Ice is one of the most important foods used at a club or resort property. And styles, capacity and cooling methods are important considerations in choosing icemakers.
Before selecting a machine, explore your club’s cooling needs. Ceiling height, counter locations, and how wide a wall space you can dedicate to the machine can have a significant impact on which machine you
choose. Proper electrical service, water supply, and drain access are critical elements to consider as well.
Ice is available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Cubes come in full and half sizes. There is also nugget ice and flake ice.
Cubes are a classic choice. Full cubes are designed to look appealing in cocktails, and are great for bagging and water coolers. (They melt slower than other forms of ice, so they are also a good fit for beverage carts.)
Half-cubes are the workhorses of ice styles. They’re versatile and can be used in most types of drinks. Halfcubes work well in dispenser applications, salad bars, and food-chilling applications.
Nugget ice, with its softer consistency, is great for fountain beverages or blended cocktails and smoothies, because it’s easier to use in dispensers and blenders. Nugget ice production typically uses less water and electricity, as compared to cube ice, so it can also be less costly to make, too.
Flake ice is great for buffets and food presentation (though it tends to water down drinks too much). It can also be used to chill bottled beverages such as beer and wine, as it packs well for even cooling and protection.
Running out of ice isn’t an option.
Manufacturers measure volume based on 50°F water and 70°F air temperature. But these aren’t totally realistic temperatures for most properties, so it’s usually a good idea to consider increasing the size of the machine to ensure a sufficient supply.
Here’s a quick guide to help properties gauge how much ice is enough*:
|Restaurant||2 lbs. per person|
|Cocktails||3 lbs. per seat|
|Water Glass||4 ozs. per 10-oz. glass|
|Salad Bar||30 lbs. per cubic foot|
|Quick Service||5 ozs. per 7-12 oz. cup|
|8 ozs. per 12-16 oz. cup|
|12 ozs. per 16-24 oz. cup|
“The production level of a machine is important, as no one ever wants to run out of ice during rush periods or for special occasions,” says the Director of Marketing for a leading Denver-based ice machine manufacturer. “Sure, traffic fluctuates, but it’s a good rule of thumb to size the machine for the day of the week when you’ll have the highest volume.”
Ice machines need to be cooled, and there are two primary ways this is done, with either air or water used to cool the refrigeration compressor and condenser system.
The most common method is air-cooled, but this can heat up a room very quickly, which might not be ideal for an already hot kitchen. The most energy-efficient may be a remote condenser, which eliminates hot air being exhausted into a conditioned space. Water-cooled machines are great if you have a cooling tower or closed-loop chilling system. Check local codes before using water-cooled, as some areas with water shortages do not allow them.
*Ice Usage Guide Courtesy of Hoshizaki America, Inc.