1. Mechanics Turn to Amenities to Avoid Bored Customers

    AmenitiesIt’s all about the experience. Businesses want to provide their customers with an out of the ordinary experience so that customers will talk about it on social media and encourage their friends to go. It's all about the experience these days.

    Even mechanics are no longer about just providing the best service, they want to give their customers a delightful waiting room experience. Shops are investing in the large screen televisions, ice and water dispensers, even chai and coffee machines. And, some are going all out.One Houston repair shop has a huge aquarium, designer chairs, gourmet coffee, candy, and biscotti. There are even kid’s areas which include recycled coloring books and more. There are some shops which even have the work areas set up with wi-fi.

    The idea is that if people are going to be stuck there waiting for a car to be repaired, they should have the best experience possible. And, with that great experience, they talk about it. “I ditched all my car guys,” said one person, “this waiting room is so nice I bring a book and just have a good time.”

    How would you trick out your waiting room? Start with the Follett ice machine with the chewblet ice, add in some iced coffee blends, maybe some free snacks? Tell us in the comments.


  2. ADA-Compliant Ice Machines from Follett

    ADA ComplianceIce machines can come in many heights, depending on how much ice it can produce in a day. The general rule is that the more ice that it produces, the bigger it is, because it has to have a larger compressor to accommodate the larger volume. What about ice machines which are specifically created to cater to those in wheelchairs and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act?

    ADA machines are usually undercounter machines. They are large enough to produce a hundred pounds or more a day of ice, but they’re engineered to be easy to access and clean. For example, the Follett 7UD100A ADA 125 pound 14.5” wide air cooled nugget style ice maker and water dispenser (say that all in one breath! ) mas made so that individuals, regardless of their height, could have ice and water on demand.

    This little ADA machine can store up to 7 pounds of ice which is more than enough for residential use, or perhaps for use as a college dorm room ice machine. You can have several pounds of chewblet ice on demand throughout the day. The exterior is easy to clean, being crafted out of stainless steel.

    The coolest part about this ADA approved machine is the push button dispensing. You can not only have ice on demand, but it’s at the push of a button.  

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  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. Waiting Room Ice and Water Dispensers: Are They Necessary?

    Ice and Water DispenserBeing a car mechanic requires you to learn a specialized set of skills. Not all of them are mechanical; one important one is the ability to make the customers feel welcome while they wait for long hours for a repair.  Many mechanics have a vending machine and a coffee maker, but they are missing an ice and water dispenser.  Customers may be forced to go into the bathroom to drink water from the sink if they’re not in the mood for coffee.

    In fact, very few waiting rooms have ice and water dispensers, even though having them on hand would make the experience that much more bearable to the customers which come in. If the machine is placed correctly, the water lines are easily attached to the machine, and many of the Follett freestanding ice dispensers don’t have a drain lines to worry about.

    Having ice and water available for your patrons is welcome, as they most likely do not want to be drinking lots and lots of coffee or soda.  Sure, the bottled water is good, but it tends to be pricey in the vending machines. And the hot water tap on the coffee machine doesn’t count either. Who wants to drink hot water?

    While the ice machine and dispenser might not be the turning point in your service, it would still provide a welcome addition to the waiting room. Consider putting in a small water dispenser today in your shop.

  7. Do You Have an Ice and Water Dispenser in Your Office?

    Let’s take a look at the standard break room.  What do you see? There’s a fridge, a microwave, a couple of chairs, and maybe a table.  Most break rooms have five gallon water dispensers or bottled water available for their employees. Why not a sink? An ice and water dispenser is cheaper, cleaner, and more sustainable in an office environment.

    What are some advantages of an ice and water dispenser over tap water?

    • Ice and water dispensers are hands-free.  You don’t have to worry about contamination from other employees in the office.
    • Some people love having ice with their water. Cold water isn’t enough to satisfy their thirst.
    • There are no disposable plastic bottles necessary, which means that nothing additionally is going to our already overfilled landfills.
    • Aside from the gas that’s being spent to get the machine out there and maintenance calls, nobody has to make a special trip each month to send you another ice machine.
    • Ice and water dispensers, with proper maintenance, last a very long time.
    • With maintenance, the water remains fresh and clean. 
    • Although there are payment programs for additional bottles, ice and water dispensers have a one-time cost.
    • Sometimes it’s just really fun to crunch ice at your desk. 

    Putting an ice and water dispenser in your office might not solve any inter-office political problems, but it would make your office just a little bit more environmentally friendly and pleasant for your employees. If you’re tired of having pallets of bottled water around or drinking bad tap water, consider getting an ice and water dispenser for your break room.

  8. Broken Ice Machine? Here are Some Tips to Get By

    Ice is the backbone of the foodservice industry. There is not a bar or restaurant in the United States that cannot go about their day to day operations without a properly working ice machine. Unfortunately at times, your ice machine may not want to cooperate, can shut down, or malfunction, leaving you and your customers without ice for an extended period of time. While this is never ideal, there is no need to panic! Keep a level head, and follow these instructions to get yourself out of this unexpected predicament. Temporarily losing your ice machine does not mean your business must suffer over the next few days.

    Call an Ice Machine Technician

    While we are in the business of selling ice machines, we unfortunately do not make house calls or perform repairs, so the first thing that you should do is call an approved ice machine technician. Some ice machine issues are no more serious than a dirty or dusty condenser. Ideally, the problem and the labor will be covered by warranty, and will not be too costly to repair. Either way, you will need a technician on the scene as fast as possible. Some ice machines like Manitowoc’s Indigo and Scotsman’s Prodigy units feature onboard computers and added technology which can provide you with the exact information required to solve your ice machine’s problems. This allows for repairs to be completed in a timely fashion, and eliminates any guesswork that would otherwise be involved. The operating data of Manitowoc’s Indigo ice machine is constantly stored and can be remotely monitored too, so any problems can be resolved quickly. To find an approved repair person, here are the technical support phone numbers of the major ice machine companies offered at Ice Machines Plus:

    Scotsman- (800) 726-8762 Scotsman website
    Ice-O-Matic- (800) 423-3367 Ice-O-Matic website
    Manitowoc Ice- (920) 682-0161 Manitowoc website
    Hoshizaki- 800-233-1940 Hoshizaki website
    U-Line- 800-779-2547 U-Line website
    Cornelius- 800-238-3600 Cornelius website
    Follett - (877) 612-5068 Follett website

    Plan on Being Without Ice

    No Ice in Ice MachineIf you have an ice bin that holds 1,000 pounds of ice, and your business uses only 100-200 pounds per day, you have a bit of time to find someone to repair your ice machine or to buy a  new ice machine. But, if your ice storage bin only holds 400 pounds of ice and your business uses 200 pounds per day, the situation is far more urgent. In this case, you have a few options to consider in order to acquire the ice you need:
    -Shut down your business for a few days while you wait to have your ice machine to be repaired.
    -Get to the nearest grocery or convenience store and buy enough ice to get you through each day.
    -Ask around locally to see if a bar or restaurant nearby will let you borrow ice until your machine is back in operation.
    While the last option may seem unrealistic, many businesses (even your competitors) will be apt to help you out with ice, especially if they’ve been in the same situation in the past. If not, you may be forced to buy bags of ice where you can find them. You can always resort to shutting down your business for a few days too, but this option often ends up costing the most money, since your income will remain stagnant.

    Prepare for the Worst

    More often than not, it will take a bit of time (from hours to days) for a service technician to arrive at your business and resolve the problem with your ice machine. It may take even longer to get your ice machine working again, especially if it requires a replacement part, or extensive repairs. If you know your ice machine will be down for a few days, make arrangements ahead of time. Be sure all managers, bartenders, and servers are knowledgeable of the situation, so they can inform your customers if required. Also, be aware of at least two places where ice can be purchased quickly, so if you end up running low on a busy night, ice can be replenished easily. Those same bars and restaurants that leant you ice on a Monday afternoon may be less inclined to offer you use of their ice machine on a Saturday night, when they are running at full capaity.

    Call Ice Machines Plus for a New Ice Machine

    Scotsman ice machineSometimes, not all that is broken can be fixed. If your ice machine has faithfully produced ice for your business for 10 years, it may be time to move on. Thankfully, Ice Machines Plus has a selection of the newest, most technologically advanced ice machines available to date- and these ice machines are covered with excellent, extended warranties. If your ice machine is over ten years old, you can find a new ice machine that is more energy efficient, and will operate at a lower cost than your antique unit. Some new ice machines from Manitowoc and Ice-O-Matic are available with a “Quick Ship” option, where we can get your ice machine to you within 48 hours. Read our press release regarding the Quick Ship Program for more details. We can also offer detailed advice to make sure you get the most out of your new ice machine over its lifetime, with proper care and maintenance. Our Ice Expert Center provides the latest in product reviews and ice machine information, so check it out to stay up to date with all the latest ice machine happenings.

    We know that it can be tough to operate your business without ice. That’s why at Ice Machines Plus, we do everything in our power to get your new ice machine to you as quickly as possible. Without it, your business will inevitably suffer, and you will not be able to survive over a long period of time. Take the first few steps into consideration when your ice machine goes down, and if there’s no chance that your ice machine can be repaired, give our Ice Experts a call at Ice Machines Plus at (877) 900-4423 and we'll help outfit your business with a new ice machine right away.

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