assume it’s €1.87 per 1,000 litres. Over a year, using a commercial glass washer could save over 153,000 litres, which is a saving of around €287 annually. Although this might not seem like a significant saving, remember this is achieved solely through decreased water usage.

Moreover, if your bar is in an area with higher water costs or if your establishment uses a lot of glassware, the savings will be far more substantial.

Using less water also means less energy to heat that water. A commercial glass washer can save significantly on electricity costs.

Glassware Longevity

Commercial glass washers are gentler on your glassware. Manual washing can sometimes result in chips and breakages which over time, can accumulate to substantial costs. Conserving your glassware keeps costs down and also maintains the quality of your customer experience.

Enhanced Revenue

Quicker washing times means more glasses available throughout the night, ensuring more drinks served to customers. The fast speed of commercial glass washers can serve more customers quickly, leading to higher profits. Even if a glass washer lets you sell one more drink per night, at an average price of €6 a drink, that’s an additional €2,184 per year in revenue.

Cost of a Commercial Glass Washer

The price of a commercial glass washer can vary widely depending on its size, model, and capacity. Undercounter machines can range from €1,400 to €2,000, while larger, freestanding models can range upwards in cost to over €6,000.

Based on these figures, it’s clear that an investment in a glass washer can soon pay for itself in the long term, through both cost savings and additional revenue.

Remember, these are estimated figures*, and the actual savings* and earnings* can vary based on the usage and the size of your operations.

In conclusion, understanding the crucial component of a commercial bar – the glass washer – entails knowing specifics like types, temperatures, water and electricity consumption, sizes, and washing capacity. The right glass washer can elevate your bar’s efficiency, presentation, and overall customer experience, ensuring your investment pays dividends.

* Any figures provided in this article are estimates and are not guaranteed to be accurate or legally binding in any way. Usage and savings data is hypothetical and can vary hugely based on equipment types, brands, energy providers, individual usage, business type and individual user operation.