Commercial ice machines are ubiquitous in the food service industry, and for good reason too. Used for everything from water to soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, salad bars, school cafeterias, event catering and more, ice makers are an integral component to any successful food service operation. As necessary as you know ice is to your business, the initial cost of commercial ice makers can be a tough one to swallow. Lucky for you, we feature a variety of ice machines from the industry's leading brands like Manitowoc, Scotsman, Ice-O-Matic and more so you can find the right ice machine for your commercial kitchen.
Unlike the ice maker in your home, commercial ice makers come in a variety of units to suit your specific needs. If space is tight, consider an undercounter ice machine which fits snugly beneath your work table. Many ice machines also come in a variety of configurable units, allowing you to choose your ice machine/compressor type (air-cooled, water-cooled or remote-cooled) and ice storage bin. These customization options are ideal when you need specific equipment tailored to your needs. Or, if you're looking to save some change, try shopping ice machine and bin combination units, which is an easy way to check off this big kitchen must-have right off the list. Other commercial ice makers include countertop ice machines (great for quickly dispensing ice for drinks) and hotel ice machines (these feature a unique chute-dispensing design).
The first thing you'll notice with commercial ice makers is that each specialize in a different type of ice—and to make matters more confusing, many manufacturers like to come up with clever new ice names too. From full cube ice (also known as regular cube or whole dice) to nugget, half cube, flaked ice and even gourmet ice, there are a variety of ice types to suit various applications and palates. For example, you'll probably see nugget ice (also known as pearl, cubelet, gem, etc.) used in soft drinks, while flaked ice (also known as shaved ice) is easy to mold, making it perfect for salad bars and seafood displays. Those behind the bar might be more inclined to get a full cube ice maker to give customers that satisfying "clink" in drinks served on the rocks. For more about different ice types, check out our Commercial Ice Machine Buying Guide!
Once you've determined what ice type you want from your commercial ice maker, consider the quantity you need for service. You might think bigger is better when it comes to a commercial ice machines—wrong. Too little ice and you won't have enough for service, but too much leftover (and wasted) ice in your bin can contribute to bacteria and mold growth (an inspection no-no). You want to size your ice machine appropriately to the volume of your business. For example, the ice required for hotel guests greatly differs from that of a restaurant with a bustling bar. And when considering ice quantity and size, don't forget to consider the actual physical size of the unit. Nothing's worse than picking out the perfect machine and having it delivered, only to find out it doesn't fit in your space!
Purchasing a commercial ice machine is a big investment, so be sure to protect that investment by stocking up on the appropriate ice maker parts, like water filters. Ice machine water filters are just what you need to help remove the harmful contaminants from your water. Not only will you have better tasting ice, but you'll extend the life of your commercial ice machine by preventing minerals from building up within the interior tubing. Keep in mind that ice machine water filters should typically be changed every 6 months or so depending on your geographic region—and don't delay! Changing the water filter is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to get the most out of your ice machine.
We also stock all of the ice maker accessories you need, like ice scoops. You'd be surprised at how many establishments still use pint glasses to serve up ice. Not only does this almost guarantee cross contamination, but it's a surefire way to get setup for a fine from your health inspector. Be cool, and just say no to the pint glass ice scoop substitute.
Shop for your perfect commercial ice machine and ice maker accessories here at Tundra Restaurant Supply!