Ice, Ice, Baby


If you’re anything like me, the only time you’re thinking about ice is when the Bruins are skating on it or it’s marinating in Maker’s Mark fine Kentucky Bourbon.   But for most food service professionals, ice has a lot of things to consider.  Rather than pretend to know what I’m talking about or plagiarizing from folks who do, here is a snip from Food Service Equipment and Supplies Magazine explaining what to consider in choosing ice other than being cold.

Three Main Shapes of IceCapture

  • Of the three types of ice that ice machines make, full size is most common, according to Foodservice Equipment and Supplies Magazine. Full-size ice can be used for a variety of purposes, from cooling drinks to being used as an ingredient in frozen beverages or ingredients for meals. It takes a long time to melt, which works well for larger drinks.
  • Flake ice is also a feature in ice machines, according to Food Management. It’s very useful for beverages that need to cool down fast, like freshly made teas, but tends to water down many drinks and reduce customer satisfaction with them. This ice is best used sparingly or for strongly-made drinks.
  • “Nugget” ice is a recent development that’s commonly used for drinks and combines the solidity of cubes with the quick-cooling abilities of flake ice. New to the foodservice world, this ice uses less water and electricity, lowering production costs, and often has smaller machines that require less maintenance as well.

Two Different Kinds of Models

  • Under counter units are normally self-contained, with the ice machine and bin attached together. They’re often best for smaller businesses that want their equipment contained to a specific area of their operations. These models, however, don’t often connect to ice dispensers, which will have to be hand-filled.
  • Modular units are their own machine, and often come without bins to collect the finished ice. They’re better used with businesses that have larger floors of operation and can also be paired with dispensers to simplify their use.

What to Watch For

  • Many manufacturers will say that their machines have certain production metrics. However, these metrics are normally based on water temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit and air temperature of 70 degrees, which may be unrealistic in many businesses, especially those in warmer climates.
  • Water-cooled ice makers, on the other hand, can reduce the amount of heat added to the area overall, making cooling costs less expensive.
  • Most machines are made of stainless steel and plastic, which are fairly easy to clean as long as air and water flow are continual to keep aspects of the machines’ production cool.

Ice machines are a very worthwhile investment for businesses, but the final decision depends on the room available for their use and the type of ice that goes best for the needs of the business itself.

If you would  like to learn more from the qualified professionals here at Alternative Sales (not so much me) or check out our stock ice makers, stop down to see us at 135 Rt 125 TAX FREE Kingston NH or just give us a call at (603) 642-3873 and tell them Vanilla sent you.

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