Slushies, smoothies, cappuccinos, frozen lemonades, margaritas, frozen coffees. These frozen drinks are menu items customers appreciate on the hottest Midwestern days. The popularity of these products makes commercial frozen drink machines an essential piece of equipment at restaurants, ice cream shops, cafeterias, campgrounds, bowling allies, and roller-skating rinks (this list is not inclusive).
The process for selecting a commercial frozen drink machines (such as a slushie machine or margarita machine) doesn’t have to be lengthy, but some thought should be given to ensure that the machine is easy-to-use and operate. Specifically, managers should use this list of criteria for selecting the best frozen drink machine.
Some commercial frozen drink machines are more compact and fit on a counter top. Other machines are larger with more hoppers and cooling systems and require a large space. To select the right-sized commercial frozen drink machine, contact a professional who can provide a list of equipment options that fit within the room footprint.
Frozen drink machines come with hoppers. Some machine hoppers are self-serve, while others are designed for the kitchen. Self-serve machines are usually designed for visual interest. Kitchen equipment is designed more for function.
In addition to visual interest, hopper capacity is another factor in choosing the right commercial frozen drink machine. The hoppers come in quart or gallon sizes and should be big enough for continual use during busy serving times. For this reason, it is best to determine the size of the frozen drinks before adding them to the menu. The right serving size fits with hopper capacity so the machine can provide a quality product when needed (while factoring in cooling and freezing time).
The number of hoppers is also a consideration when determining what the best commercial drink machine is for a business. A machine with more hoppers allows businesses to offer more flavors, but often takes up more space and costs more to operate.
Typically, employees need to add mix to the machine as needed. The mix needs to be added before it gets too low, both for product quality and optimal machine operation. For that reason, an easy-to-use control panel with indicator lights is an essential feature of any frozen drink machine.
Once the mix is added, the cooling process is initiated. For businesses with busy serving times, consult a professional to select slushie or margarita machines that cool quickly. For long no-use periods, machines with a standby feature maintains safe product temperature in the mix hopper and freezing cylinder.
If the frozen drink machine is going to in a hot kitchen or outdoors, talk to a food equipment professional that can point the business to a machine that can cool properly in hot temperatures. Some frozen drink machine cooling systems cannot operate properly in a hot environment or without adequate ventilation.
Breakdown, cleaning, and maintenance are all necessary parts of equipment ownership. For that reason, businesses need to consider the care of the machine when purchasing a slushie machine or margarita machine. Some machines come with fewer parts or parts that can be cleaned in a commercial dishwasher. Determine if employees or managers are responsible for these processes, and choose the frozen drink machine that fits with the business schedule and existing processes.