One of the most important pieces of commercial kitchen equipment in a restaurant kitchen is without a doubt the ice machine. There are a number of reasons why you may want to buy a new commercial ice machine. It may be that the current one is faulty and needs to be replaced, or perhaps you want to upgrade to a better one. Whatever your reasons, there are a number of factors you will need to consider when buying a commercial ice machine for your restaurant.
1. Determine the Type and Size of Ice Required
There are different types of ice. Make sure that the ice machine you choose has the capacity of producing the type of ice you need. This could be flaked, cubed or nugget shaped. The amount of ice needed per day should also guide you in choosing the right ice maker. Always buy an ice machine that has the capacity to meet the ice demands of the restaurant.
2. Modular or Self-Contained
If your restaurant has a lot of clients, you might want to consider buying a modular ice machine, which produces large volumes of ice within a very short time. However, since modular ice machines only produce ice, you will need an extra storage bin to store the ice.
On the other hand, self-contained ice machines use less space. They have the capacity to produce and store ice within the same unit. It’s ideally suited for small spaces such as countertops and under counters. Since self-contained ice machines produce low quantities of ice than modular ones, they are only suited for small restaurants.
3. Air-Cooled, Water Cooled, or Remote Cooled
You have a choice to either buy an air-cooled, water-cooled, or remote-cooled ice machine. The air-cooled ice machines are usually cheaper and highly energy-efficient. They also use minimal amounts of water than their water- and remote-cooled counterparts.
Since they are heavily dependent on air flow, they are not recommended for small restaurants without adequate space for proper air circulation. Water-cooled ice machines are recommended for restaurants with higher ambient temperatures. Remotely cooled compressors can produce huge volumes of ice on a daily basis. You will however require professional installation to ensure that they are installed correctly.
4. Energy Star Qualification
To conserve electricity and water, your new commercial ice machine should be Energy Star qualified. You might even receive rebates for using an eco-friendly ice machine.
Besides the lowered energy consumption costs, using Energy Star qualified machines provides you with an opportunity to be kind to the environment. So, before buying a new ice machine, make sure it is Energy Star qualified.
You will need a good warranty for your commercial ice machine. The length and nature of the warranty may vary from one machine to another, and from one supplier to another. An ideal warranty should provide some sort of cover for between three to five years, especially for the replacement and repair of faulty parts.
Find out the type and nature of warranty your supplier offers before buying an ice machine. However, you will need to carefully read the warranty, especially the fine print, to understand what is covered, and what is not covered.
6. Consider Adding a Water Filter
To extend the life of your commercial ice machine, consider purchasing a water filter as well. Besides providing you with higher quality ice, water filters also reduce slime, scale and the build-up of mould in your ice machine. Purchasing a water filter is also a good basis for requesting an extension of your warranty. They should, however, be replaced regularly, at least once every six months depending on your location.
A commercial ice machine is one of the most important must-have pieces of equipment in your restaurant. Having one that adequately serves your needs will greatly benefit your business.