One of the hardest working pieces of equipment in a restaurant is the ice machine. It is constantly running in order to produce the ice needed for preparing food and for serving drinks in your establishment. It also has to keep running to ensure the ice it has already made stays frozen.
Since it does work so hard, you may find that it needs frequent repairs, which can be expensive. However, if you do decide to replace your ice machine, you need to know the best size to lease or purchase for your restaurant.
Selecting an Ice Machine
If you need to replace a commercial ice machine, the first decision will be what type of machine you need. Ice can be produced as cubes, nuggets, or flakes. If you use the ice machine primarily for serving drinks and using in the kitchen for blanching, then a machine that produces cubes will probably suit your needs. This is probably the most common type of restaurant ice maker on the market.
Ice that forms nuggets, which also may be referred to as cubelets, produces smaller pieces of ice that many people like to chew. It is used primarily for serving drinks, and it is the type of ice machine you will find in most hospitals for serving patients. They are also commonly used for drinks in schools and in bars.
Flaked ice is often used in seafood markets, seafood restaurants, for cooling salad bars, and for using to make shaved ice treats. It can also be used for serving cold drinks, but it melts quickly, so it isn’t ideal for that purpose. Along with the type of ice you use for your restaurant, you will also need to select a machine by how much ice it can produce within a 24-hour period.
Amount of Produced Ice
To calculate the amount of ice you will need per day, you need to figure out how many customers you serve each day. Take that number and multiply it by how much you estimate each customer will use to get how much ice a machine will need to produce for your restaurant each day. Allowing for a 20 percent cushion, estimate that the average customer uses about 1.4 kilograms. If your restaurant serves 200 guests per day, then you will need a total of 280 kilograms of ice per day.
When considering which ice machine to put in your establishment, you will not only need to do this calculation, but you should read the specifications of the machines you are considering. This information should be able to tell you how much ice the machine can produce per day. Between the calculation and the information about the ice machine, you should be able to find the best one for your needs.
Instead of buying an ice machine, consider leasing one to help reduce your costs. Since ice machines work hard, they have a tendency to break down. If you lease a machine, you won’t have to pay for repairs.