Monthly Archives: May 2015

  1. Follett's Satellite Fill System is More Sanitary

    R400WIf you’ve ever worked in a fast food restaurant or sat in one long enough, you’ll see a worker lugging buckets of ice to fill the ice dispenser. It’s a tedious job, and woe to the worker that spills the bucket! What if there was a way to change that?

    Follett Ice Machines do have a feature that can help. Follett has a special technology called RIDE that makes ice transport a snap. Their ice machines can sit on top of a dispenser and drop ice via a gravity feed like a traditional ice machine, or they can sit remotely and push ice through a tube directly into the dispenser.

    The benefits of the RIDE system include:

    • Sanitation – no one has to touch the ice. It goes straight from maker to dispenser. Fewer parts to clean.
    • Less noise – The compressor is the loudest part of the ice machine. The noise can be contained in the kitchen.
    • More installation options – You can put the parts wherever the hose will reach.
    • Safer – No more ice spills!

    This system, sometimes called satellite fill in the literature, can be found in most Follett ice machines. As an example, the Follett R400W can make 400 pounds of chewblet ice a day. Chewblet ice is Follett’s preferred form of ice for restaurant applications.

    If you want a no muss, no fuss way of handling ice at your restaurant, take a look at our line of Follett ice machines.

  2. When do you need a Remote Condenser Unit?

    remote condenser Have you heard the expression “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”? Sometimes a kitchen environment is way too hot for an ice machine. The hotter the area, the harder the machine has to work. At a certain temperature the ice machine just fails, and a busy kitchen can reach that temperature quite easily.

    The way to cool it down is to draw in cooler air from another source. If an ice machine must be present in the kitchen then that air must be drawn from outside. Remote condenser units are the answer. They help keep the machine cool enough to make ice even in the hottest of environments. However, installing one requires the help of an HVAC expert for siting and installation so only restaurants that really need ice in the kitchen at all times need a remote unit. You might also need special wiring to run the condenser, so consult with your electrician as well before choosing a model.

    Most condensers are sized to fit with particular unit and brand. Pick the ice machine you want first and then find the condenser that goes with that unit. That will ensure that you have a condenser that works.

    So don’t let your cooks worry about getting ice to blanch tomatoes anymore! If your kitchen is hopping and hot, an ice machine with a remote condenser will keep things cool.

  3. Ice Merchandisers are Ubiquitous

    ice merchandiser Ice merchandisers are ubiquitous.  You can find one of them outside so many drug stores, convenience stores, and inside grocery stores.  They’re sometimes right next to the propane tanks, ready for customers to come and take out multiple bags.  Have you ever thought about them being used as accident buffers, though?

    In Lubbock, TX, an ice machine merchandiser took the hit from an out of control vehicle.  It was speeding, and jumped the curb, heading through a CVS parking lot.  Police say that the car hit the curb before it plowed into the ice merchandiser. 

    The best part about the ice merchandiser is that it was able to take the hit and absorb the damage.  If the bags of ice hadn’t been there, who’s to say what could have happened?  There might have been damage to the walls and to the store itself.  

    Worse yet, there could have been someone on the other side of the wall getting injured as a result of this reckless driver.  Fortunately, the ice merchandiser was there to save the day and keep people safe. 

    There are currently no injuries being reported from the scene of the accident.  It appears as if the ice merchandiser was the one to take all of the damage, leaving everyone around it unscathed.  

  4. How Bartenders Raise Their Game

    bartender bar When we think of bars and bartending, it’s only natural to think about Tom Cruise in Cocktail (for the trendy set) or Guinan from Ten Forward (for the more geeky set).  In both cases, going to the bar offered a relaxing experience to the people who set foot through the doors.  Bartenders serve as the focal point for the bar; they're the people who are responsible for making sure every aspect of bar is in check and on point.

    This means that it’s no longer simply about the alcohol and the mixer that gets put in the drink.  To rise to the necessary experience, one might try introducing gourmet ice cubes into the mix, introducing new handcrafted bitters into the mix, or rethinking the garnishes that are added to the drinks themselves.  By elevating those drinks, bartenders are able to not only command more cash, but provide a better user experience.

    Adding that focus to garnishes turns ordinary drinks into extraordinary.  Take the Baiser Framboise as mentioned in Nightclub.com’s article titled ‘Garnishes in their Glory.’ “We dehydrate the raspberry because you’re taking all the moisture out, so when you add it back in it’s alcohol, so it’s a much more concentrated flavor.  And once you’re finished the drink you’re left with the raspberry so it’s the little extra pop at the end.”  These types of drinks were unheard of only a few years ago.

    There’s also the focus on using local fruits and vegetables as garnishes, using a clear icemaker to really pep up the drinks, and specialty liquors and liqueurs.  As a result of this value add.. bartenders everywhere are asking themselves how they can up their game.

  5. U-Line Ice Machines have Style and Sophistication

    u-lineU-Line products are known for their sophisticated yet classical look. They’re not a cold grey stainless steel box. They’ve got style. They’re like the Apple of the ice machine world. Their specialties are undercounter ice machines, refrigerators, and beverage coolers. They’ve been making them for over 60 years.

    One of the advantages of U-Line’s models is that they are modular, especially the 3000 series. One of the problems of siting an ice machine is finding one that will fit in the space you have. U-Line’s 3000 series comes in 18, 24, and 36 inch models, but these can be combined in different ways to fill any available space.

    One of the great things about combining two units is that you can have separate temperature controls for each side. Need one temperature for beer and chilled mugs and another for wine? It’s not a problem if you take the flange kit they sell and connect two 18” models together.

    To list all of the U-Line models we carry would take a long time, so why not just check out our U-Line selection at the link? We’re sure you’ll find a refrigeration unit that suits your needs no matter what you have. They even have RV and marine refrigerators for your next boating party!

  6. Fogel Ice Merchandisers

    ice merchandiser We’ve talked a lot about interior ice machines on this blog, but what about those giant machines you see outside of gas stations filled with bagged ice? Yes, we sell those too here at Ice Machines Plus. Today we’re going to talk about Fogel USA, one of the major suppliers of this type of ice machine.

    The Fogel name has been around since 1897, and has one of the most extensive line of refrigeration units on the market. We have chosen to focus on their ice merchandiser machines, which is the technical name for those ubiquitous white ice refrigerators that you see in stores and gas stations. There are two main varieties sold, indoor ones and outdoor ones. The width of the machine is another thing that differentiates machines.

    Since these machines are meant for selling pre-packaged ice, it’s important to choose the right size. If your machine is too small, you could run out of stock and have a refrigerator cooling empty space and unhappy customers. If it is too large then you could have old ice bags sitting at the bottom for too long. Those units must be moved!

    To see our full selection of Fogel ice merchandisers, click on the link.

  7. Get your Griddle Going

    griddle A griddle may seem like a strange thing for an ice machine company to sell, but we do have a modest selection of other cooking gear here at Ice Machines Plus. We like being a one-stop-shop for our customers. We sell Empura brand gas griddles.

    What do you need to look for in a griddle? First, there is the choice between electric and gas griddles. We only sell gas griddles at Ice Machines Plus. They are much easier to control than an electric griddle.

    Second is the plate thickness. The thicker the plate of a griddle, the longer it stays hot and the more evenly it will cook. However, a thicker griddle does take longer to heat up. Thick-plate griddles are great if you are cooking a lot of frozen ingredients. Thin-plate griddles do heat faster, but they can warp under heavy use and don’t distribute heat as evenly. ¾” plate is a good compromise between the two. The thicker the plate, the more abuse the griddle can handle.

    Third is the overall size of the griddle. The unit has to fit in whatever space you have for it. Larger units tend to be more heavy-duty than smaller ones.

    Take a look through our selection of Empura griddles and see if there is one that strikes your fancy. Any place that serves breakfast needs a griddle!

  8. Miami Restaurant Fails in Ice Machine Maintenance

    fly dirty ice machine A violation for mold in the ice machine is usually a symptom of the larger problem.  There are some restaurant managers out there who believe that their time and money should be spent in other areas or on themselves rather than keeping everything clean and safe. If we take a look at a Miami place, there are multiple violations, including an ‘accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine.’ 

    The inspection system was set up so that restaurants could provide safe, tasty food to the public. Every employee, including the manager, needs to play their part in cleaning of the restaurant. Cleaning keeps places in business, and keeps a bad reputation from getting out in the newspaper. Here are some of the other violations found at this restaurant:

    • Live, small flying insects in kitchen
    • Manager lacking proof of food manager certification
    • No proof of required state approved employee training
    • Slicer blade soiled with old food debris

    This particular restaurant was ordered shut down for the fifteen violations that it received, and yet there was no reason other than laziness on the manager’s and employee's parts.  Take the lesson and heed it: an hour a day keeps the inspector at bay. 

    Is your restaurant up to snuff?  We can probably tell just by looking inside your cube ice machine.  Have you received 100’s from the health inspector?  What did you do?  We’d love to know about how you do it. 

  9. How to Avoid Ice Cream Headache

    ice cream headache You can’t make ice cream without ice, or at least cold. A home ice maker has a bin for ice and rock salt and an inner vessel that holds the mix. A little churning and you get ice cream. But what happens if you eat ice cream too fast? You get something called a brain freeze.

    The technical term for this is a cold-stimulus headache. It can happen if you drink or eat too much of anything cold too quickly. Scientists believe that it happens when something cold passes quickly along the roof of the mouth. The blood vessels shrink in response to the cold, then expand rapidly after swallowing. This change triggers a nerve response.

    Your cheeks turning red on a cold day is a similar response. The cold shrinks the vessels in your cheeks, your body warms up and they expand larger than usual. This turns them red. In the mouth, the pain receptors run along a major facial nerve. It’s the same one that makes you feel headaches in the forehead. That’s why it feels like a headache rather than a mouth ache.

    The effect doesn’t last very long, but it can be very uncomfortable. How do you get rid of it? First, stop eating your ice cream or frozen drink so quickly. Press the tongue to the roof of your mouth and tilt your head back. That will bring the pallet back to the correct temperature. If you have a drink around that’s warmer than what caused the headache, that can help too.

    If you really like cold iced drinks, enjoy them responsibly! Sip slowly and avoid the dreaded ice cream headache.

  10. What to look for in a Hotel Ice Machine

    hotel ice What do you look for in an ice machine?  It all depends on how you’re going to be using that machine.  If you’re putting an ice machine into a restaurant, you probably want pounds and pounds of cube ice at your disposal.  If, on the other hand, you’re in a hospital, your ice machine might dispense flakes.  For hotels, the needs are a little different.

    Hotel ice machines need to be able to accommodate everyone on that particular floor.  Larger hotels put the ice machine near the elevators so that there’s an equal distance getting to it.  The other reason is that there is already noise for the guests across the hall from the elevators and that a little more won’t diminish too much more from the experience.

    Space is always a concern when it comes to ice machines.  They normally get tucked away near the floor’s vending machine, minimizing that issue.  Having the two close together make it very convenient for the hotel patrons to get their ice.  Since there are different styles of machine, many footprints can be satisfied.

    Purchasing new equipment usually comes with guarantees and warranties, where the ice machines which are bought used usually can’t offer them.  Cleaning and maintenance is easier if it’s started from the beginning of the machine, as well.

    When purchasing your hotel ice machines, what do you look for?  Feel free to talk to the ice machine experts today.

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