FOR A food-led business, squeaky clean plates are something of a priority.
So, when Peach Pub Company took over the Embankment Hotel in Bedford recently, licensee Andrew Coath was keen to replace the old existing dishwasher.
A classic Tudor-style building on the river front, the Embankment had been a popular place to eat and drink for many years, but its traditional carvery format was flagging somewhat when Peach took it over in May this year.
The initial refurbishment aimed to freshen up the pub and revitalise the food offer to bring the Embankment's standards in line with Peach's own.
For Andrew, that meant the dishwasher in the kitchen was one of the first things that had to go. "We had to ensure all our crockery was properly clean, a tall order given the terrible state of the previous dishwasher," he says.
"The local Bedford mains water is very hard and it looked like the water softener hadn't been properly recharged for years.
"The old dishwasher also looked unhygienic. It was almost white inside from limescale and although we tried, cleaning seemed to make no difference to the quality of the wash."
The new machine not only had to give perfect results, but also had to fit with the group's goal of reducing its carbon footprint. Peach opted for a new Winterhalter GS 502 Energy+ energy-saving dishwasher.
The latest energy-saving version of the mid-range pass-through machine is also in use in other pubs on the Peach estate. But with the Embankment kitchen still awaiting full refurbishment, and the electricity supply not yet ready for any extra demand, Andrew called on the expertise of Winterhalter's engineers to ensure a safe and efficient installation.
The Energy+ feature was critical to reducing the power taken from the pub's aging and previously overloaded system - a problem for many pubs with 'vintage' power supplies. Winterhalter estimates that a typical Energy+ installation can reduce the total load by up to 6kW at peak times.
It recycles exhaust heat from the steam and hot wastewater and returns it to heat the incoming fresh cold water.
This cuts water heating costs, and by condensing the steam to remove its heat, also removes the need for a separate extractor hood, making kitchen working conditions more pleasant.
"It's too early to say what it's saving in running costs," says Andrew, "but going through the figures with Winterhalter, it says it could be more than £1,000 per year from just the one machine. I guess that figure can only rise as electricity costs increase."
Now that the initial priority of the dishwashing is sorted, further refurbishment later this year will take the facilities for the kitchens and the rest of the pub into the 21st century, without spoiling its classic Tudor feel.
The pub is already attracting plenty of new customers, with cover numbers steadily rising. Following the refurbishment later this year, Andrew hopes the Embankment will cater for more than 100 diners a night.
"The aim is to provide simple, but very good quality, locally-sourced food and drink," he says. "The Embankment will have 20 rooms with a boutique hotel feel, but ultimately we will still be a pub at heart."