In the quest to construct kitchens that meet the needs and budgets of operators, the importance of providing an effective water treatment solution can easily get lost. But if you knew just how costly it could prove to be for your customers you might think differently, writes Kit Free of European Water Care.
For years, water treatment has been the ‘Cinderella’ of the commercial catering products industry.
Often it is something that is grudgingly added to a quote only to be removed as part of a price negotiation at a later stage. While that might seem the easiest or most logical step to take, it is a move that, quite simply, is bad for business.
It is impossible to install or run a commercial kitchen without water. After all, it is a key ingredient in both tea and coffee, combi ovens turn it to steam and, of course, warewashing and laundry use large amounts of it.
With that in mind, where exactly does water treatment come in?
The first thing you need to be aware of is that water can be a major cause of equipment breakdown: the two main problems experienced by caterers are scale and corrosion.
Hard water, which contains calcium and magnesium, causes scale build-up in boilers, on pipes and on heating elements. This builds up and eventually causes the machine to fail, which subsequently leads to down time with associated loss of business and expensive repairs.
Scale will also increase energy costs due to the fact that when it builds up on heat transfer surfaces it prevents the effective flow of energy, and therefore more energy is used to heat water. Hard water also requires the use of more soap powders and detergents, which again creates additional cost for the operator.
That’s not all — the wash quality inevitably suffers in hard water. Corrosion is another issue that can quickly arise if the correct water treatment solution is not administered. Contrary to belief, chlorides in water can even attack stainless steel and cause corrosion, which once again is an expensive repair for the operator.
So what does this all mean for you and your customers? Well, these are problems that you have the ability to prevent and resolve by fitting and maintaining appropriate water treatment products.
At the end of the day, prescribing the most suitable water treatment solution will automatically lead to less expense and the trouble-free use of equipment for the operator.
As a distributor you rely on creating a good relationship with your customers, providing value for money equipment with good service back-up that offers trouble-free service to the end-user.
You choose the equipment you wish to sell on this basis and look for repeat business. If the equipment suffers from scale or corrosion, the client will see this as an equipment problem and not a site problem. Providing protection from water-related issues helps protect your good name and the relationship you have with your client.
Having accepted that water treatment is something that shouldn’t be compromised, the next question is how you go about maximising its potential.
Like all other equipment, there is a range of products available to suit different applications, separate models to cater for different volumes and several suppliers to choose from.
My advice is to select a manufacturer you can work with which has experience of working in the foodservice sector, which will be able to give you advice on the products most suited to the application you are working on and which works closely with distributors to deliver value for money.
On-site monitoring and service are essential to maintaining the equipment, so your chosen partner should have an established service department operating throughout the UK.
Once you have selected your water treatment partner you will have access to equipment at prices that allow you to make money and which provides a solution to a serious problem — helping you build client relationships and protecting your business.
So next time the price of that quotation is up for discussion, don’t take the simple option of removing water treatment. Sell the benefits of the solution, keep your customer onside and boost your bottom line.
Kit Free is a Director at European Water Care, a specialist independent manufacturer of water softeners, water filters and calcium treatment products. www.watercare.co.uk