We don't need to convince you why you need a commercial ice machine for your restaurant—you already know the benefits of having readily available ice versus trudging to the store for bags every day. Perfect for the busy commercial kitchen, as well as the hospitality and retail industries, undercounter ice machines are an excellent way to keep crystal clear ice within reach, at all times. Keep in mind that undercounter ice machines work best for smaller businesses like cafes or small bars since output generally tops out at around 350 lbs per day. At Tundra Restaurant Supply, we carry a variety of ice machines from the industry's leading manufacturers like Manitowoc, Ice-O-Matic, Scotsman and more!
Commercial Ice Machine Ice Types
Once you figure out how much ice you need for service, next up is figuring out what kind of ice you want. Manufacturers have many names for the types of ice you can find with commercial ice machines, but almost all ice cubes fall into the following sizes: full cube, half cube, nugget, flaked and gourmet ice. Many restaurants find that half cube (also known has rhomboid, half dice or medium cube) is the most versatile type of ice because it's great in drink dispensers, blended beverages and more. Full cube (also known as whole dice or regular cube) ice on the other hand is great for bars who want a nice, aesthetic quality for bar patrons who like the 'clink' in their cocktail. To learn more about difference ice types, check out our Ice Types Infographic.
Ice Machine Cleaning and Maintenance
One of the best ways to extend the life of your ice machine is to follow regular cleaning and maintenance schedule. Running a scale remover through your machine (like this one from Scotsman) once every 6 months or so is a great way to prevent and remove any presence of scale, slime or mold. We can't tell you how many cases of positively grotesque ice machines we've come across, and we can guarantee your customers (or health inspector) won't take kindly to an ice machine filled with sludge.
Keep your ice machine functioning smoothly by investing in water filters. A good water filter removes minerals and contaminants that will slowly build up in the tubing and around the heating elements of your machine. Most water filters also feature a scale inhibiter which will protect the working parts of your machine. And best part? Your ice will smell better, look clear and taste great in drinks.
Last but not least, don't neglect the humble ice scoop! We hope that we don't need to explain the reason why you wouldn't want someone's hands in contact with ice going in customer beverages. But sadly there are so many in the industry who still use pint glasses as ice scoops. Not only does this practice contaminate your ice (health inspectors don't care for it), but consider how easily glass breaks! Spare yourself the time and money to empty and sterilize your ice bin and invest in a simple ice scoop. Ice scoops (like this one from San Jamar) are an easy way to keep your ice (and ice bin) clean.