SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIF.—Sometimes the simplest inventions can save a lot of time, water, energy, and money. That has certainly been the case with PLATESCRAPE, a 4.5-gallon, portable tub that incorporates hot water, soap and two perfectly placed brushes to remove the food waste on plates. One simply dips a plate into the water between the two brushes to rid both sides of the plate of food remains. This ensures a clean plate prior to placement in a dishwasher and ultimately a sparkling plate that is used by a guest.
Nate Stein, the CEO, and inventor of PLATESCRAPE, hatched the idea for his invention in 2015 while working for his family’s catering business and noticed how much water was being wasted during the washing of dishes. Stein tried out his PLATESCRAPE prototype in his dad’s kitchen, won an award for his design, and then tried his invention in local restaurants. His success prompted him to take his 100 percent American made product to another level.
PLATESCRAPE launched in 2018 at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show. Stein said his company had the very last booth at the show but still made some very important contacts. He will return to the NRA Show with his product in 2023 (booth 11119). The show will take place May 20 to 23 at McCormick Place in Chicago.
Much More Efficient Than Spray Nozzles
Placed in the kitchen wash basin, PLATESCRAPE is more efficient than spray nozzles that can consume from 1.5 gallons to 5 gallons of minute. According to Stein, the invention can reduce water consumption by 93 percent and eliminates the energy used to heat flowing hot water and significantly saves time. In the kitchen or even outside the kitchen, PLATESCRAPE can be used to scrape hundreds of plates in a half hour, Stein says. Because it is portable, it can be used in catering environments to scrape plates before the food dries on the plates. The same water can be used to clean from 200 to 600 dishes, depending on the type of food served. “The brushes get off the stubborn food,” Stein says. Once the PLATESCRAPE is done for the day, it can simply be placed in a dishwasher.
PLATESCRAPE is UL and NSF certified and has been successfully tested by the Food Service Technology Center (FSTC). Using the pre-sanitizing of 200,000 plates as a basis, FSTC concluded that PLATESCRAPE would use $61 in water and $64 in heating costs. FSTC found that an average spray nozzle would use $734 in water and $764 for heating.
The PLATESCRAPE also prevents the spread of viruses that can be spread by spray nozzles. Spraying plates creates backsplash that could potentially carry viruses and infect dish staff, Stein says.
A Long-Lasting Product
According to PLATESCRAPE, each brush bristle has a special coating that prevents any bacterial growth. “We haven’t had a single customer need a replacement,” Stein adds.
Stein is passionate about reducing water consumption—so much so that he donates money to Water.org each time a PLATESCRAPE is sold. Water.org is an international nonprofit organization that has positively transformed more than millions of lives around the world with access to safe water and sanitation. Founded by Gary White and Matt Damon, Water.org pioneers market-driven financial solutions (low interest rate loans) to the global water crisis.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.