Whether for takeaways, coffee to go or event food services, sustainability is the order of the day. The most prominent advocate of this is the TV chef, Member of the European Parliament and catering entrepreneur Sarah Wiener, who does not just advocate the employment of regional suppliers to provide sustainable catering at major events. She also supports the use of tap water instead of mineral water, dispensing with packaging, and the use of reusable instead of disposable tableware.
"The fact that food tastes better when served on a porcelain plate rather than a plastic one is logical", agrees Willi Schöllmann. The restaurateur from Offenburg in Baden also caters for events at the Hubert Burda Media publishing house every now and then, and he would never dream of using disposable tableware. He washes whatever plates, glasses and cutlery that is used for this catering – as well as those used in his own hotel, cafe, bar and restaurant – with a machine from Meiko. But what do you do when the dishes cannot be transported to the machine? "In that case, our customers ensure that the machine goes to where the dishes are", explains Sebastian Hainz. The Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at MEIKO Global has already experienced with amazement more than once just how resourceful, flexible and creative Meiko customers are when it comes to mobilising large machines such as the M-iQ. Michael Mayer, Managing Director of Deutschland GmbH explains, "Michael Andresen, a solution provider in the field of non-food catering, is a pioneer when it comes to reusable tableware, and washes millions of cups and mugs from events ranging from one of the largest Heavy Metal festivals in the world - Wacken - right through to the Dresden Christmas market.“
To be able to do this, Michael Andresen has installed a M-iQ flight type dishwashing machine in a truck and, with his "cup&more mobile cleaning unit", travels the length and breadth of Germany to wash large amounts of dishes wherever it would not be possible to do so otherwise. The mobility of the large flight type dishwashing machine is not, however, the only thing that makes Michael Andresen's service so special. Andresen, a technician and creative thinker born and bred, has equipped his M-iQ with a special patented transport solution and drying system in order to tailor it even more precisely to his particular needs. "Meiko and I have been working together very closely for a number of years, and so the company benefits from the customer, and vice versa", explains Andresen.
The founder of "cup&more – Andresen Mehrweglogistik" in Bad Segeberg in North Germany, has also, however, developed an intelligent cup deposit system for the coffee-to-go business in bakeries – and, with a dishwashing centre, also cleans the used "to go" cups. "So far we have around 200 bakery shops, of which a large number are owner-operated, taking part in our system. The solution is to rinse the cups centrally, in order that in a decentralized solution, the smaller bakery shops do not have to take back more cups at any time than they have issued. That is to say, we have set up a cup pool, which every bakery can sign up to. We fetch the used cups from each participant centrally and return clean ones, and we wash the used cups in our Bad Segeberg facility with a machine from Meiko", explains Andresen. In the meantime, cup&more has duplicated this system for an additional 60 bakery shops in Leipzig.
An absolute prerequisite for the hygiene of the cups is not only that they are washed clean. Sebastian Hainz explains, "The largest challenge in the cleaning of plastics has always been the drying process, because plastic is significantly worse at storing heat than, for example, porcelain, and dries only very slowly. We have significantly advanced our developments in drying results in the last few years, and have made very good progress, for example, with shake-drying in the cup washing process. Here, we have been very successful in systems where the goal is to stack and clear away the cups after the washing and drying process without residual moisture." On the other hand, instead of the shake-drying process, Michael Andresen relies here on patented solutions that he has developed himself and that satisfy his requirements for speed in the washing process and for the highest possible level of dryness of the washware once it leaves the machine. A process that, according to Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing MEIKO Global Sebastian Hainz, is not a problem for his company because "We have been in a constant exchange with our customers for more than 90 years, and without this mutual transfer of knowledge there is no way we would have been this successful."
In the Netherlands, CupStack, a company run by Mirza van Meerwijk, Gawein Hamers and Jeffrey Hooi, offers consultation, logistics, coordination, cleaning, and storage of hard plastic cups for use at major events. Here, too, the washing results, and in particular the level of dryness of the cups, are second to none. Mirza van Meerwijk and his colleagues are also delighted with the performance of the machine when it comes to speed. "We have reduced our personnel costs by 50 percent because we can now load the flight type dishwashing machine directly, and unload it semi-automatically“. The CupStack founders began as employees of "Barproducties", a catering company specialised in supporting bars that provide services at major events. Mirza van Meerwijk explains, "During this time, we identified the key factors involved in working with reusable cups and derived our business idea from this, because we saw that there was great scope in helping the organizers and caterers to achieve their sustainability goals." For the founders of CupStack, this includes answering questions regarding the material of the cups, sustainable logistics, storage and, of course, cleaning. "With Meiko, we have found a partner who provides machines with sufficient capacity, that guarantee lightning-fast results, and that feature unique technological characteristics such as the indispensable drying system, which enables the cups to either be used again or packaged immediately."