With the California drought upon us, Greg Daniels–Executive Chef/Partner at Haven Gastropub–decided to switch out the bar's water dishwashers for air compressors.
“When you're a restaurateur that relies on local resources during a drought, it makes you question the sustainability of local produce,” he says. “Changing the way we use water seemed like our responsibility.”
After reading an article about Big Sur Chef John Cox's dishwashing hack of using an air compressor instead of water, Daniels was inspired to make the switch and bought a 6.3-gallon air compressor. He says the amount of water being used to rinse dishes is where his restaurant is seeing the most waste. “This new method has been working for us for about four weeks,” he says.
Daniels hasn't yet calculated the exact amount of water the restaurant is saving, but he says the benefits are noticeable.
Daniels' setup: an air hose is mounted to his dish station and has a nozzle and trigger gun at the end. To clean plates, you simply pull the trigger and let the air blow the food off them (which may get loud and slightly messy, but Daniels says there are ways to work around this). Whenever the air compressor misses a spot, Daniels and his team simply fill a bucket with water and use a sponge to get rid of any remnants.
“I think more restaurants should make the switch because it's cheap and very simple to install,” Daniels explains. “We had other ideas to save water but this is the only thing we've implemented so far and it works for our small restaurant.” He says other restaurateurs are welcome to come by Haven Gastropub to learn more about how air compressors work.
The next big thing? According to Daniels, a hybrid air-and-water dishwasher. “John Cox is working on a prototype for a dual-purpose nozzle that would have water and air in it–sometimes you do have to use water,” Daniels explains. “That's the next thing.”