Things to Consider When Buying a Commercial Ice Machine for Your Restaurant

 

A commercial ice machine is one of the most important pieces of equipment found in any type of food service establishment. The ice it provides can be used to cool fountain beverages, blend smoothies, or keep seafood displays and salad bar fixings looking fresh and enticing. And of course ice is a critical component in many alcohol-based favorites at the bar, including daiquiris, margaritas, and cocktails.

Because your commercial ice machine will be used on a daily basis, it’s important that you choose a model capable of supplying your establishment’s ice needs without overstraining your budget. To help you make the right choice, here are a few things to consider when buying a commercial ice machine for your restaurant.

  • Amount of ice needed: The industry-wide rule of thumb is that restaurants require approximately 1.7 pounds of ice per guest, so start your estimate there. Then move up or down accordingly based on the patterns observed at your own eatery, such as the lunch and dinner rush, weekday vs weekend patronage, and the extent of your alcohol service.
  • Desired ice shape: Full and half-cubes are the most common, as they are slower to melt and may therefore reduce overall ice consumption, but nugget ice is fantastic for blended drinks and for customers that like to chew their ice after finishing a beverage (think children and soft drinks). Meanwhile, ice flakes are the preferred shape for food displays and salad bars.
  • Type of unit: Bigger, busier restaurants will likely need an ice machine head with bin. These are the most powerful units and are capable of producing anywhere from 300 to 900+ pounds of ice over a 24-hour period, depending on the model selected. Self-contained undercounter ice machines are preferable for smaller restaurants and cafes that go through only a couple hundred pounds of ice in a day, while countertop ice dispensers are best for places with self-serve beverage stations.
  • Condenser: All ice machines have a condenser that is responsible for removing excess heat from the machine so it can continually make ice. Condensers may be air-cooled, which is a popular choice for most restaurants where the ambient temperature usually stays below 80°F; water-cooled, for establishments that require very high ice output; and remote, which is best if you want to keep the heat and noise of the ice making process out of earshot of diners.
  • Plumbing and power: Before buying any commercial ice machine, check the manufacturer’s specifications to confirm that you have compatible plumbing and power sources to accommodate the unit.

Hotter outdoor temperatures will be here before you know it, so make sure you’re ready to satisfy your customers’ cravings for cold refreshments by buying a new commercial ice machine for your restaurant. Use the considerations above as a guide when browsing the selection at ShortOrder.com.

Tags: commercial ice machine, commercial kitchen equipment, ice machines, restaurant equipment

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