Monthly Archives: January 2015

  1. New Climate Regulations for Commercial Ice Machines

    Climate Change Skyline Commercial ice machines were the focus for energy regulators this week as President Obama’s Climate Action plan zeroed in on efficiency standards for automatic commercial ice makers.  It’s part of the nationwide effort to regulate energy efficiency standards for consumer goods.

    “The Energy Department is committed to building on this progress, and will continue to develop standards that move the US closer to a low-carbon future,” says Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

    The move will save $600 million for consumers in the next thirty years.  It will also reduce carbon emissions by 4 million metric tons.  The new rules are set to save consumers nearly $80 billion by the year 2080. 

    The regulations that have been put into place regarding ice makers mean that there are water and energy standards that manufacturers must match with their ice machines.

    Feds Tighten Regulations on Hotel Ice Makers to Fight Global Warming

    What this type of regulation means for restaurants, hotels, and convenience stores is that they should expect to have significant energy and water savings when they purchase new ice machines. 

    When you’re looking for a new ice machine, try to find one that has the ENERGY STAR label.  ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program that reduces carbon emissions. By buying ENERGY STAR products, you’ll be within the new guidelines.

    Photo Attribution

  2. Student Body Replaces Ice Machines For Bugs

    Bugs in Ice Machine Ice machines are popular not only in restaurants, convenience stores, hotels, and hospitals, but also in college dorms.  Just ask the student body at UNC. But apparently someone wasn’t taking care of their machines. They were recently confronted with the unsavory appearance of bugs in their ice machines. It was mentioned that having to scoop the ice by hand might have contributed to the bugs.  Students were forced to use their hands or their own scoops because the original ice scoops were missing.

    Members of the student body came to ask the Residence Hall Association at UNC for new ice machines.  Their wish was granted, and two new ice machines were approved for purchase and installation.  Each of these machines costs around $3000, and the RHA would pay the remaining $591 in delivery costs.

    These costs will be spread out to each of the students which are affected by the new installation.  This move is expected, at least by the Student Body Treasurer, to encourage people to live on campus rather than in off campus housing.

    The RHA President expects that getting the new ice machines will form the catalyst for others to enjoy ice machines across the UNC campus.

    Another thing that the UNC Tarheel RHA may want to consider is the sanitization and cleaning of those ice machines on a regular basis.  While they might get to it sometime, the evidence of bugs is a potent reason to stay vigilant with a cleaning and sanitizing schedule.

    Let’s hope that those new ice machines work well for them, and that they stay around for a long, long time on campus. To read more about the new ice machine or the activities the UNC Tarheel RHA, click here

    Photo Attribution

  3. Follett Ice: The Cool Kids on the Block

    Follett Ice While your customers might not talk about it much, the ice machine that you have in your small convenience store can make the difference between whether customers stop in or just get their gas and move on.

    If you’re not experiencing high traffic, it’s necessary to do something to set yourself apart from the competition.  What can set your place apart better than having convenient ice?

    Follett ice machines have been leading the way in the small ice machine market.  While their machines don’t produce a million pounds of ice in an hour, you are able to get up to 400 pounds of delicious Chewblet ice in a day.  

    chewblet ice The Chewblet ice is ice which was specially made for chewing.  T’s a softer ice, turning slushier when you need it to, perfect for those convenience store drinks.  It’s also good enough that customers will get the ice just to chew on it!

    The newer Follett ice machines are winning innovation awards.  Their new 15 Series ice and water dispenser was named one of the top ten “Cool New Products” at the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing show in Las Vegas.

    These wonderful innovations might be just the tip of the iceberg for Follett ice machines.  Their research team has been active, and who knows what they’ll have for convenience stores in 2015?

  4. When is it time to replace your commercial dishwasher?

    Champion Conveyor DishwasherYou might be taking great care of your commercial dishwasher, but there will come a time when all of the maintenance that you’re doing can’t keep up with the rate of deterioration.  It will become necessary to replace your commercial dishwasher sometime, but it will give you some warning signs before it gives up the ghost.

    There are three primary reasons to replace equipment:

    1. It’s breaking down too often
    2. It’s too old
    3. It no longer fits your needs

    When you buy a new dishwasher, you’re looking at a good ten years or so of service.  The warrantees last for a few years, but after a while the machine becomes a service liability.  Those parts and belts which were covered under service contract might not be covered anymore… and parts are expensive.

    You might be forced to weigh the use that you’re getting from the commercial dishwasher to the amount of trouble that it’s giving you.  While it might be the evil you know, wouldn’t you rather have a machine where there’s no evil at all?

    Manufacturers are constantly striving to better their own standards as far as energy efficiency and more.  The dishwasher that you got ten years ago will not be as efficient as today’s models.

    Also, your restaurant or bar might have grown to the point where you need to get something else because the dishwasher that you have no longer fits your needs.  While it’s a great reason, it’s still a reason to get another dishwasher.

    Getting another dishwasher doesn’t have to be a chore.  There are a few considerations for choosing a commercial dishwasher need to make, but they’re easy-peasy.  If you’d like some help choosing your next commercial dishwasher, let Ice Machines Plus help you. 

  5. Hospital Ice Machine Saves 120 Hours Worth of Work

    Medical Nurse Helping Patient Having an ice and water dispenser available within the patient and family waiting areas saves hospitals both time and money. You’d be surprised at how much time can be saved in a year.

    Lipids online states:

    “…although it was only a 45-second interruption for them (the nurses) to get the water or ice, the interruption occurred an average of 27 times per day.  This may not seem like much until an annual rate is calculated: 45 seconds x 27 occurrences per day x 365 days per years = 120 hours of preventable waste.”

    We’re talking wasted time, wasted energy, and wasted resources.  Granted, there are times when the family or patient isn’t able to get ice, but if procedural changes can be made to make the field a little more efficient then let the water flow.

    Whether you’re looking at the Manitowoc RNS-12A Countertop Nugget ice machine or the Follett 7CI100A Nugget ice maker and water dispenser, simply having the addition of the ice and water maker in patient and family accessible areas instead of nursing areas makes it worthwhile.

    One of the biggest complaints that we’ve read about is that ice machines make a lot of noise.  Smaller ice machines don’t make as much noise as the larger ones, making them a perfect fit in the nursing environment. 

    Healthcare and ice machines make the perfect match, as there are so many therapeutic purposes for nugget ice, cube ice, and flake ice in the hospitals. Take a look through our available brands today and consider picking up a small unit for your nursing stations. It will be one less thing for your nursing staff to worry about.

    Photo Attribution - Diac Images

  6. Design Considerations for Bar Coolers

    Back Bar Cooler What do you need to know before choosing a bar cooler? Quite a lot actually. Choosing the wrong bar cooler can have a major impact on your overall bottom line. If you’re opening a new bar or thinking about replacing your old bar cooler, here’s what you’ll need to know.

    Space considerations

    The primary thing to remember before choosing a bar cooler is that it has to fit into the available space. Measure the dimensions of your current unit to give yourself a guideline, or measure the void where the new one will go and subtract an inch on all sides. That will give enough air circulation for most units. If you’re looking for a reach-in beverage cooler, decide whether you’re going to place it on top of the bar or under the bar before measuring.

    Door type

    The best door type for bars is to have a sliding glass door. In a tiny bar with a lot of people it’s awkward to dodge the door every time it’s open. It’s also good to have glass instead of a solid type because you’ll spend less time trying to find what you’re looking for. That being said, some prefer a solid door so they don’t have to make their back bar equipment look neat in the fridge.

    What are you serving?

    If you are selling beer or wine, there are special coolers that have features to chill those drinks. For instance, wine coolers have racks to fit large wine bottles. Keg refrigerators might have draft lines installed into the unit. What you really want to avoid is buying a cooler that can’t fit your bottles.

    New or Used?

    You might be tempted to pick up a used unit, but be warned. The lifespan and quality of a used refrigeration unit may be far lower than you might think. It is better to bar coolers new so you know exactly what you’re getting.

  7. Study of Local Establishments Yields Dirty Ice Machines

    Arbys In Snow We’ve talked in the past about the necessity of having properly cleaned and maintained ice machines in stores, hotels, food service establishments, and hospitals. But most people take ice quality for granted. For many establishments, you actually have to go out of your way to request that there’s no ice in the water or the other drinks, so most people merely accept it and drink. 

    In November, a group of reporters decided to test the ice from around the Omaha area. They tested McDonalds, Sonic, Arby’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Bucky’s, Kwik Shop, and more.  In all, they visited 12 establishments and got some ice.  They sent the ice to a laboratory to be tested for bacteria. 

    Specifically, the primary bacteria that these ice samples were tested for were E.coli and Total Coliforms.  Coliforms are not dangerous on their own, but they could be indicative of other contamination.

    In all except for two cases, the water was clean.  There was one coliform in the McDonald’s ice and 5 in the Arby’s ice.  “…additional corrective action was immediately taken to eliminate the issue,” said the manager of the Arby’s.

    The primary problem with the cleanliness of ice machines is that it’s impossible to see the bacteria unless there’s a major problem.  You don’t know what’s in the ice already, so it’s necessary to get on a regular cleaning schedule.

    Don’t wait until the ice looks dirty or you’re developing scale or biofilm, because having those in there means that it’s too late – the potential to infect customers is already there.  There’s nothing which replaces regular and thorough cleaning and sanitizing of your ice bin.

    Thanks go out to Mike Mozart on Flickr for the Creative Commons use of the photo.

  8. Down South Piccadilly Has Ice Machine Violations

    ice cubesToday’s discussion about ice machine violations takes us down south to the Piccadilly Cafeteria in Conyers, Georgia.  The manager there had 13 violations for his restaurant including mold in the ice machine.  That mold, combined with the other transgressions, resulted in a failing score of 58.

    Last year, the restaurant passed with flying colors, a 92 and a 95, so the decline in the restaurant was considered to be sharp.  The people higher up in the management at Piccadilly are not pleased with the situation, “We expect more of our folks than the manager performed, who was in charge during the inspection.  The regional manager is taking care of all the violations.  We serve quality food that is safe,” says the chief operating officer.

    Since we’re very concerned with the operation of ice machines around the country, we wanted to point out that one of the ways that this particular restaurant fell short was that there was mold in the ice machine – one of the most preventable violations on the list.

    Most of the modern ice machines have the ability to tell its users when it needs maintenance and when something is wrong.  That, when combined with the knowledge that ice machines should be thoroughly cleaned on a very regular basis, makes for a very easy time of it.

    Let’s take one of the machines from Manitowoc’s Indigo series.  This combination ice machine has both the bin and the ice machine head for use, and it’s perfect for producing restaurant ice, hotel ice, or hospital ice.  That particular machine has a display which informs everyone when its systems are flagging.

    Taking a few moments to clean the ice machine can definitely save a few points from being taken off on the health inspection.  Here, it’s definitely about keeping people who come to the restaurant safe, sound, and healthy.

  9. Bartending Competitions Around the US

    Frozen Yogurt SmoothieBartending and ice making go hand in hand.  Or, should we say, drink in glass.  If you look at the foundation of so many good drinks, you’ll find that ice or chilling is somewhere part of it. For bartenders who work in competitions, they know how important it is.

    Bartending competitions are going on all over the country, sometimes for great causes, sometimes just for the heck of it.  We’re taking a small tour of the bartending competitions that have just happened or they’re coming up.

    Speed Rack, Dallas’ all-female bartending competition

    This competition is just for the ladies, and it’s for a great cause.  The event was held as a benefit for breast cancer charities.  Here are some pictures from that competition.

    Devour Phoenix 6th Annual Bartending Competition

    Local restaurant bartenders will compete for the title of being the winner of the Sixth Annual Devour Phoenix Bartending competition.  They will take their nugget ice and their blenders to the next level, using some of Arizona’s finest distilled spirits.

    Bartending competitions are amazing. They take each mixologist’s skills and put them to the test.  We’re pleased to talk about the Campari Cocktails Bartending Competition in San Diego.  It’s happening today at the Bottega Americano. 

    There will be a highball competition, a negroni variation, and a round for a secret ingredient.  Who knows what else the judges might have in store?

    If you’re a competitive bartender, take your cocktails to the next level with some of the best ice in the world. Our undercounter ice makers should provide you with that extra edge in competition. 

  10. 7 Uses For Gourmet Ice Cubes

    Gourmet IceYou love entertaining, but you really only entertain once every two weeks. Let’s say that you have a gourmet ice cube maker in your home as well. What do you do with the ice in the meantime?  We’ve got some answers for you.

    Make rice reheat better – Cooked rice reverts back to its original dried form when it’s put into the fridge.  To make rice taste good once more, put a few ice cubes on top of the pile before microwaving.

    Cream Up Your Dressing – By putting an ice cube in your salad dressing and shaking it like maracas, you can make the dressing taste a lot better.  Don’t forget to use a sealed container though!

    Stops the Stains – If you’ve managed to get something on your clothes, rub some ice onto the affected area.  Because of the temperature, you’ll stop the stains right in their tracks.

    Erase the Burn – Wrap a towel around some ice and rub on the burned area.  The chill will add a bit of numbing and the towel will protect you from getting soggy. Ice is also great for easing swelling.

    Cleans Out the Coffee – If you’ve got a stained coffee pot that’s been driving you nuts, put a couple of handfuls of ice and salt into the mix and swirl it around.  That gets out the stain post-haste.

    Rev Up Your Disposal – Take your disposal to the cleaners with several ice cubes.  The cubes will swish around, clean the blades, and get the yuck down the drain.  When you’re done, it should be as good as new.

    Keep Your Plants Moist – Because of the slow melting time on your gourmet ice cubes, you will be able to provide your plants with some of the best water, complete with minerals and love.   You’ve got the cubes, so might as well use them, right?

    Ice isn’t only for the chilling of drinks, you can use it for more creative purposes.  If you’ve got a gourmet ice machine, what do you use it for in your off time?  Give us more ideas in the comments.

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