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!