Cold Beverage Dispenser Buying Guide

Cold Beverage Dispenser Buying Guide


These refrigerated beverage dispensers are perfect for convenience stores, kiosks, grocery stores, gas stations and much more!

Cold beverage dispensers have long been known as a must in a variety of restaurant concepts. From gas stations, to kiosks and fast-casual restaurants, the functionality and ease-of-use of beverage dispensers can't be beat! Unlike your at-home varieties of beverage dispensers, these refrigerated units are designed for regular, heavy use—they'll keep drinks cold all day long!

Dispensers are great for juice or lemonade during events and even continental breakfasts, where self-service options eliminates line backups and keep guests hydrated. They are also quite common in convenience stores and small groceries, where staff can quickly serve customers on the run. But don't think that cold beverage dispensers are limited just to those who want it "to go." Many bars and lounges utilize refrigerated beverage dispensers to make cocktails (like margaritas and mojitos) in batch and ready to go during peak times.

The most common type of refrigerated beverage dispensers you'll find are aptly named as "Bubblers™," like this one from Crathco; the constant "bubble" helps keep drinks mixed and stirred, which prevents sugars and other sediments from your drinks settling on the bottom of the bowl. Convenient and easy-to-use, you can't go wrong with these cold beverage dispensers.

Beverage Dispenser Buying Considerations

Before jumping into your beverage dispenser purchase, consider first what you'll be using it for. Cold beverage dispensers come in a variety of sizes to suit your specific needs. Read on and learn more:

Seems like common sense, but before purchasing your cold beverage dispenser first think about what you'll use it for. Will it be for sweet juices, cocktail mixers, or flavored milk beverages? Remember that beverages made with powders would benefit with a "bubbler" type of unit that keeps everything properly mixed. Knowing what you intend to serve beforehand will help you pick the perfect unit for your needs.
Tank Size and Configurations
Though many cold beverage dispensers are sold in single tank options, the two bowl dispensers are the most popular. Multiple bowls let you offer more flavors to customers—in fact some manufacturers make units with as many as four bowls! Keep in mind that the more bowls you have, the more work ahead of you in prep work and cleaning.
Stainless Steel
If presentation is important to you, consider a beverage dispenser with stainless steel side panels (as opposed to the plastic standard) and dripless pouring valves. Stylish and functional, stainless steel makes for easier cleaning, less maintenance, and a longer product life.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Like most equipment, following regular cleaning schedules is key to giving your equipment a long and happy life. Your daily cleaning routine should include the disassembly and cleaning of all bowl components, including the valve O-Ring and bowl gasket to remove any dried-on beverage solids and pulp.

Aside from the time commitment of regular cleaning, the biggest challenge with cold beverage dispensers is keeping track of all of the parts. Small pieces like the impeller, bearing sleeve or valve are easy to lose down the drain during cleaning. You should also keep an eye for wear on the bearing sleeve and impeller, which may deteriorate normally based upon usage and time.

Many manufacturers like Crathco make preventative maintenance kits which include everything you could possibly need for your equipment, such as: impellers, bearing sleeves, O-Rings, bowl gaskets and even food-grade lubricant to keep your dispenser operating smoothly. These kits are ideal to keep on hand so you're always prepared.

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