When getting your restaurant ready for operation, there is a lot of equipment that will need to be purchased. Although probably not the most important piece of equipment, an ice machine will be an integral component of your daily operation. To find the one that is most ideal for your restaurant, here are three things you need to consider:
Type of Ice
In restaurants, ice is not only used for drinks, but also to chill wine, display food items and in salad bars. So, with that being said, it is important to consider the type of ice your machine will produce. There are different types of ice that are best-suited for different situations. Therefore, it is important that you utilize the ideal type of ice so that your customers have the best experience at your restaurant. The most popular types of ice in restaurants are full cube, half cube and nugget. Full and half cubes are great for soda machines, mixed drinks and blended drinks. Half cube ice works well in iced coffee. Nugget ice is great for all of the above and has the ability to cool drinks faster thanks to its small size.
Size of Machine
Aside from the type of ice that the machine will produce, another important consideration is the size of the machine. You need to make sure that you choose an ice machine that has the ability to produce an adequate amount of ice that will match your daily operations. To try to determine how much ice you will need on any given day, you should estimate the customer traffic on your busiest days. You should also take into consideration any other uses of ice, such as for the salad bar and displaying certain foods. In addition, you should overestimate ice production by a bit to allow for future growth.
Water- or Air-Cooled Units
One of the final considerations that you need to decide on is whether you want a unit with a water-cooled or an air-cooled condenser. Water-cooled ice machines will use less electricity, operate with less noise and are ideal for virtually any climate (particularly warm, humid climates). If your city has any restrictions on water usage, you may not be allowed to use a water-cooled machine. Air-cooled ice machines are often less expensive upfront and will require less water. However, they can be very noisy and airflow clearance will be necessary around all sides of the ice machine.
Keep in mind that if you decide you want multiple types of ice, such as half cube and nugget, you may need to invest in more than one ice machine or a more expensive ice maker that has the ability to make both. Talk to a company like Louis Wohl & Sons Inc for more information.