A restaurant dishwasher.
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Detergent should be tough on grease, but gentle on skin. 

How Restaurants Can Remove Pain Points from Washing Dishes

The task is just as burdensome in a professional kitchen as it is at home. 

A recent study noted that Americans rank doing dishes as their No. 2 most-hated household chore. Perhaps that is one of many reasons it can be such a treat to eat at restaurants—consumers get a break from being the dish washer. But someone still has to do the dishes! 

Not surprisingly, doing the dishes can be just as burdensome in professional kitchens as it is at home. Research shows that the top two pain points for restaurant dishwashers are baked-on and caked-on grease, and the time it takes to soak the pots, pans and utensils. 

When it comes to doing dishes, any bit of help, well … helps. Other than outsourcing that work to a machine, which isn’t appropriate for every item, let’s dig into what help doing the dishes looks like. It all comes down to the detergent.

Product capabilities that matter 

  • Grease-cleaning power: Look for a formula that specifies heavy duty grease-cleaning power. This is a key attribute, as it helps reduce soak time and time and the effort spent scrubbing dishes. This means efficiency; restaurant owners and operators can give dishwashers, kitchen porters and other back-of-house staff more time back, ultimately saving money. 
  • Suds that stay: When soap suds stay in the sink for a longer amount of time, dish washers are able to use less detergent and changeover sink less often—which saves operators time and money—so they’re getting a higher cleaning performance from their product.
  • Product packaging: Ideally, detergents come in large-format containers, which enable higher throughput and typically cost less per ounce, and include measured dosing with a pump, which ensures the appropriate amount of product is being dispensed for every cleaning. This drives consistent cleaning power among dozens of batches of dishes, as well as keeps refill schedules (and budgets) predictable.
  • Gentle on skin: Your detergent should be tough on grease, but gentle on skin for all-day, everyday commercial dish washing by hand.

Overall brand attributes

Beyond your detergent’s specific capabilities, it’s also worth looking at what the brand as a whole is doing and stands for. For example, is there only one variant available, or does the brand innovate and regularly provide new options? New product launches and formula upgrades indicate that your supplier is investing in product superiority, making their products the best. This matters because it enables you to ensure you are consistently using best-in-class products that deliver irresistible performance. 

Does the brand pursue sustainability in some capacity? Look for suppliers whose products aim to reduce water use, provide recyclable packaging, decrease virgin plastic use, etc.

Lastly—think about the value of name recognition and heritage brands that consumers know. According to one study, one in three diners would pay more for a meal if they knew the business was using a personally recognizable and trusted brand of cleaning products. By purchasing products that are known and trusted by consumers, you can bring that level of clean and sanitization to your business.

Thank your dish washers

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to doing dishes, especially in a commercial kitchen. Hopefully, your dish washing detergents deliver on everything outlined above and you can send them a silent thank you. But more importantly, take the time to thank your dish washers—vocalize it and let them know you appreciate them for their work and helping your business run.

Ugochi C. Nwachukwu, Research & Development Director, North America, P&G Professional

Nwachukwu has 16 years of experience at Procter & Gamble research & development with expertise in product development, consumer research, breakthrough innovation and new product platforms. She has a bachelor’s degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Cornell University's College of Engineering.

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