From classic cubes to specialized nugget ice, there is a commercial ice machine for any operation. When shopping for a commercial ice maker, take the time to consider what type of machine would best suit your operation. Restaurants, bars, hotels and even medical clinics and hospitals all have different requirements. Think about factors like ice type, ice yield, storage and filtration. First and foremost, commercial kitchen operators need to determine what type of ice they want to make.
Cube, flake and nugget are the three major types from which to choose. Flake ice is used primarily in food displays, like at the seafood counter or salad bar of a grocery store. Cube ice machines come in full cube and half cube models. Also known as “full-dice” and “half-dice”, cubes can be used in pretty much anything, but it is the preferred style for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Nugget ice is also known as chewable ice, pellet ice, pearl ice or “Sonic” ice. Its soft and chewable texture makes it a customer favorite in carbonated drinks and it provides an easy to blend base for frozen cocktails and smoothies.
After selecting the ice type, you will need to calculate exactly how much ice your establishment needs on a daily basis. As a couple of examples, restaurants will need about a pound and a half per person, hospitals will need ten pounds of ice per bed per day and hotels will need five pounds per room per day. Regardless of the ice style or size of the machine, you will still need some way to store and distribute that ice to the customer. Under counter and combination ice machines have everything you need included, but those who select a modular ice maker will need an ice storage bin or ice dispenser. Also, be sure to place a filtration system on the incoming water line to keep your ice crystal clear and in some cases extend your warranty.