Time to Buy a New Ice Machine? What to Look for

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Two Different Ice MachinesIce machines are one of the ‘grunts’ of the kitchen, constantly in use and long-suffering. It is easy to just keeping using yours until it breaks down and you have to buy a new one. But how do you deal with the sudden lack of ice? Is there a better way to handle the switch?

Signs You Need a New Ice Machine

Ice machines seem simple enough on the surface – their main function after all is to make ice. But there are a surprising number of factors to consider when deciding whether or not to upgrade:

  • Energy efficiency gets better the newer your machine. In some cases, the cost of upgrading might be made up within a couple of years of energy savings, which makes it nearly a no-brainer.
  • Sheer volume might inspire you to upgrade if your old machine just can’t keep up with your customers’ needs.
  • Cubic footage is always at a premium in a commercial kitchen, and finding out that there’s a machine that makes the same amount of ice in half the space is huge.
  • Types of ice vary a surprising amount, and if you find that a new twist to your menu or prep process means suddenly you need more crushed than cubes or flake than blocks, a new machine can be the only answer.
  • Maintenance schedules are the final and most common reason why an ice machine gets replaced; when you reach a point where predicted maintenance costs outstrip new machine costs, the choice is obvious.

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Get Ready for Kickoff: The Necessary Restaurant Equipment for Football Season

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Tailgating Football FansFootball Season starts September 4th — is your restaurant ready? The football crowd has its own dynamic and its own wants and needs; if your restaurant equipment is not up to the demands they are going to place on it, you may be leaving money on the table. So what exactly do you need?

Fryers

There is nothing the football crowd loves more than deep-fried food. Hot wings, chicken fingers, onion rings, french fries, and mozzarella sticks; these should all be a snap for your kitchen to pump out when the guys arrive for their ritual of beer and carb-coated snacks dipped in boiling oil. Fryers should be easy to access and well-maintained, because they are going to be seeing a lot of use this season.

Kegerators

Did we mention beer? There’s a good reason for that; it’s always been popular among the football crowd. This season, it’s going to get cranked up another notch as craft beers become the standard in many places from the Pacific Northwest to the Alamo. Kegerators combine the fresh-from-the-fridge taste of a bottle with the direct-to-the-mug convenience of draught — be sure you’re equipped.  (more…)

Another Ice-O-Matic Ice Machine Joins the Energy Star Family

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Iceomatc_ICEU220HAThe folks at Ice-O-Matic, makers of marvelous ice machines and dispensers, have outdone themselves yet again on the energy efficiency front. The Ice-O-Matic brand already has plenty of ice machines that are Energy Star-approved, and has recently added another to the lineup: the ICEU226A. This space-saving, ice-making beauty saves as much or more energy than its counterpart ice machines of the same capacity. In addition to its superior energy-saving capabilities, the ICEU226A has a production rate of up to 251 pounds of ice per day, interior anti-microbial protection, and an anti-corrosion stainless steel exterior. No wonder Energy Star gave it the seal of approval. (more…)

Lean, Green Manitowoc Machines Get 2014 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Energy-Star-Manitowoc-id-0452We have good news for all of you environmentally-conscious restaurateurs: Manitowoc Foodservice was recently named by the EPA as 2014 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year and given the Sustained Excellence Award. Yes indeed, one of our very favorite ice machine manufacturers has been recognized for its continuing concern for the environment and dedication to excellent equipment. Manitowoc, known for its superior kitchen equipment and ice makers, has consistently exhibited a commitment to environmental protection and energy efficiency while producing quality products. Manitowoc has been an ENERGY STAR Partner since 2001, with an ENERGY STAR portfolio comprised of 556 products, some of which are the Manitowoc ice machines we carry here at ShortOrder.

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Go ‘Beyond the Cube’ with Ice-O-Matic Portal for a New Experience

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

ice cubesAre you usually indifferent to which commercial ice machines you use at your restaurant? We understand that when shopping for new commercial kitchen appliances, your purchase is usually highly influenced by price and product quality; so what if there was a commercial ice machine company that went the extra mile to show you that it cares about the lives that its products touch? Would that determination to connect to you and your business change the way you felt about that brand and its machines?

Ice-O-Matic, an ice machine and ice dispenser manufacturer, wanted to provide restaurant management and owners something tangible that clearly showed its dedication to the restaurant industry. The result is the Beyond the Cube portal. When entering this portal, you can instantly see that the main purpose of it is to serve others, not itself.

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Unruly Ice Machines? 5 Common Ice Machine Problems and How to Fix Them

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Unruly Ice Machines? 5 Common Ice Machine Problems and How to Fix ThemSometimes ice machines just won’t cooperate. Whether you have too much ice or too little, a leaky unit, or a loud ice maker, ice machine malfunctions can throw a real wrench in the works at your establishment. But don’t worry—ShortOrder is here to help you troubleshoot. Once you’ve checked the obvious culprits (like the ice machine’s indicator lights and power supply) it’s time to take a closer look at the issue. Here are our tips for the top 5 common ice machine problems and how to fix them.

1. Combating Ice Machine Slime

Without proper maintenance, ice machine slime is a common problem among ice machine owners. This slime that accumulates inside the machine is a type of mold or fungus that forms when surfaces that are constantly covered with water droplets are exposed to warm temperatures. The result is a pinkish slime that can eventually become red, green, brown or black, coating your ice and lending it an unpleasant taste and smell. To prevent ice machine slime, wipe down and sanitize your ice machines regularly. To combat existing slime, use quaternary ammonium chloride (QAC). This will eliminate the slime and prevent it from reforming for a period of time after its application. If the mold is in your water lines, hoses, or fittings, however, you may need to get them replaced altogether.

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The Numbers Are In! Drink Trend Forecast for 2014

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

The Numbers Are In! Drink Trend Forecast for 2014Ladies and gentlemen, start your ice machines! The predictions for 2014 drink trends are in, and trends are surfacing in on-premise sales, new flavor profiles, and fancy additions to cocktails. Some of the drink trends of 2013 are carrying over into the new year, but many brand new ones are surfacing as well. We’re certain that restaurants’ ice machines will be plenty busy this year as they adjust for the changing beverage scene.

Want to know more? Here are 6 of the top beverage trends to expect in 2014. Ready, set, sip!

1.  Premium alcohol beverages are on the rise according to Technomic’s 2013 BarTAB report. Technomic also anticipates continued dollar growth in premium adult beverages during 2014. While conscious of a slow economy, consumers seem to be drinking on-premise less, but spending more—not unlike “the ‘drinking less, but drinking better’ trend of the early 1990s” said Eric Schmidt, Technomic’s director of research. Top contenders to pair your ice machines’ ice with include Irish whiskey, single-malt scotch, and imported vodka.

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What’s Next for Commercial Restaurant Tech

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

What’s Next for Commercial Restaurant TechAt ShortOrder we’re pretty proud of our high-tech commercial restaurant equipment. Appliances and ice machines like the Manitowoc NEO Undercounter Ice Maker are designed to make life in the kitchen easier and more efficient thanks to technology that caters specifically to a busy work environment that requires high quality service. Manufacturers of ice machines like Manitowoc and Scotsman are consistently improving ice machines’ technology for better ice production more efficient operation. These ice machines’ features include advance notice of service needs, intuitive settings and design, and lowered energy consumption for a better use of your resources, plus environmentally-friendly ice machines.

So in addition to smart ice machines, what’s next for the world of commercial restaurant technology?

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What Millennials Want from a Drink Menu

Monday, November 11th, 2013

There has been a lot of buzz lately about Millennials’ emerging role in the foodservice industry. They are a unique demographic, clocking in as the biggest generation since the Baby Boomers at 68 million individuals, and consisting of Americans between the ages of 21 and 34. From opting for price-conscious drinks to shaking up new flavors using ice machines’ ice for cocktails, there are many different ways that restaurants can cater to Millennials when it comes to modifying and marketing their drink menus. Here are 4 ways to tap into things that are important to Millennials when it comes to beverages:

Try What’s Trending

Pay attention to what’s new in the adult beverage industry. According to a survey by Technomic, Inc., Millennials are more likely to try a new drink than other demographics are. Tap into drink trends and new products to keep your beverage menu up-to-date and interesting so that Millennial consumers will take notice and keep coming back.

Offer Variety

Whether you employ your ice machines to shake up a variety of cocktails, serve house-made liquors over ice, or blend a specialty margarita with ice from your ice machines, make sure you give Millennials plenty options. Again, this demographic is more likely to venture outside the norm to taste something new. Millennials are also more fond of a wide range of alcohols, from Moscatos to tequila to seasonal beers, so don’t be afraid to mix up your inventory regularly.

Emphasize Flavor

While sweet drinks are certainly a favorite among Millennial imbibers, they are often an introduction to more a more expansive range of adult beverage ingredients. Pair spicy, smoky, or subtle flavors with ice from your ice machines to create unique drinks that cater to Millennials’ tastes.

Brand Loyalty? Not So Much

When it comes to choosing drinks, Millennials are less concerned with brand loyalty than they are with deals and a reasonable price point. As a demographic with high demands for creative drinks but relatively low funds to buy them, restaurants should focus on offering promotions and special events.

More Advice and Ice Machines from ShortOrder

How are you using your drinks menus and ice machines to cater to the spending power of Millennials? What are your most popular drinks to make with ice from your ice machines? Tweet at ShortOrder on Twitter or like us on Facebook and let us know!

What Kind of Ice Machine is Right For Your Hotel?

Monday, October 21st, 2013

If you’re currently in the market for a new ice machine for your hotel, you may find that there are more factors to consider than you could ever have imagined. We know that when selecting the right ice machine for your business, factors such as the machine’s physical dimensions, volume of ice, the types of ice it creates, and connection requirements are only the “tip of the iceberg.” So, then, what types of concerns should be at the forefront when purchasing a new ice machine specifically for your hotel? The choice between an ice dispenser versus an ice storage bin is seemingly simple, but while evaluating ice machines, keep these pros and cons in mind:

Ice Dispenser Pros:

  • Sanitation – Ice dispensers normally do not allow guests access to any part of the machine other than the dispensing mechanism, essentially disallowing guests any direct access to the ice. This helps prevent any cross-contamination between guests, as the scoop usually used in ice storage bins is eliminated.
  • Efficiency and Fewer Spills – Because dispensers usually have a limit on how large of a container can be filled, guests will be able to fill up their cups and wine buckets more quickly. The mechanism of dispensing also helps to ensure fewer ice spills and subsequently dangerous puddles.
  • Ability to Regulate Ice Dispensing – With a greater number of guests come a greater number of guests needing ice, and the ability to regulate how much ice is dispensed at once will help ensure that the early birds won’t be able to make away with all of the ice. Regulating ice by requiring a room key to be swiped or coins to be inserted will also help reduce waste of ice.

 

Ice Dispenser Cons:

  • Higher Maintenance – Dispensing mechanisms versus storage bins generally require more repairs or servicing simply because there are more moving parts in an ice dispenser than an ice storage bin.
  • Limited Container Sizes – Because some dispensers will have a smaller sink clearance, guests will be limited by the size of the container that will fit. Even with a huge clearance of 10.5 inches, Manitowoc’s ice dispensers would not be able to fill up a beach-day cooler efficiently the way the storage bin with a scoop would.
  • Space Requirements – Most ice dispensers, even with the option of a twenty-two inch wide dispenser, will stand taller than their storage bin counterparts. As a hotel owner, finding enough space or high enough ceilings to fit in an icemaker can be a real concern. Thankfully, manufacturers such as Manitowoc manufacture ice machines for small spaces.

 

Ice Storage Bin Pros:

  • Storage Capacity – The most obvious advantage of the storage bin is its ability to store more ice at one time (as opposed to most ice dispensers maxing out around 180 lbs), thereby providing guests with as little or as much as they need at all times.
  • Low Maintenance – Storage bins physically have less moving parts and potential breakdowns than their dispensing rivals, so that there’s a less likely chance there will ever be an “out of order” sign to upset your guests. In the long term, being able to repair your entire machine without having to purchase a new one could save you a lot of money.
  • Easier Access, No Minimum Clearance – With the large, hinged door and generous scoop, the ice storage bin allows guests to reach in and gather as much as they need when they need it. There is no limit to how large the container can be like there is with the ice dispenser.

 

Ice Storage Bin Cons:

  • No Regulation of Usage – Because guests have easy access to the ice and can have as much as they want (whenever they want) without having to pay, the openness of the storage bin runs the risk of having all the ice used up too quickly without being regulated.
  • Sanitation – The mechanics of the ice storage bin is such that hands will almost surely always be in or around the ice, as well as on the door and ice scoop. This could lead to a rapid buildup of contaminated ice and machinery, leaving you in a risky situation if a guest becomes sick.

While both have their advantages and disadvantages, remember that you can also opt for countertop icemakers or even head-only dispensers! Which kind of ice machine best fits your hotel? Connect with ShortOrder via Twitter and Facebook and let us know!

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