Diary of a Mad Dishwasher: Things Restaurants Do That Anger Their Dishwashers

Dishwashers are the life blood of restaurants. But with notoriously high turnover rates we wanted to explore the relationship between restaurants and dishwashers–namely how restaurants piss off their dishwashers.

  • Cutting Hours without Notice

    Nobody likes to have their hours cut, especially on short notice. When a dishwasher arrives to work ready for a full day of work, and you cut their hours, it can send some workers over the edge. With the cost of living constantly increasing, it is important for restaurants to alert your dishwashers about their hours in order for them to make necessary financial adjustments in order to pay their bills.

  • Making their job harder

    Although it is common courtesy in the restaurant industry to clean the kitchen at the end of each shift, some restaurants allow dishes from the previous shift to accumulate. For dishwashers doing the work of their shift and another shift is a no-no and a not so subtle way of pissing of your dishwasher. Another way restaurants make the job for a dishwasher harder is by disrespecting the dishwashers. Dishwashers sometimes feel as if they are at the bottom of the food chain, but allowing cooks and chefs to make them feel lower is unnecessary and harmful. The dishwasher is the connective tissue of the restaurant, and while the restaurant’s responsibility is not to make every shift easy, it should be made efficient with proper procedural practices.

  • Convincing your dishwasher to work sick

We understand how important dishwashers are, but the safety of your dishwasher and your clientele are also important. Do not force your dishwasher to play the “tough guy”. This act could potentially pass illness to many people—some of whom could be pregnant, elderly, and young. Restaurant managers have to listen when their dishwashers inform them that are ill. Dishwashers must be sent home if they have a constant cough, fever, nausea, and or sneezing fits, or diarrhea.  Threatening your dishwasher with termination is intolerable and causes dissent. Understand that dishwashers are not machines, they are people and learn the proper hygiene practices to prevent illness and contamination.

  • Kitchen Ergonomics

The layout of a kitchen aids or prevents the efficiency of your dishwashers. A work layout with enough room to store clean dishes and utensil and stack dirty dishes is ideal. Restaurants should not make the dish pit an afterthought. A simple fix of having a shelving unit in place for dishwashers to store clean dishes can not only help the dishwasher, but it can also help the cooks.

  • Low pay

Many restaurants function with very tight profit margins. Although the dishwasher is in the lower ranks of the staff hierarchy dishwashers hold the restaurant service together. Being paid a low wage coupled with the tiring work at the dish pit can build resentment and anger in a dishwasher. If increasing wages may not be an option the occasional bonus payment can make a difference. Even encouraging customers to tip the dishwasher can be a solid plan to compensate for less than stellar pay.


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