Icesurance Blog

Ice Equipment Sales & Leasing | Phone: (800) 999-5616

Icesurance Blog - Ice Equipment Sales & Leasing | Phone: (800) 999-5616

The Importance of Cleaning Your Ice Machine

Without debating the origins of life on earth, it’s a certainty that moisture, in the right circumstance, breeds organic growth.  Unfortunately, the right circumstance may very well be the inside the commercial ice machine in your restaurant.

While that growth is called by different names, none of them are flattering.  So, whether you prefer mold or fungus, we can all pretty much agree, it is truly a disgusting slime of a gag inducing substance.

I am not a scientist and therefore cannot tell you the hows and whys of its appearance, but I can sure tell you that it has got to go.  Not only is this stuff gross looking, it can also represent a serious sanitation issue, causing possible illness and health department violations and/or fines.

Most commercial ice machine companies have cleaning and sanitizing instructions on their websites, and there are many YouTube demonstrations as well. However, we realize that not every restaurant has the personnel or the time to get this job done by themselves, so we provide that service.

Let’s face it, removing this goop is nobody’s favorite job.  But at Icesurance, we do believe that our ice machine leasing customers deserve the right to a sanitary ice machine, and to make sure of that, we have our professional, factory trained staff on the road cleaning and sanitizing our customer’s ice machines every day.

That is one of the most important benefits of our full service ice machine leasing programs.  We keep your ice machine clean and free from contamination.

Icesurance takes the hassle out of commercial ice machine cleaning.  We also offer cleaning service to non- leasing customers as well, for a nominal fee.  So, don’t let your ice machine become toxic, don’t let your ice machine become the target of your next health department inspection.

Beware of Purchasing Commercial Ice Machines Online

When it comes to getting your next commercial ice machine, do you really, really want reliable post sale service?  Is quick and competent ice machine service an important factor in the purchasing decision? Of course, nearly everyone will respond affirmatively, after all, who wouldn’t want excellent support for a piece of equipment that is so integral to creating a positive customer experience, especially when one considers the overall temper-mentality of commercial ice machines as a food service equipment segment in general.

Yet the facts just do not support this conclusion.  An ever-increasing number of commercial ice machines are purchased through online websites, where the primary driver is price.  There is nearly no other reason that these sites can even exist, as the business model is based on search engine optimization, not product knowledge, not customer support.

These marketing companies own no service vans, employ no refrigeration mechanics, administer no warranty claims and stock no parts.  Oh, and if they did, it probably wouldn’t matter because they DON’T EVEN ANSWER THE PHONE.  Good luck even trying to find a phone number, which has now become the Where’s Waldo of websites.  That’s because it takes people, real carbon based life forms who earn salaries, to talk to customers.

At Icesurance, we answer the phone, and there are no shopping carts on our website.  That’s because when a customer is going to spend thousands of dollars on a commercial ice machine, we believe that he or she is entitled to knowledgeable assistance to review some options and help select a machine that makes the best sense for their specific application and budget.  And we also believe that the same customer is entitled to talk to somebody who is courteous and competent to orchestrate any required service if and when they have a problem with that machine down the road.

So, in conclusion, I’m not a believer in buying ice machines from an electronic collection of programming code that has no ability or desire to process the demand, the operating conditions, and the urgency of repair.  However, one product that is surely made for internet sales is books.  So if you decide to buy an ice machine that may or may not be the right fit, you might want to buy a refrigeration text book as well.  At least the book won’t break down next year.

Important Considerations When Purchasing Commercial Ice Machines

Commercial ice machines have a unique marketing benefit; their model numbers are often based on production capability that is achieved under ideal conditions that are pretty much non-existent in the field, at least in the summer months when the demand for ice is at its peak.

While nearly all manufacturers of commercial ice machines, unlike Volkswagen, publish true production numbers, the model number of the machine which automatically becomes the de facto industry nomenclature, (for example, “1800 pounder, etc.”) is the jargon in which the machines are traded.  In commercial ice machines that are mechanically sound, there are two main factors that govern the amount of ice produced and these factors are simply water temperature and air temperature.

All of the major commercial ice machine manufacturers show two sets of testing parameters.  The ideal conditions as mentioned above are 70F air temperature and 50F water temperature.  And the less than ideal test conditions are 90F air temperature and 70F water temperature.  You will be greatly surprised to see how much of a difference in ice production actually results from the difference in operating conditions.

For demonstration purposes, let’s take a look at the Scotsman C1848 ice maker, which is referred to as the aforementioned “1800 pounder”.  According to the latest information obtained today 10/13/15, from the Scotsman website, this model, in an air-cooled format, produces a very respectable 1909 lbs. of ice at the 70/50F ambient air/water temperatures in 24 hours.  However, the exact same machine records an incredible drop of 382 lbs. of ice production when the ambient temperatures are increased by only 20 degrees, to the 90/70F level.

So, basically, to get back to that original 1909 lbs. of production at 90/70F, you would have to get an additional machine, a “500 pounder” like the Scotsman C0530, which is rated to produce 380 lbs. of ice per day at 90/70F.  Once you acquire this extra “500 pounder”, you will only be 2 lbs. short of the “1800 pounder’s” 70/50F production.  And this does not even take into consideration that additional real world situations like a dirty condenser or partially clogged water filter will even further impact production in a negative way.

The point of this blog is not to ridicule the manufacturers of commercial ice makers, it is to illustrate the point that the best way to acquire ice making equipment is from a source that can understand and process all the factors that are involved and too often ignored by restaurant supply houses and restaurant operators as well.

Icesurance is a full service ice machine supplier with the experience and knowledge to help you with a very critical equipment decision, you know, so you won’t need to buy that extra 500 pounder.

Kold-Draft Classic Cube

The innate appeal of shape.

The classic square ice cube produced by Kold-Draft ice machines, possesses many qualities that make it a superior ice form.  It is the largest cube available in the USA that is made in a commercial ice machine, and it is the only truly square cube as well, and this statement includes the ice made by the Hoshizaki copy of a Kold-Draft style machine.  The Japanese facsimile makes ice that is smaller, is not square, and has a dimple so large that they actually need to incorporate it in their ice cube diagram.  Further, while Kold-Draft offers a Baskin Robbins like 31 versions of classic cube ice machines, Hoshizaki offers only one.  And with ice machines, one size does not fit all.

Back to the shape.  With no knowledge of any supporting scientific evidence, I propose that certain shapes offer more of an aesthetic appeal than other shapes, and this is even more accurate when considering the shapes of ice cubes available through the major commercial ice machine producers: Ice-O-Matic, Hoshizaki, Manitowoc, Scotsman, and Kold-Draft.  For starters, let’s take a look at the offerings from the three manufacturer’s that produce the same basic ice style: Ice-O-Matic, Scotsman and Manitowoc.  Aside from a couple of very small import models, the ice cube shape these manufacturers make and which represents the overwhelming portion of their brands is called “rhomboid”.  That might even be accurate if the “rhomboid” ice they produce did not include an extra protruding layer on one side which is known as the “bridge” or “hat”.  The reason for this additional unattractive ridge is that this ice is made in a vertical evaporator where all the cubes are attached to each other on one side, and at the end of the freeze cycle, when this grid-like slab drops into the bin, it is supposed to be broken up by impact, but often results in pieces of ice that are not individual cubes at all, but look more like a multi cube ice waffle representation of the State of Tennessee. Hoshizaki, as mentioned in the first paragraph above, does make one model that aspires (but fails) to be square, but their main ice cube offering is described in their literature as a “crescent”.  This may be a convenient term, but it is not, by any known definition, a crescent.  As a matter of fact, there is no name for the shape of a Hoshizaki ice cube, but a better description would be “a lengthwise slice off of a cylinder”.

And Kold-Draft makes a cube.  Clean.  Simple.  Individually harvested.  Square. This is the only pure cube in the geometric sense that comes from a commercial ice machine.  Six sides of equal dimension.  90 degree right angles. A true cube, like a sphere, is an indication of perfection. It seems to contain an intrinsic appeal that seduces aesthetic perception and causes a subliminal attraction. Plainly, a cube is just a better shape for a cocktail than a 14 sided extra layered rhomboid or cylinder sliced lengthwise.  For information about Kold-Draft square cubes, please contact us at Icesurance. We offer several options including ice machine rental and ice machine leasing.

What Does Serving Cloudy Ice Say About Your Venue?

The ice cubes served in a commercial establishment should be clear.  Clearness not only presents a better esthetic appearance to the customer, but also provides the connotation of purity.  The fact is that most cloudy ice produced by commercial ice machines does not necessarily indicate the presence of anything more harmful than trapped air bubbles in the cube, due primarily to freezing too quickly.

This can be the result of several factors working in conjunction with each other, or even individually, such as low water pressure or excessively cold water being fed to the evaporator plate (freezing surface).  This generally occurs when water pressure in the establishment is weak, external water filters are clogged, or internal components like the water pump or float valve either fail or require adjustments.

In the case of the forgoing, remediation is usually fairly easy and getting a clearer cube should not be an expensive or intricate procedure.  The reason for this, in regard to commercial ice cube making equipment is that the purest water freezes first, and that these ice machines with only a couple of exceptions for some very small imports, all use the same basic principle for ice cube production; water runs over the evaporator where heat exchange (freezing) takes place.

Ice builds up, out or down (depending on the brand) while water that did not freeze, continues to cycle through.  The cube is essentially built one thin layer at a time, the purest water freezing while water with impurities, air bubbles, etc. continues to cascade through the system again.  The best way to understand this dynamic is in comparison to the old ice cube trays so many of us grew up with in the home freezer.  All the water is poured into the tray, then it goes into the freezer.

Since there is no mechanism to remove the impurities, and the ice freezes from the outside in, the impurities are all trapped in the tray.  The result, as we all know, is a cloudy white cube that looks like a blizzard in a snow globe.  Now, I wish I could say that clear ice cubes are exclusive to ice machines provided by Icesurance, and that we have some kind of proprietary method, but that’s just not reality.

The truth is, however, that when a customer rents or buys an ice machine from us, whether it is a classic cube producing Kold-Draft, or an Ice-O-Matic or Hoshizaki, they should know that they are dealing with an entity that understands the importance of clarity, that ice in a drink represents far more than a temperature change.  It’s a pure reflection of a commitment to quality.

A Little Story About Ice-O-Matic Nugget Ice Machines

It’s virtually virgin territory, you know, the science of identifying different personality traits by ice machine selection.  Luckily, a new study conducted by the UEWN (University of East Western Nome) helps shed some light on the subject.  As is standard practice, the application of proper scientific method begins with a hypothesis, and we must thank Professor Fruzensak for his great insight and general preoccupation and subsequent observation of the far ranging phenomena that have contributed to the formulation thereof.

The professor, also known as the Jane Goodall of the equipment aisle, was in the process of surveying reproductive habits of sous chefs in the small wares department of several well known restaurant supply houses throughout the Billings, Mt. area.

While this endeavor unfortunately fell short and failed to add to the vast quantity of knowledge previously accumulated on the subject by predecessors such as Dr. B. Anna Foster and her graduate assistant, Sherry Flambe, as published in their seminal work: Fifty Chefs of Gay; a tongue in cheek look at Prevalent Patterns of Preheating Promiscuity.  Meanwhile, back behind the over-fired broiler, Fruzensak noticed a strange but curious development.

It began with the nugget ice machines on display.  More often than not, a particular purchaser would approach the Ice-O-Matic nugget ice machine and uncontrollably launch into what can only be described as an Ethel Merman impersonation of Gene Kelly’s rendition of Singing in the Rain.

Could there be something diabolical afoot, or was this joy purely associated with a natural reaction to the sense of joy that the whimsical ice nuggets create, whether one chooses ice machine leasing with guaranteed ice or decides on a full service lease to own?  At this point, Fruzensak eschewed lewd food dudes and focused his powers of observation purely on the mood altering effects of ice machines on an unsuspecting public.

Could it actually be possible that nugget ice machines on a full service lease with guaranteed ice preternaturally predict predilections promoting propositions of precocious proprietary precedence? Oh, Casey, there is joy in Mudville, Fruzensak has inextricably linked the predominant purchaser of Ice-O-Matic nugget ice machines to viewers of movies co-starring Donald O’Connor.

Make Money and Save Money with Icesurance Financing Plan

Still thinking about that new ice maker, but the cash outlay is just too inconvenient right now?  Well, equipment financing may just possibly be an excellent vehicle for you to consider.  Now, I realize that some of you are philosophically resistant to the financing concept and are turned off by the very idea of it.

OK, we all know that if you write the check to buy a machine outright the amount you pay is mathematically, empirically, and scientifically less then it will add up to over a 36 month lease to own term.  There is no arguing that fact.  However, there are mitigating factors to ice machine financing that make this method much closer in financial terms and certainly, much more user friendly in general.

The cost of money aside, a nominal monthly payment as opposed to a several thousand dollar outlay will not cause tremors in your checking account.  Additionally, the tax advantages afforded by leasing in conjunction with tax code section 179 may easily make your ice machine finance agreement the most profitable decision you make this year.

It may seem unbelievable but the amount you may be able to deduct will probably exceed your cash outlay for the year.  Let’s back track for a moment:

You have a a 12 year old ice machine that has officially reached the level of clunker, it’s finicky and  unreliable, and you’re spending big dollars to service it and buy ice every weekend because the bin is empty.

Your managers are distracted from the full house, and are now actually leaving the premises to drive over to the 7Eleven to buy some more ice.

But you don’t have 7500 bucks in the budget to get a new ice machine and the idea of leasing still hasn’t warmed your heart because affordable monthly payments, a bin full of ice, and management focus on customers are not enough to win you over.

Well, add the tax benefits of section 179 and the scales may tip.

At Icesurance we offer all types of ice machine lease or finance plans to choose from.

Don’t forget that the same lease or finance programs apply to our excellent selection of soft serve, frozen yogurt, and margarita machines as well.  Just 3 servings a day at market pricing can pay the lease on a 2 flavor machine.  Can you sell 3 servings a day?

Kold-Draft Classic Square Cubes

I was speaking with Signori X just the other day.  You probably know of him, he’s an icon in the restaurant & lounge scene, and easily recognized by the floor length cape made from artisan prosciutto and aged Grana Padano.  Some of his venues set the standard for international sheik, and are patronized by celebs, debutantes and hedge funders, founders and finders alike.  He had just returned from the soft opening of Schmaltz, in Dubai, and we were discussing the ice machines for his new Westside Asian Fusion Lounge and hair salon project:  Medusa  A La Mode .

“X”, I said, “how do you envision the role of ice in your new space?”  From behind dark glasses he replied tersely: “ Cubes do not roll,  especially Kold-Draft ice cubes, the classic American square ice cube.”   “Brilliant”, I said, “these spectacular ice cubes make total sense”.   Again the legend with the sea urchin smile (with essence of mint and caper berry vapor) corrected me.  “cents?  no, no my friend,  dollars.”  Well, I might as well have been in Mumbai because the only thought I had was “Holy Cow, this guy is gouda. “How does serving the perfect square cube translate into ch-ching”, I queried?

The impresario was obviously taken aback.  He sternly stared me down with balsamic reduction eyes and flaring escargot nostrils. Yet with the paternal grace of a venerable sensei, he laid it out like a sushi roll, in digestible pieces.  “The ice is not merely a refrigerant, it is an ingredient.  We are particular about the quality of the spirits we serve and we don’t want to mitigate the customer experience by pouring them over inferior ice.  The Kold-Draft classic square cube elevates the esthetic elegance and it doesn’t over dilute the balance of flavor.  If chilling was all that mattered, you could keep the bottle in the fridge and use paper cups.  We don’t serve a 20 year aged single malt over the same ice that comes with a Happy Meal”.

Cool…..

Kold-Draft equipment is available from Icesurance.   We specialize in full service ice machine leasing, ice machine sales, and service.

This above is based on an untrue story.  The names have not been changed to protect the indolent.

Now is the Time to Finance your Ice Machine, Frozen Yogurt Machine and Frozen Drink Machine for Summer Success

Yes, I realize it’s mid-February with several feet of snow glazing the Earth’s crust throughout so much of the country, but believe it or not, it’s time to think about that soft serve ice cream/ frozen yogurt machine that’s going to be a great addition to your business this summer.  Don’t wait until that heat wave hits, because it just might be too late to get exactly what you need in time to capture the season.  The entire genre of this equipment is so versatile offering the capability of producing top notch treats from ice cream cones to cakes to novelties like fruit based parfaits or signature ice cream sandwiches.  Like so many other endeavors, you are only limited by your imagination.  We offer a huge selection of SaniServ machines, there’s one that’s right for you whether your needs are for a high volume ice cream store, a country club or beach location, or a coffee café.

The same sentiment is true for frozen drink machines.  You can be serving goblets of ice cold frozen Margaritas and Pina Coladas when the temperature rises… and nothing adds more value to a cocktail than serving it in that ultimate refreshing form of slushy decadence.   These puppies not only give your customer a taste sensation thrill, but what better marketing is there than a tray of frozen margaritas dressed up with orange slices & a cherry are delivered to the bachelorette party at table 7?  Just add some zing and increase the ring.  We have a huge selection of machines to choose from, so every application has a solution.

OK, the truth is that this equipment is not cheap, and that’s one of the benefits of dealing with Icesurance.  You don’t have to lay out thousands of dollars to get started, as we offer some terrific acquisition programs to choose from.  At Icesurance we offer programs to finance ice cream machines and to finance frozen drink machines.  This is also called a lease to own.  These payment plans offer you the ability to choose the length of the term from anywhere from 12 to 60 months and earn equity with every payment, all while working within your own cash flow budget.  And at the end of the term, it’s yours.

To find out if yogurt or ice cream machine leasing is the right choice for your business, please do not hesitate to contact us.  One of our representatives will be glad to assist you.  And while you’re planning for the next warm season, don’t forget that we also offer all types of ice machines too.  And we have a great selection of ice machine leasing and ice machine finance plans to offer.  Thank you for stopping by the site, I hope that you will visit us again. We can be reached at 800-999-5616.

Industry Trade Shows and their continued (ir)relevance

As a food service equipment purveyor, I took the compulsory stroll through the International Hotel/ Motel & Restaurant show in NYC recently, for about the 35th year in a row, to see if there was anything new that captured my interest.  Unfortunately, with the exception of some video loops playing in the exhibitor’s booths’, the event could be best described as a nostalgic visit to 1979.  Even with all the rented display packages and flat screens, one can still find that old tradeshow favorite, the skirted table scattered about, still serving like Japanese plane spotters in Mindanao during the Johnson administration. Nothing says hip more than an eight foot folding table wrapped in pleated blue polyester.  The only thing missing from this time warp was the bank of pay phones.  Of course the show’s footprint is smaller and the traffic seems lighter.  What used to require a two day tour now takes a Gilligan-esque three hours.

So, I wonder, is there real value for show goers anymore (me)?  Even if one discounts the associated expenses, which add up quickly, (tolls, parking, meals, hotel, etc.) and judge the experience purely on the benefits achieved via attending, is it worth the time, or is one possibly more productive prosecuting their normal daily routine, and deferring the process of learning about industry innovations to less archaic constructs, such as the internet?  While there is no universal answer, I am afraid that the viability of the trade show for this writer is quickly slipping past the horizon and into the dark.  And it’s not just the singular show offering, it’s the constant cycle. Can one really see something, in the equipment sector, at the March 8th International Restaurant Show at Jacob Javits Convention Center in NYC that is substantially different from anything displayed at the International Hotel/ Motel & Restaurant Show at Jacob Javits Convention Center in NYC 120 days earlier? While there’s always an exception to any grand proclamation, the question is whether that exception is worth the schlep.

As annoying as it is, the answer, for me, is yes.  Despite the irrelevance of the booths, the displays, the toothpick served samples, etc. these shows present an opportunity to see old friends, customers, vendors, and competitors, and catch up, have a laugh, or share some intel.  It would just be so much better on a cruise ship or in Punta Cana without all the trappings of a trade show, a concept engineered by the best marketing minds of the middle ages, to attract and entice a bevy of awestruck peasants with shiny and colorful objects.   We’re not awestruck anymore, but see you at NAFEM anyhow.