How water filtration can improve a bar’s business

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Oliver Rudman, an application engineer at science-based technology company 3M, on how water filtration can save bars and pubs money and keep customers returning

Pubs and bars are increasingly investing in water filtration, as this vital technology helps not only to improve the taste of customers’ drinks and food, but can also save businesses money through reduced equipment downtime and helping to prevent costly repairs.

This trend looks set to continue as awareness of chlorine and chloramines being used to remove bacteria, sediment and other impurities from the UK’s mains water supply increases.

While this is an important function, these chemicals can leave water tasting and smelling unpleasant, affecting everything from soft drinks and coffee to steamed foods and ice, as well as causing premature corrosion of seals and pipework within foodservice equipment.

Many pub and bar chains use water filter cartridges with carbon block technology, which removes chlorine from mains water, helping to improve taste consistency across outlets, so that customers know they will be getting the same quality food and drink regardless of geographical differences in the mains water supply.

Although recent technological developments have led to carbon blocks that target chloramines as well as chlorines, these are not always used within filter cartridges. As a result, many carbon filters currently being used are ineffective at chloramine removal.

Scale can also be a huge problem for pubs and bars, as it reduces the efficiency of common equipment such as ice machines, coffee machines, hot water boilers, post mix systems and steamer ovens. Water filtration may help to reduce limescale, the build-up of calcium and magnesium carbonates and sulphates caused by hard water, which affects some 60 per cent of the UK.

Water filters that use ion exchange resin and reverse osmosis filtration systems remove calcium and magnesium ions from the water, eliminating the causes of scale altogether.

This can save businesses up to 29% on their energy bills, as well as helping to reduce downtime caused by machine breakdowns, and lowering maintenance costs.

One of the leading providers of water filtration technology is 3M, which offers a wide range of products suitable for the bar and pub industry, including its ScaleGard Pro and ScaleGard Blend ranges and its SGLP2 Reverse Osmosis Filtration System.

Water makes up 98 per cent of a customer’s Americano and 83 per cent of their soft drink, so if this main ingredient contains high levels of chlorine and chloramines, it’s going to impact the taste of the beverage and the reputation of the vendor.

An activated-carbon block filter can greatly improve the taste and smell of any drink or food that uses water from the mains supply, while also removing sediment and bacteria.

On the other hand, ion-exchange resin filters are the most effective for scale prevention, so they are recommended for hard water areas.

Filters that contain polyphosphates help to inhibit scale in soft water areas, where low levels of calcium and magnesium are still present.

Equipment such as coffee machines can consume up to 29 per cent more energy if scale builds up in pipes and on heating elements. This can also result in frequent servicing and extra downtime, which also hit businesses in the pocket.

For these reasons and more, water filtration really is vital for any pub or bar.

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