What are dumbwaiter lifts and how do they work?

What are dumbwaiter lifts and how do they work?

To conveniently and discreetly pass objects from one floor to another, restaurants, bars, large houses, and many more businesses, use something called a dumbwaiter. Dating back hundreds of years, the dumbwaiter is an essential part of any well-functioning business that transports goods from one floor to another.

They could be used in restaurants, hospitals, hospitality events, care home environments, huge houses, and more. But, what are dumbwaiters and how do they work?

What is a dumbwaiter lift?

A dumbwaiter lift was first invented in the 19th century and was used for the discreet movement of goods between floors.

The typical use for a dumbwaiter is to send dishes of freshly-cooked food from the kitchen area to the restaurant above, while dirty dishes, cutlery and glasses could be sent back down to be washed.

A dumbwaiter lift is considered to be an essential device, even to this day, to many hospitality businesses, such as hotels and restaurants, and even places like hospitals.

What’s the history behind the dumbwaiter lift?

Dumbwaiters have been in existence for hundreds of years, but their origin stretches back thousands, with many believing royalty used a system to deliver food from one floor to another in large, luxury houses.

They used to be manually operated by a rope; pulling on the rope would send the lift up and vice versa.

Former President of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson, actually used a system called dumbwaiters to serve his guests when hosting parties. However, they were very different from the dumbwaiter lift we know of today.

Jefferson would have tables situated throughout different rooms of his home that would serve food and drinks to his guests, essentially eliminating the need for staff to walk around serving guests. This discreet service was called dumbwaiter work.

How does a dumbwaiter lift work?

A dumbwaiter lift is traditionally used with pulley ropes to transport goods between floors via a narrow lift shaft. However, more modern contraptions are controlled with an electric motor – much like an elevator – as a simple push of a button sends the lift to its destination.

Dumbwaiters are extremely valuable to the service industry as they remove the need for waiters to travel up and down staircases to manually transport food and drink. Not only is this a safer system for everybody, but it also saves a lot of time and energy for staff.

What are the benefits of a dumbwaiter lift?

There are plenty of advantages to installing a dumbwaiter lift in your business. They include:

  • Productivity increase
  • Less physical strain
  • Useful for people with mobility limitations
  • More sustainable

Productivity increase

Compared to carrying every item up and down flights of stairs, a dumbwaiter lift is a massive productivity improvement.

Having waiters stay on the main restaurant floor and receive food and drink orders via a dumbwaiter lift makes much more sense than travelling up and down stairs where an accident could happen. Using a dumbwaiter lift ensures the risk of dropping food is much smaller, while everything can be delivered promptly.

Less physical strain

Carrying food and drink up and down stairs can be extremely tiring, especially if the kitchen is more than one floor below the main serving area.

Asking waiters to traverse flights of stairs multiple times per day while carefully carrying objects can cause excessive strain and injury. This is unsustainable for everybody involved as injury will lead to a lack of staff, creating problems for the business when serving customers.

Useful for people with mobility limitations

For anybody living with mobility limitations, a dumbwaiter lift is extremely helpful.

These lifts aren’t just useful for restaurants and hotels, but they’re great for retirement and care homes too. A dumbwaiter lift makes it more accessible and inclusive for everybody to move their objects, which could – for example – be sending their clothes down to a laundry room.

More sustainable

Finally, a dumbwaiter is a more sustainable lift option than an elevator to carry people, and not in terms of space.

An elevator that staff can use to transport from one floor to another takes up plenty of building space while using a lot more electricity than a dumbwaiter. If you’d like a productive lift that doesn’t take up much space or energy, a dumbwaiter lift is the better option.

Find your ideal dumbwaiter lift

If you think your business could benefit from using a dumbwaiter lift, consider using a specialised company to plan and install one for you.

Whatever industry your business is in, if you regularly have to transport objects from one floor to another, you could transform productivity with a dumbwaiter.

Level Access Lift provides a wide range of dumbwaiters that are suitable for various locations. Whether you need to transport food between a kitchen and dining area, move stationery from one floor to the next in the office, or transfer patients’ records to different departments in a hospital, they can help you.

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