One of the most important tools in the food and beverage business is the ice machine. They produce ice for a wide variety of establishments such as catering businesses, hotels, restaurants, school and office cafeterias, convenience stores, supermarkets, and even clinics and hospitals.
Since they are often used in commercial and industrial settings, ice machines are often constructed of heavy-duty materials such as plastic, steel, and aluminum. If you’re thinking of starting a juice bar business, you’ll need a commercial-grade ice machine to produce drinks for your customers.
When shopping around for an ice maker, you need to consider the type of ice you’re going to use for your business. There are many types of ice, each one suited for a particular purpose. All ice machines work the same way, but the type of ice they produce can be different.
Here are some of the most common types of ice for food and beverage establishments:
Cubed ice is by far the most popular type of ice. It is produced by running tap water over an evaporator plate designed in a grid pattern, not unlike the ice trays in our fridges. As the water moves back and forth over the plate, the ice begins to form layer by layer until it fills to the top, creating a cube. Once done, the ice is then separated from the evaporator plate.
You might be surprised to know that not all cubed ice is the same. Most establishments use the standard full cube and the smaller half-cube. Some places even have customized their machines to produce customized shapes.
Cubed ice is most often seen at food and beverage businesses such as fast-food restaurants, hotels, and convenience stores. The shape is known for its long-lasting and hardy qualities, making cubed ice ideal for cooling drinks.
The manufacturing processes involved in the production of flake ice is completely different from cubed ice. Most manufacturers have their own designs for the evaporator cylinders, the part that creates the ice. When buying an ice machine, make sure you know a technician who can repair your specific model.
Flake ice is relatively easy to use and transport. It’s most often seen in food stores such as supermarkets and specialized meat and fish shops to display and cool fresh meats and seafood. Restaurants with salad bars also use flake ice to keep the ingredients and cutlery cool.
Healthcare facilities such as clinics and hospitals also use flake ice. Since flake ice melts quickly, people can be hydrated without the risks of choking. It is also used for cooling injured body parts, which is why many hospitals have ice makers on hand.
Nugget ice might not be as popular as the other types of ice, but it certainly holds a place in people’s hearts. It is also called Sonic ice, after a restaurant chain that pioneered its design. This ice is small and round, about the size of a large pebble.
This type of ice starts its life as flake ice, but instead of falling off the edges once it reaches the top, the ice is forced through a machine that compresses the ice into the nugget shapes that consumers have come to love.
This guide will help you choose the right type of ice for your food and beverage business. Once you know the ice you’re going to need, you can then start searching for ice machines for your kitchen.