How to Choose the Right Commercial Dish Machine for Your Business

Commercial dish machines are a great alternative to manually washing and sanitizing the wares your facility uses. Read this article to learn about the different types of commercial dish machines and how to choose the best one for your facility.

If one thing is guaranteed to make customers unhappy, it is being given dirty wares like spotty glasses, smudged silverware, and unclean plates during their dining experience. 

Whether you own a small business, run a restaurant, manage a cafeteria, or any other foodservice establishment, providing your customers with spotless wares is key to keeping guests satisfied. 

Unfortunately, this can be challenging especially if your facility still manually cleans wares after use or doesn’t have the best commercial dishwasher for your needs. 

Without the right commercial dish machine, you run the risk of having to deal with customer complaints and more time-consuming cleaning processes.

Commercial kitchens are busy with staff constantly moving around to prepare and serve food that is satisfactory to your customers. 

Adding the right commercial dish machine to your kitchen can help boost your staff productivity without sacrificing cleanliness. 

A commercial dish machine replaces manual dishwashing and sanitizing dirty dishes, pots, pans, and glassware in your facility.

There are many different types of commercial dish machines, which can make it difficult to find the right one for your business. The best dish machine for your facility will depend on the specific needs of your establishment. The goal is to find the best machine and ensure you’re getting spotless wares in one wash cycle.

You’ll also want to be sure that you choose a dish machine that can handle the volume of dishes produced by your commercial kitchen and that the dishwasher is capable of cleaning the various types of wares your patrons use in your facility.

In this article, we will review the different types of commercial dish machines and the available features to help you choose the best option for your facility.

How Does A Dish Machine Work?

You may think this is a silly question and that all dish machines work the same. In short, all dish machines use dish detergent to wash, sanitize, and dry the dishes used in your commercial kitchen.

However, there are two major types of commercial dish machines:

  • High Temp Dish Machines
  • Low Temp Dish Machines

Low and high temp dish machines perform differently. The temperature of the machine determines how much dish detergent is needed and affects how your wares are sanitized. Some commercial dish machines will also require external equipment to maintain the temperatures needed to complete the wash cycles.

High Temp Dish Machines Vs Low Temp Dish Machines 

High Temp Dish Machines

A high temp commercial dish machine washes dishes at 140-160+ °F and rinses them at 180-195 °F. 

The temperature of the superheated water allows for the dish cycle to sanitize the wares without using a chemical dish sanitizer and achieve faster drying times.

High temp dish machines can also clean visibly soiled dishes that are coated in fat, grease, and tough soils. This means that though your dishes should always be rinsed before being loaded into the dish machine, the high heat can tackle any leftover soils on your wares.

One thing to note about high temp dish machines is that most of them require both an external booster heater to maintain the heated water temperatures and a condensate hood.

The booster heater helps ensure the machine maintains its high temperatures. 

A condensate hood is used to capture heat or condensate from non-grease producing appliances, like a dish machine.

Some dish machines can be ventless, which uses an internal vent system to eliminate the need for a condensate hood. These ventless machines can also reduce the amount your business spends on energy expenses.

Ventless Dish Machine

Low Temp Dish Machines

A low-temp dish machine washes and sanitizes dishes at a temperature of 120-140 °F degrees. 

Since these machines don’t use high temperatures, a chemical sanitizer is needed to sanitize and kill germs on the dishes.

Before dishes are loaded into the dish machine, they should be thoroughly scrubbed and pre-rinsed. A low temp dish machine isn’t able to handle grease on dishes, so your staff should be extra careful to remove any and all visible soil. 

It’s also important to note that low-temp machines generally take longer to clean dishes. 

The lower temperature machines don’t require a booster heater or a condensate hood.

What to Consider When Choosing a Dish Machine

There are three main features you should consider when determining whether a dish machine will be right for your kitchen:

  • High Temp Vs Low Temp Dish Machine 
  • Dishwasher Footprint
  • Cleaning Capacity

High Temp Vs Low Temp Dish Machine

How to Choose Between a High Temp and Low Temp Dish Machine

When deciding between a high temp and a low temp commercial dish machine, you will need to consider what kind of food your facility serves. 

High temp machines are better for establishments that have greasier foods, like barbeque, while low temp machines can clean non-greasy soils like salads or pasta.

You will also need to consider the electrical capabilities of your building. High temp dish machines require higher voltage outlets, so if you have concerns about your facility’s energy usage a low temp machine will probably be best.

Dishwasher Footprint

The footprint of your dishwashing machine is simply the amount of space that the equipment takes up in your facility. 

If you have a commercial dish machine that is both vertically and horizontally large, it will require a lot of space and affect the way your staff moves in your kitchen.

Commercial kitchens with ample space, like a cafeteria, hospital, or other high-volume facilities can use a machine with a large footprint. 

In larger foodservice facilities, you can benefit from a dish machine that is built for efficient ware washing in a busy facility. These machines, called conveyor dish machines, are large but have faster cycle times than smaller commercial dish machines.

If you don’t have a lot of space in your commercial kitchen, you will likely have to settle for a smaller dish machine that’s able to clean and sanitize your dishes quickly. Undercounter dish machines can be tucked away beneath counters to make the most of the space you have available in your kitchen.

Cleaning Capacity

Another feature you should consider when trying to find the right dish machine for your facility is the cleaning capacity.

There are a variety of different sized dish machines that can be used to clean soiled dishes in your kitchen.

Some dish machines are capable of cleaning a high number of dishes throughout the day while others may be smaller and clean fewer dish racks.

In a commercial foodservice facility, you will want a dish machine that makes it easy to quickly turn around dishes and wares for use.

For smaller facilities, like a cafe or a compact commercial kitchen, you’ll likely benefit from a machine that can clean up to 35 racks an hour. Larger commercial kitchens, like cafeterias or banquet halls, will likely need a dish machine that can process more than 150 racks an hour.

Types Of Dish Machines

Dish machines come in various types, sizes, temperatures, and operations for cleaning the dishes in your facility.

Each type of commercial dish machine comes in either high or low temp, depending on the specific make and model of the machine you’re looking at.

Below, we’ll cover the four most popular types of commercial dish machines that you can use in your facility:

  • Under Counter Dish Machine
  • Upright Dish Machine
  • Conveyor Dish Machine
  • Glassware Dish Machine

Under Counter Dish Machine

An under-counter dish machine is the most compact type of dish machine. 

Dishwasher Footprint

Undercounter dish machines are about the same size as a household dishwasher but they have a quicker cleaning cycle.

Undercounter Dish Machine

The small size of the machine allows it to sit either in the Back Of House (BOH) or in the Front Of House (FOH). The compact dishwasher can be tucked under a counter in your facility.

In facilities that don’t have a lot of space, an under-counter dish machine may be the best option.

Cleaning Capacity

An under-counter commercial dishwashing machine can clean about 20-30 racks per hour.

These dish machines are a great choice for small restaurants, hotels, or in foodservice businesses where the commercial kitchen is cleaned as you go. 

Upright Dish Machine

An upright type dish machine is a larger commercial dish machine that can clean a larger number of racks in an hour.

This type of dish machine is perfect for facilities with large dishware. For a restaurant or foodservice business that produces a lot of kitchenware, like pots, pans, and baking ware, you will benefit from having an upright dish machine.

Dishwasher Footprint

An upright dish machine will take up more vertical space than an under-counter dishwasher. 

Upright Dish Machine

This allows your staff to stack pots and pans in the dish machine. 

The vertical footprint also allows the machines to sit out of the way in the back of the house. They are designed to sit out of the way of traffic in your commercial kitchen.

Cleaning Capacity

Upright dish machines can clean between 35 and 60 dish racks each hour.

These machines are perfect for medium-sized food service facilities, like diners.

Conveyor Dish Machine

A conveyor dish machine is the largest type of dish machine and cleans dishes the fastest.

Kitchens that need to turn over a lot of tableware during operating hours and have plenty of space can benefit from using this high-capacity, heavy-duty machine. 

Dishwasher Footprint

Not only are these machines large vertically, but they also require a lot of horizontal space.

Conveyor Dish Machine

A conveyor dish machine has a loading area, where your staff places the dish rack to fill the basket with dirty dishes. Then, the rack is pulled into the wash/rinse tank for the cleaning cycle to begin. Once completed, the dishes are then moved into the unloading area for your staff to remove the clean dishes for use.

A conveyor dish machine is a perfect choice for a commercial kitchen that has a lot of space and requires quick turn around times for dishes. 

Cleaning Capacity

These conveyor dish machines can clean 150-200 dish racks an hour.

Commercial conveyor dish machines are perfect for large, busy facilities, like cafeterias, hospitals, and other high-volume businesses.

Glassware Dish Machine

Businesses, like busy bars or lounges, that use a lot of glasses or particularly fragile types of drinkware will benefit from using a glassware dish machine. 

Unlike the other types of machines, glassware dish machines produce reduced water pressure and power to safely clean your glassware with as little breakage as possible.

In facilities, like bars and restaurants, cleaning glassware quickly and accurately is important to provide your patrons with a steady stream of beverages.

Your staff will have access to clean, spotless glassware for each customer’s beverage needs. 

Dishwasher Footprint

Glassware dish machines come in either under-counter, upright, or in-sink models.

Glassware Dish Machine

In-sink glassware cleaners use a combination of water and brushes to clean glassware. These machines usually clean one glass at a time, so in facilities that use a larger amount of drinking glasses, you will benefit from either an under-counter or upright dish machine.

Cleaning Capacity

Depending on the size of the specific machine, a glassware dish machine can clean up to 1,000 glasses per hour.


Final Thoughts

Dish machines will help you and your foodservice business increase the productivity of your workers and create a healthier environment. Instead of having to manually clean the dishware in your facility, your staff can run the dishes through a commercial dish machine to achieve clean wares in less time.

There are a lot of choices when it comes to commercial dish machines. Deciding which is the best fit for your facility can be difficult.

If you have a small foodservice business that doesn’t need to clean a lot of dishes throughout the day, an under-counter dish machine will likely be best for your facility.

Larger establishments with greater space will benefit from either an upright or conveyor dish machine, which can clean more dishes per hour.

Imperial Dade can help you select the best commercial dish machines for washing and sanitizing dishes, whether you’re located in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Caribbean.

Have a question about the best dish machines for your foodservice business? Contact an Imperial Dade Specialist today for more information on choosing the best dish machine to achieve your food service goals.

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3 Ways to Avoid the Spread of Foodborne Illnesses in Your Facility

Preventing the spread of foodborne illnesses, like Salmonella, Listeria, and E. Coli, is important to maintaining the health and safety of your customers. Read this article to learn three practices your food processing facility can use to avoid spreading illness-causing pathogens.

by John Thomas, Director of Health & Wellness at Imperial Dade

Did you know that every year, 1 in 6 Americans get sick from foodborne illnesses? Foodborne illnesses can be spread in several ways, including through food prepared at a food processing facility. No matter the size of your food processing operation, it’s important that you’re taking the cleanliness and safety of your facility seriously to avoid spreading foodborne illnesses.

To maintain a clean food processing facility, you and your staff should have a good understanding of what food sanitation is and how to use the appropriate products and procedures. Food sanitation refers to the practice of maintaining a high level of cleanliness throughout the food processing establishment using certain cleaning and sanitization processes and procedures.

Failing to achieve a high level of sanitation can lead to product contamination that affects your food product quality, taste, and most importantly, consumer health. Foodborne illnesses not only lead to sick guests but also product recalls, which may damage the reputation and brand image of your facility and even lead to lost future sales. In addition to lost sales, you might also face fines due to failure to comply with food sanitation rules.

Organizations like the USDA and the FDA have created regulations to help you stay compliant with food sanitation guidelines and avoid the spread of foodborne illnesses. Compliance is key to avoiding fines and maintaining a clean, sanitary food processing facility.

In this article, we’re going to review how to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses in your food processing facility to protect your customers and remain compliant with food sanitation guidelines.

What Is a Foodborne Illness?

A foodborne illness is a sickness caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are present in food. Toxins and chemicals that are harmful when ingested can also cause foodborne illnesses. If a consumer has a foodborne illness, they may experience discomfort and other, more serious symptoms like:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Diarrhea

Removing illness-causing bacteria from food contact surfaces is key to protecting the food being processed and reducing the chance of a food recall.

What is a Food Recall?

Public food recalls are initiated to remove contaminated foods from the marketplace to protect consumers from buying and eating foods that have been contaminated by illness-causing bacteria. In the year 2021, there were 47 recalls initiated by the Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS). The total volume of food being recalled annually is usually tens of millions of pounds.

What Are the Effects of Food Recalls?

All these recalls and the related health consequences can translate to a damaged brand image and have a negative impact on your bottom line. If your food processing facility is responsible for food that causes foodborne illness for customers, your business could experience a loss in sales and extra costs. Proper sanitation can save your business money on avoidable expenses.

The need to protect your customers, and your brand, requires that your operation implement effective and documented cleaning and sanitizing processes within your facility.

How To Avoid Foodborne Illness In Your Facility

Below, we’ll provide three practices that you can use in your cleaning program to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses to your customers.

3 Ways to Avoid the Spread of Foodborne Illnesses

Whether your food processing operation is a large meatpacking plant or a small producer of specialty items, it’s important to implement these processes and procedures to manage the operation’s food safety and sanitation programs. 

To avoid the spread of foodborne illness, your food processing establishment can implement practices like:

  • Developing and Implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Using the Right Chemicals
  • Cleaning Before Sanitizing

Developing and Implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Guidance from the USDA and the FDA stresses the importance of having a written food safety plan and established standard operating procedures (SOPs) for your sanitation program.

Standard operating procedures, or SOPs, are a set of written instructions that give your staff step-by-step instructions to perform routine cleaning. With SOPs, your cleaning staff will have the correct information to know the right way to clean and be able to achieve consistent results. SOPs outline the tools, products, and procedures that your staff should use to clean areas in your facility. By following thoroughly created SOPs, your janitorial team will know how and when to complete cleaning.

For example, a meat packaging establishment may create and implement SOPs that outline how their equipment should be cleaned and sanitized. The steps for completing that task may include:

  1. Disassemble the equipment
  2. Remove all product debris from equipment
  3. Rinse equipment with water to remove remaining debris
  4. Use a food-grade cleaner on the equipment
  5. Reassemble the equipment
  6. Sanitize the equipment with a food-grade sanitizer. Rinse with water, if necessary

Implementing written SOPs will also help support your efforts to stay compliant with the FDA’S Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).

Each of these food safety programs and laws provides guidelines on how to minimize contamination and keep your food processing facility safe through proper sanitation practices.

The Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in order to ensure that food is safe by preventing contamination. This act requires facilities to create a plan and retain documentation on their food safety and sanitation practices.

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HAACP) is a management system that addresses food safety through the control of hazards in food processing facilities.

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GSFI) helps reduce cleaning inefficiencies through certification and provides auditing benchmarks.

Imperial Dade has had success with providing Spartan training programs to food processing customers. Spartan offers food processing sanitation training that will teach your cleaning team how to eliminate food pathogens.

Practices that will help your facility remain compliant with the FDA regulations include:

  • Establishing Written SOPs
  • Identifying Procedures
  • Specifying Cleaning and Sanitation Frequencies
  • Provide and Document Necessary Education and Training

Spartan is prepared to deliver the employee training and program documentation you need with products like their 9 step sanitation training program, their CleanCheck® Training Program, and CompuClean® Sanitation Management Software.

These programs will train your cleaning staff and equip them with the knowledge of how to remain compliant in the workplace. During training, they will learn exactly what to do, how often to do it, and the best products to use.

Using the Right Chemicals

Food-safe sanitizers should be used to reduce the presence of bacteria on the surfaces in your food processing facility. It’s important to note that sanitizers and disinfectants are not the same. Disinfectants are not typically used for food contact surfaces because they can leave behind harmful residues. Sanitizers that are food-grade effectively kill germs and are safe for contact with food without contaminating it.

Each sanitizer can remove up to 99.99% of the germs listed on the product label. The best sanitizing chemicals for your facility will be able to kill illness-causing germs and remove bacteria from surfaces.

Imperial Dade offers food production sanitation solutions including a line from Spartan Chemical.

Their Sani-T-Plus food equipment surface sanitizer is specially formulated to be effective against illness-causing bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, and E.Coli. Imperial Dade also carries Spartan’s PAA Sanitizer, which is a peroxyacetic acid-based sanitizer that can be used on hard, non-porous food-contact surfaces in your food processing facility. This product is so safe, it can even be used as a fruit and vegetable water treatment.

For surfaces that don’t come into contact with food, Spartan’s Metaquat is an option for removing germs from the surfaces in your facility. This product can effectively kill bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses and can spread to food contact surfaces.

Cleaning Before Sanitizing

Any surfaces in your food processing facility that come into contact with food products should be cleaned and sanitized. Pathogens can easily spread on surfaces that aren’t being sanitized properly. Before using a food-safe sanitizer, you should always clean your surfaces. A dirty surface cannot be sanitized effectively. Surfaces like counters and prep tables should be clean and sanitized often to prevent the spread of foodborne illness-causing bacteria.

These surfaces should be cleaned:

  • Before each use
  • Between uses when preparing RTE (ready-to-eat) foods and raw food
  • Any time there’s a risk of contamination

Cleaning surfaces removes any soils and prepares the surfaces for sanitizing. Sanitizing surfaces reduces the number of harmful bacteria present to levels that are acceptable by the EPA.

PRO-TIP: You must sanitize after cleaning. Cleaning removes soils, but it does not kill germs. The best way to ensure you are removing all germs is to use a food-grade sanitizer. Food grade sanitizers remove 99.99% of all germs.

John Thomas

Whether you’re cleaning surfaces that are covered in grease or stubborn soils, Imperial Dade carries products that will help you achieve clean surfaces and equipment. The High-Performance Alkaline FP is a highly concentrated alkaline cleaning solution used to effectively remove sugars, proteins, and other soils found in food processing facilities. Spartan Chlorinated Degreaser will quickly cleans soils from equipment in your facility.

Final Thoughts

Avoiding foodborne illnesses in your food processing facility is an important way to keep your customers safe. Properly cleaning and sanitizing the surfaces in your building will kill illness-causing bacteria before they can infect food that touches the surface.

Imperial Dade has a wide range of food-grade sanitizing products and programs. Spartan Chemical is one of the premier chemical lines we provide which helps your janitorial team create a clean, safe environment in your facility. Spartan provides economical cleaning and sanitizing products that meet all regulatory requirements.

Whether you need sanitizing products or programs to help you create SOPs and thorough cleaning practices, Imperial Dade can help match you to the perfect products for your business.

Check out the food sanitation products that Imperial Dade carries from Spartan to help reduce the spread of foodborne illnesses in your facility:

  • Chlorinated Degreaser
  • High Performance Alkaline FP
  • Sani-T-Plus
  • Metaquat
  • PAA Sanitizer
  • Consume LIQ
  • And more…

Contact an Imperial Dade Specialist for help deciding which sanitation products are right for your facility. We will conduct a review of your sanitation program and suggest the best products, training, and processes for you and your cleaning staff. Visit our website for a location near you and call today.

Improve Your Cleaning Program Results With Resources from Imperial Dade

Maintaining an efficient cleaning process is vital for any business but improving that process and garnering better results are equally important. As a customer of Imperial Dade, numerous programs and resources are at your disposal to ensure that a healthy environment for your staff and customers is provided.

Imperial Dade’s HyProtection Zone Program: Hand Hygiene and High-Touch Surface Disinfection

This program provided by Imperial Dade is ideal for educational facilities, restaurants, fitness centers, office buildings, retail stores, hotels, and houses of worship. This program assists customers in improving their hand hygiene, cleaning, and high-touch surface disinfection protocols. By participating in this program, consumers will benefit from site surveys where critical touchpoints will be identified, product reviews that ensure that the right products are being used on each surface, and an in-depth explanation of the best practices. For even easier accessibility, onsite or virtual HyProtection Zone training is available through the Imperial Dade Cleaning Institute. The training will be conducted by experienced consultants who will guide you through the process and provide informed recommendations to guarantee a healthy and clean environment that prevents the spread of illnesses.

Imperial Dade’s EatSafe Program: For a Clean Dining Environment

The EatSafe Program assists restaurants and other foodservice establishments in providing a safe and welcoming environment for their customers. The program contains core product recommendations for every individual area in your facility, help for visual learners such as wall charts for cleaning tasks, and assets that can be used to promote the EatSafe program to your guests. In addition, the increased sanitation performance helps present an establishment that is hygienic and clean. The three core areas are front-of-house touchpoints such as table-tops, chairs, and menus, restroom fixtures like faucets, flushers, dispensers, door handles, and floors, including hard surfaces and carpeting and matting.

Imperial Dade’s Environmental Service Program: Victoria Bay Equipment and Chemicals

This program is customizable to each customer’s needs. Offered are dish and laundry equipment, chemicals, and dispensers. All of which are backed by 24/7 emergency technical service. Whether it’s warewashing, tackling everyday kitchen cleaning challenges, following proper 3-compartment sink procedures, or utilizing Victoria Bay’s chemical management system, this Imperial Dade program can maximize efficiencies and effectiveness.

Imperial Dade’s Cleaning Institute: Delivering Cleaner, Healthier Facility Solutions

Imperial Dade offers exceptional training to customers on a variety of topics ranging from general cleaning to floor care. Our Director of Training teams with our sales staff to make specific labor-saving recommendations. A computer-aided task analysis system identifies opportunities for a company and then suggests relevant training to accomplish the tasks at hand. The benefits of this program include improved safety, enhanced wellness, increased productivity, and reduced overall costs.

Imperial Dade offers highly effective consultative programs to better customers’ processes and help them maintain peak performance in areas of cleanliness. Visit our website and contact a location near you.

What Happened to the Supply Chain?

Over the last year and a half, significant challenges have arisen in maintaining a robust and reliable supply chain for both businesses and consumers. This past week, news channels spotlighted the problems that continue to plague businesses in all sectors. The White House has created a task force including the secretaries of commerce, transportation, and agriculture to address the issues. From paper products to semiconductors, food products to transportation services, companies are struggling to keep up with increasing demand.

Another sector that has been experiencing severe supply chain issues is the plastics industry. Plastic resins are an integral part of the economy. Plastic is used in countless products and product packaging and are vital to multiple industries. Pandemic-related plant shutdowns, ocean shipping delays, and harsh winter storms wreaked havoc on the industry. With plastic resin shortages now predicted to last until the summer, it is essential that businesses utilize suppliers that can successfully maneuver the bottlenecks, backlogs, and raw material shortfalls that negatively impact the supply chain.

The health crisis highlighted weaknesses in the way modern supply chains operate, and it is vital for companies to take additional measures to ensure material availability during difficult times.

Businesses are now diversifying their acquisition of products and formulating new ways to monitor supply partners. Shipping companies are also adjusting to accommodate backlogs. However, the current shortage of labor in the American workforce must also be overcome to successfully address supply chain issues. Lack of truck drivers, warehouse workers, and other employment sectors will hamper some of the efforts to make the corrective changes needed to address product availability on a wholesale and retail level.

For over 85 years, Imperial Dade has been a leading supplier of foodservice packaging and facilities maintenance supplies and equipment. Over the decades, our team has overcome the challenges that arise when the supply chain is compromised. We have dealt with shortages caused by wars, natural disasters, and other crisis-level events. By maintaining strong business partnerships with hundreds of manufacturers, the dedicated procurement and logistics experts on our team have been able to respond to shortages and shipping disruptions.

Imperial Dade prides itself on being able to meet the ever-changing demands of our customers. Our sales consultants work closely with customers to identify product options and alternatives that will meet their needs. Through creative adjustments to our procurement practices, we’ve worked to reduce the challenges in obtaining foodservice packaging, maintenance supplies, and PPE.

If your company requires supplies to meet the increased demands projected for this year, contact the experts at Imperial Dade. We are committed to providing a wide range of solutions to our customers, helping them overcome the challenges that may develop in the supply chain. To learn more about the many resources we have to offer, contact the Imperial Dade location near you.

Congress Enacts Far-Reaching Initiatives to Help Small Businesses

As our nation continues to recover from the setbacks experienced due to the spread of COVID-19 and government-backed closure mandates, the business community has looked towards our leadership to provide relief from the severe economic downturn. Recently, the federal government enacted funding to help small businesses recover from the pandemic’s financial toll.

As the leaders of various economic sectors attempt to rebuild from the impacts of sudden revenue decline experienced in the last year, several specific measures have been taken to assist certain industries that have been particularly affected.

Here we will outline some of the assistance now available to businesses that have experienced hardship due to the pandemic.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was created to assist the severely affected restaurant industry. Due to the threat of viral spread, many restaurants needed to close to protect the health and safety of the citizens they serve. This was economically devastating and caused widespread financial losses leading to permanent closures and significant setbacks to any restaurants that managed to weather the storm. Aid package details include:

  • Eligibility determinations made by the subtraction of 2020 gross receipts from 2019 gross receipts.
  • If not in operation for the entirety of 2019, the difference is determined to be 12 times the average monthly gross receipts available from 2019 and the average monthly gross receipts received in 2020 (SBA Formula).
  • If not in operation until 2020, grants are awarded in the amount equal to “eligible expenses” subtracted by gross receipts received in total (SBA Formula).
  • If not in operation as of the application date for the grant but has “eligible expenses,” assistance would be equal to the aforementioned expenses (SBA Formula).
  • Pandemic-related revenue loss for a company is reduced by any amount received from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for either the First Draw or Second Draw in 2020/2021.

The Small Business Association (SBA) can also make adjustments to awards dependent on current demand and “relative local costs” in markets where the RRF is applicable.

Other important aspects of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund are:

  • A 21-Day initial period where small businesses are given priority for grant awards.
  • Expenses must have occurred between February 15, 2020, to December 31, 2021.
  • Awarded grants must be used on payroll, mortgage obligations, utilities, building maintenance, rent, construction to accommodate outdoor patronage, PPE, cleaning supplies, food and drink inventories, supplier costs, operating expenses, paid sick days, and all other expenses deemed essential to maintaining operations during the pandemic.

To learn more about eligibility requirements and other important information regarding the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, please visit the Restaurants Act website.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Along with the funding now available through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 offers additional support to businesses suffering due to the pandemic. The American Rescue Act of 2021 is a broad effort to stem the losses sustained by the country as a whole. Some of the significant components of this initiative include:

  • Aid to State and Local Governments: $360 billion to assist state, local, tribal, and territorial governments pay for expenses tied to the pandemic, including cleaning supplies and PPE equipment.
  • Funds allocated to Educational Institutions: $176 billion to help the education sector.
  • Grants to the Transportation sector which include money intended for transit agencies to maintain payroll and purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees.

There are also several provisions within the Act that provide for workplace safety initiatives that include $150 million to the Department of Labor for worker protection concerning COVID-19. Additionally, direct payments and tax provisions provide relief on an individual basis for all those impacted by events surrounding the pandemic.

For more information regarding the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, please visit the White House website.

Further efforts are underway to provide more relief to institutions and businesses in an effort to assist them in opening safely. Provisions set forth in the HEALS Act would grant funding for efforts to maintain a clean and protected environment business environment. Officials in all branches of our government have pledged to do what is necessary to help the American people and the business community.

Pandemic Preparedness and Recovery with Imperial Dade

Imperial Dade is more than just a distribution company. We specialize in providing our clients with the products and services they need to keep the workplace clean and safe. We will continue to be a leading source of the supplies necessary to keep your company running. From our selection of cleaning products to janitorial supplies, Imperial Dade offers a wide range of products and consultative services that help our clients including restaurants, educational facilities, and retail stores navigate the realities of doing business in the age of COVID-19.

For more information about Imperial Dade or to speak to one of our representatives, contact us today.

Industry Experts Share Their Cost Saving Tips, Part 2 of 3

Foodservice Supplies

Tips from Andrew Paton, Regional Sales Director – Imperial Dade

  1. Invest in takeout packaging. Save money on leftover packaging. Instead of buying a “middle of the road” vessel for both leftovers and takeout, use an inexpensive package like a paper food pail for customers’ leftovers and utilize a high-end package like a Cube container for takeout and delivery.
  2. In coastal and high-tourism areas, timeshares and vacation rentals are common.  Restaurants can create a takeout container or takeout cup that is dishwasher safe and will end up being reused in the kitchens of these rentals.  Some examples are souvenir cups and dishwasher-safe takeout containers.  Branding a cup or container with your logo and contact information is a great way to market to visitors that stay in these rentals. 
  3. Garbage bags and can liners are often misused. Take a look at the garbage bag in your trash can. If there is more than 6 inches of bag hanging off the side, you should be using a shorter, and less expensive, can liner. Try our Accufit liners.  Each size of liner is designed to specifically fit the corresponding trash can.
  4. The most common dispenser roll towel in the market is a 350ft roll.  The Victoria Bay high capacity roll towel is 1150ft.  That’s over three times the amount of paper on the roll. By using a high capacity roll, your staff will change out the towels less often and the cost in use is significantly less.
  5. Handled paper bags are the most common takeout bags in the market due to customer preferences.  A great option is a die-cut handle paper bag.  These bags are less expensive than traditional rolled paper handled bags yet have the same useful features and benefits. 
Custom-printed souvenir cups are a cost-effective marketing tool.

Our experienced consultants are available to help you streamline operations, save money, and improve customer satisfaction. Contact an Imperial Dade location near you to get started!

Safety in School Nutrition Programs

Despite different backgrounds, life experiences and age, a common educational experience exists – school foodservice. Whether a student eats in the lunchroom, classroom or simply stops by a grab-and-go kiosk, safety for students is top of mind this fall.

Changing to distance or hybrid learning has changed the way schools provide meals to students, too. Depending on state-by-state regulations, many schools across the nation have not fully returned to in-person instruction. Some schools are providing both to-go bag lunches for home and meals for classrooms. While there are many variables to how schools are managing this, one thing is for sure: School lunches are very important for many students.

Each day, 30 million students are served by the National School Lunch Program, many of whom rely on this offering as a means for nutritious, healthy food.

Automated Labeling for School Meal Programs

This year it is much harder to maintain safety standards with a traditional lunchroom format of service. Schools have adapted by mobilizing staff to bring lunches to classrooms or team up with bus drivers on their routes to deliver to students at home. This delivery style lunch continues coverage, but also increases the importance of proper labeling. Allergies, dietary restrictions and nutrition regulations must continue to be considered – printing these crucial pieces of information clearly on labels makes assessment easy and ensures a safe meal for every student.

Utilizing Clear Labeling for Prep & Food Packaging

Operators are also still focused on serving healthy student meals while taking food allergies and sensitivities into consideration. Changing dietary needs and regulations, compounded with allergies, means school foodservice operators are hypersensitive when it comes to protecting students. The DateCodeGenie® system prints labels for grab-and-go, prep, allergens and more at the touch of a button – and can be customized for your school’s unique needs. Meals can even be individually labeled with student names to ensure safety and prevent mix-ups. Plus, this intuitive system can be controlled from a centralized district or campus location to streamline and save time. Labeling becomes easy, safe and efficient so that you can focus on keeping students safe.

With the Date Code Genie®, school foodservice operators can:
  • Quick-print labels for frequently prepped items
  • Label entire meals or individual portions made for grab-and-go
  • Easily customize labels with school logo, branding and even student names
  • Display ingredients, allergens & nutrition information clearly on labels
  • Control multiple district schools in one place

Multiple label adhesives are available, including a tamper-evident style that assures delivered meals have not been compromised. Date Code Genie systems provide benefits to school foodservice operations both immediately and well into the future.

Visit our website and speak with your Imperial Dade representative about purchasing a Date Code Genie for your school or other foodservice operation.

Which Building Rating System is Right for your Facility?

As the economy starts its slow path to recovery and employees return to the workforce, many are wondering what the future workplace will look like after COVID-19. Organizations across the world have reassessed and revamped sanitation practices, furniture layouts, and protective measures. Still, it’s difficult to determine whether these changes will be effective in creating a safe and healthy work environment without outside professionals’ help. That’s why so many business owners elect to utilize safety rating systems to prepare their establishment in the post-COVID world.

At its core, a safety rating system is designed to help an organization cultivate and maintain a workplace that enhances its occupants’ health and wellness. Take a look at some of the benefits offered by these programs.

No two safety rating systems are the same. Below, we will outline some the differences between the GBAC STAR Facility Rating System and the WELL Health and Safety Rating System to help you make the best choice.

GBAC STAR Facility Rating System

The Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) rating system, better known as the STAR Facility Accreditation program, is designed to help organizations establish a comprehensive plan for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention. Successful completion of the program requires organizations to demonstrate they can prepare, respond, and recover from biological threats, such as the coronavirus.

To earn this accreditation, organizations must meet the 20 different criteria listed in the STAR Program Elements. Organizations that acquire this accreditation meet the gold-standard of cleanliness and safety in their industry. Furthermore, their staff has the knowledge and tools to provide a safe environment for employees and customers alike.

The GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation program is available for organizations across a list of industries — daycares, restaurants, hotels, schools, stadiums, doctor’s offices, etc.

Take the Readiness Assessment test to see how your business holds up or learn more about GBAC here.

WELL Health and Safety Rating System

The WELL Health and Safety rating system focuses on workplace well-being as opposed to strict infectious disease prevention. They take a holistic approach to health and safety by encompassing factors such as comfort and resiliency when developing an effective program.

To earn this rating, organizations must meet 15 out of the 21 possible criteria across five categories:

  • Cleaning and sanitation procedures
  • Health service resources
  • Stakeholder engagement and communication
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Air and water quality management

Once certified, organizations must uphold the strict quality standards year after year to qualify for the rating system’s renewal.

Imperial Dade impacts the cleaning, sanitation, and hygiene portion of each rating system. Visit our website for a location near you.

12 Tips for Incorporating Packaging into Your Holiday Marketing Strategy

By Laura Craven

Summer is coming to a close and fall will be here sooner than you know it, as will the holiday season. According the National Retail Federation about 40% of consumers begin their holiday shopping in October. And, this year with Covid-related travel and event restrictions, more gifts will be shipped in advance of the holidays than ever before.

If you have not started to plan your holiday marketing strategy, you may already be running late. But don’t worry, Imperial Dade is here to help with a dozen tips on how incorporating packaging into your marketing plan will help you design Instagrammable products that will delight your customers and increase sales. Whether you are a small artisanal food producer or a restaurant with a retail outlet, Imperial Dade has innovative options for you.

  1. Consider your product offering and decide which items are ideal for holiday gift giving. Do you have items that can be packaged in small “stocking stuffer” sizes? Do you have products that can be bundled together to create a gift set? Once you determine your holiday line-up, it’s time to get creative with packaging.
  2. Package your products with gifting in mind. In today’s convenience culture, items that do not require additional gift wrap are more popular and consumers are willing to pay a premium.
  3. Use the correct size package for each product. Too large a package will increase shipping costs and may cause the contents to shift and become damaged. Too small a package may prevent proper closure. Just like Goldilocks, you need to find packaging that is just right.
  4. Consumers today are concerned with safety and sanitation. You may want to consider tamper-evident containers, labels, or wrap-around bands to demonstrate security. The labels and bands can be custom-printed and increase your brand recognition while protecting the contents.
  5. Package items in surprising ways. Bento boxes, wire-handle food pails, and tin-tie window bags are interesting options for items other than sushi, take-out lo mein, or coffee beans. Wood trays and cheeseboards are a great substitute for traditional wicker gift baskets and can be reused. Cardboard pop-up drink carriers can be used to hold products sold in bottles and jars. Get creative and think out of the box, literally!
  6. Containers and cartons are available in hundreds of shapes, materials, colors, and sizes. Find options that reflect your brand image and appeal to your customers’ preferences. Do you sell organic foods? If so, use packages and trays made from rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo or palm leaves. Does your target customer love luxury? If so, select designer boxes with magnetic closures and built-in ribbons. Do you create miniature works of edible art? Choose clear or window packaging to showcase your talent.
  7. If your budget is small, use colorful raffia ribbon to tie up a standard kraft paper carton, add a pretty “produced locally” label with your logo and voila, your product is ready to gift!
  8. If your products naturally go with fun activities, such as popcorn and movies, create themed bundles. Use a large movie-style popcorn tub, include a bag of your gourmet popcorn and a gift code for a movie download from a streaming service. Instant date night!
  9. Incorporate QR codes using labels that, once scanned, will link customers to your website or social media channels where they can learn more about your products.
  10. Shopping local and shopping small are growing trends. Share your story as a small business by including an “About Us” card or a newsletter with each purchase. This will help you engage with your customer on a personal level and may even help spread the word, growing your fan base.
  11. Order your holiday packaging as early as possible (now). This will give you time to photograph your products for your website, social media posts, email campaigns, printed flyers, etc.
  12. If you ship your products, secondary or outer packaging is also important. Choose adjustable shipping cartons that can be configured for a variety of sizes to minimize your inventory. Use dunnage or void fill stuffing to protect the contents, avoiding foam peanuts which tend to make a mess and annoy customers. Use custom-printed carton-sealing tape to promote your brand. Printed tape is much less expensive than custom-printed boxes and can be ordered in small quantities.

Imperial Dade has been helping food processors, farmers, and artisanal producers source packaging products and sanitation supplies for over 85 years. Our experts will help you discover unique packaging options from hundreds of manufactures that meet your specific needs and budget. Contact a packaging specialist for a complimentary consultation. Visit our website for a location near you.

8 Not-So-Scary Advantages of Ghost Kitchens

This may be the ideal time to open a new food concept!

By Laura Craven

Imagine you’ve always dreamed of opening a restaurant but the massive investment in the physical location, equipment, furniture, décor, labor, etc. was prohibitive. And, the time needed to build or remodel the space, develop the menu, train staff, pass inspections, and create a marketing campaign could take several months or even a year.

What if you could rent a turnkey commercial kitchen space for 10% or less of the initial cost to rent a traditional restaurant and hit the ground running within a matter of weeks? Impossible you say? Not if you use a ghost kitchen.

What is a ghost kitchen? Also known as “cloud”, “dark”, “delivery”, or “virtual”, ghost kitchens operate without the traditional front-of-house dining room and customer-facing store front. These shared foodservice hubs have been around for several years, arriving on the scene as delivery orders grew in popularity. Today, with dining rooms closed or restricted and more consumers adopting delivered meals, commercial kitchens designed for off-premise sales could be the answer for restauranteurs, both experienced and inspired newcomers.

The advantages of using ghost kitchens, in addition to the fractional rent, may include:

  • Strategically located in areas near many hungry customers
  • Parking and check-in stations for delivery drivers
  • Tech enabled facilities to support online ordering and status communications
  • Co-op purchasing opportunities
  • Marketing partnerships with third-party delivery services
  • Cleaning/sanitation services and HACCP support
  • Flexible leasing arrangements
  • Ability to change concepts with the seasons

A successful “virtual restaurant” still requires great food, hard work, and the ability to stand out in a crowded marketplace, but the barrier to entry is much lower.

Tips for a delivery-only model:

  • Streamline your menu for speed and off-premise quality
  • Offer unique menu items tailored for the demographics in your delivery area
  • Use the right technology application and data analytics for your business model
  • Price your offerings with applicable expenses in mind such as delivery fees
  • Use high-quality packaging to preserve temperature, texture, and appearance
  • Use tamper-evident bags and wrapped cutlery/napkin kits to ensure safety
Download the Off-Premise Packaging Guide

Today’s convenience-culture consumers are willing to pay more for having restaurant-quality food delivered. If you are interested in making your dream a reality, visit www.thekitchendoor.com for a list of ghost kitchens in your area. For a complimentary consultation on off-premise packaging, contact the experts at Imperial Dade. Visit our website for a location near you.