Do bars need 3 compartment sinks? Today we’ll discuss the benefits of underbar automatic glass washers and a little-known trick for eliminating your bar’s 3 compartment sink.
DO BARS REALLY NEED 3 COMPARTMENT SINKS?
Bars aren’t necessarily required to have 3 compartment sinks. Nearly every health department in the U.S. will accept an automatic glass washer in lieu of a 3 compartment sink provided that other dish washing accommodations exist on-premise, such as a commercial kitchen.
Many hotel, restaurant and bar owners have probably considered owning an automatic glass washer, but decided against it. They believe 3 compartment sinks are required by their local health department. Besides, purchasing an automatic glass washer is expensive, and how does one deal with the local health department that requires a 3 compartment sink anyway? Whether your local health department requires you to have a 3 bin sink or not, there may be a way around this. In this article I’ll discuss the merits of automatic glass washers and 3 compartment sinks in productive bar design.
BARS ARE FACTORIES THAT PRODUCE DRINKS
As I mentioned in an earlier article (ref. below), your bar is a production line that produces drinks. If you want to maximize the profitability of your bar, you need to maximize the bartender efficiency and this is accomplished in a number of ways. One way to achieve maximum efficiency is in the way glassware is handled. The manner in which glassware is washed and handled can place a choke-hold on a bar’s operation, if not understood thoroughly. The 3 compartment sink (shown in the photo below) is the most archaic piece of equipment behind any bar, and why health departments insist in its use is perplexing.
THE BENEFITS OF OWNING AN AUTOMATIC GLASS WASHER
Productivity aside, manual glass washing is far from effective.
To remove lipstick from bar glassware the temperature of the water must be 180°F (82°C).
Have you ever attempted to remove lipstick from bar glassware in a 3 compartment sink? Removing lipstick from wine glasses by hand can be a very labor-intensive process. First, consider that in order to remove the lipstick, the water temperature needs to be 180°F (82°C) – a temperature intolerable to the skin! In other words, removing lipstick in a 3 compartment sink is nearly impossible, as most people have witnessed (let’s all agree that no bartender is going to spend the time to scrub each glass). So what’s the productivity of washing glasses by hand? I wasn’t able to find any studies on this subject, but I think a bartender can make you far greater money processing drink orders, which brings me to the subject of automatic glass washing. Let’s consider two popular glass washers:
- Moyer Diebel Model 601HRG (shown above; please see cut sheet below)
- Washes and sanitizes 500 glasses per hour
- Vertical clearance of 12” enables it to accept taller glassware
- A cold water rinse ensures a steady supply of cool, clean glasses – especially good for serving draft beer
- Polypropylene rotary conveyor eliminates chipping
- Utilizes a maximum of 12 U.S. gallons of water per hour
- Average retail cost (2021): $7,300
- American Dish Service Model ASQ (please see cut sheet below)
- Washes and sanitizes 750 glasses per hour
- Vertical clearance of 11”
- Manual carousel
- Utilizes about 58 gallons of water per hour
- Average retail cost (2021): $4,200
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THESE DISHWASHERS
The American Dish Service model ASQ is not a fully-automatic unit. While it is half the cost to purchase, the real story is its cost to operate. First, the manual carousel leads to greater glass breakage. Even more importantly, because it is only 40% as productive as the Moyer Diebel unit and consumes more than 90% more water per hour, it requires much more soap. For those of you who are unaware, the cost of soap is very expensive, and therefore, the cost to operate this unit is more than 10 times greater than that of the Moyer Diebel unit. If you own and operate a small bar or nightclub, perhaps the model ASQ may make sense for you.
However, the Moyer Diebel model DF is a fully-automatic production beast! The initial cost of ownership may be greater, but over the long haul it is much less expensive to own and operate, which is why Moyer-Diebel owns the casino market. Virtually every casino in Las Vegas owns Moyer Diebel equipment. Here’s a video that features the beauty of the model DF:
HOW TO GET AROUND USING THE DREADED 3 COMPARTMENT SINK
Let’s face it: 3 compartment sinks are not what you would want in your bar if you desire to maximize your bar’s profitability. If you were a client of ours, I would do everything to encourage you to purchase a Moyer-Diebel model DF; however, if you couldn’t see your way to do this, I would feel like we’ve accomplished something if you were to at least purchase the model ASQ. But what if your local health department wants you to own a 3-bin sink? Glad you asked. Here’s how you get around this: purchase a 3-bin Glastender sink (per the cut sheet (below) and a separate Glastender drainboard. For instance, Glastender, who offers 3-bin sinks in a variety of sizes, makes a 36”W 3-bin sink; they also offer a 36” drainboard of the same depth. Simply cover the 3-bin Glastender sink with the removable drainboard until such time that you need it as a “hot backup” in case your rotary glass washer requires service. This way you’re in compliance with the local health department.
Glastender 3 Compartment Sinks
YOUR BAR IS A PRODUCTION LINE AND YOU SHOULD TREAT IT LIKE ONE
As I mentioned earlier, your bar is a factory that makes drinks. Factories maximize their profitability by dedicating a great deal of resources to maximizing the efficiency of their production lines so they can maximize profits. If you want to make more money at your bar, you need to invest in a similar manner as a factory. Don’t cheat yourself!
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