Ice machines form the backbone of several operations in a commercial foodservice establishment. Whether it’s a hotel or restaurant, ice machines help you save costs and ensure your customers are satisfied with your service. Ice is not only deployed at the bar or in the refreshments section but is also used in cooking operations. Needless to say, outfitting your establishment with a quality ice machine is integral to supporting your operational plans and endeavors.
It's essential that you understand the various factors that affect an ice machine’s performance and also take into account your business needs when purchasing an ice maker. We look at the key outliers that need to be factored in so you have a long-term ice solution for your business.
Considerations to Make Before Purchasing an Ice Machine
Here are some important points to bear in mind when you’re looking for a new ice machine:
Decide on the Ice Machine Type
Ice machines produce a variety of ice types. This includes crescent, full-dice, half-dice, bullet, nugget, and gourmet ice cubes. Not only do these cubes have different shapes, but they also entail different functions. Choosing an ice machine that produces the right type of ice is essential to your business.
Choose the Right Size
Ice machines come in different sizes, and their production rates depend on it. Be sure to estimate the amount of space you have at your establishment, and calculate the amount of ice you require on the hottest and busiest day in the kitchen. Undercounter, standalone, and countertop are among the most popular sizes when it comes to ice machines.
Don’t Forget to Check the Electrical Requirements
Understanding the electrical configurations of outlets and prospective ice makers is integral to buying the right professional ice machine. Available in both 115V and 220V options, electricals determine both power consumption and rate of output. While 220V models consume more power, they also have a higher rate of ice production. On the other hand, the 115V options are compact but have lower capacities.
Don’t Forego Energy Efficiency
Always look for the energy star ratings of the ice machine model you intend to purchase. Energy star is an institution that gives you a detailed analysis of the power consumption of the unit. Using energy-efficient appliances in the kitchen also allows you to claim several benefits from government agencies for helping mitigate the global carbon footprint.
Purchasing vs. Renting
This is a conundrum faced by several business owners when they're thinking about inducting a new ice machine. While purchasing a new unit requires more capital investment, renting saves you money in the short term. However, the latter option requires you to foot all the potential service costs, while owning a machine entitles you to free service for fairly long periods following the purchase.
Important Tips for Maintaining an Ice Machine in Perfect Condition
Regular maintenance and service ensure your ice machine runs smoothly and has a long lifespan. Here’s what should know about ice machine maintenance:
Regular Cleaning is Essential
Don’t forget to keep the ice machine clean by wiping its external and internal surfaces with cleaning solutions. Often, companies offer their recommended formulas to clean ice machines thoroughly. Be sure to follow these instructions. Cleaning your ice machine at least twice a week, and a monthly deep-cleaning will keep bacteria and slime away.
Use a Water Filter
Impurities in the water supply affect the quality of ice and also lower the lifespan of ice machines. To mitigate these factors, you can outfit your ice machine with a water filter that keeps the impurities out of the cooling system.
De-clog the Ice Machine Frequently
The dispensing chambers in an ice machine are prone to get clogged due to the build-up of frozen droplets, ice particles, and crystallized runoff. It’s important to clear these ice clogs for seamless operations. A warm and damp cloth can be used to wipe down these areas to melt and clear out the sections jammed with ice.
Keep the Ice Machine Cool
Don’t forget to place your ice machine in a cool environment. Ice machines can get hot due to their internal processes, and external heat will hamper their function. A hot ambient temperature will require your ice machine to work harder to produce the same amount of ice. Be sure to provide ample space and a relatively cool area for your ice machine to function.
Given the essential function of ice in the modern-day food industry, choosing the right ice machine is at the centre of smooth and hassle-free operations in a commercial kitchen. Don’t forget to take into account the above-mentioned considerations before making a choice. Selecting the right equipment not only allows for better profits but also cuts down unwanted expenses that can stem from faulty equipment.