Product Knowledge Guide: What to Consider When Specifying Frozen Beverage Dispensers

What to Consider When Specifying Frozen Beverage Dispensers

There are a number of misconceptions in the frozen beverage category. It’s important to note that these drinks are no longer just relegated to the summer months.

Also, the frozen beverage category is large and diverse, encompassing a wide variety of drink types. These include carbonated and non-carbonated drink varieties like smoothies, slushes and granitas, as well as frozen coffee, tea and cappuccinos, which have become more prevalent.

Quick-service restaurants, in particular, have added smoothies to menus in recent years, as consumers seek other ways to get the recommended daily allowance of fruit.

Here, John Marenic, principal at Charlotte, N.C.-based Marenic Food Service Consultants, provides details on what operators need to know to properly specify this equipment.

  • The recommended size of a frozen beverage dispenser will depend on how many flavors an operation wants to offer. Typically, two flavors are more than enough and three is overkill for most businesses. For this reason, we most often specify twin heads or tanks.
  • Operators need to determine how many ounces the frozen beverage cups will hold and estimate the servings per day. This will help determine the number of gallons of frozen beverage that will be needed throughout the day.
  • To accommodate 75 servings a day, a 3-gallon head is typically sufficient.
  • Frozen beverage dispensers are available with 3- and 5-gallon hoppers or one, two or three containers on top.
  • Because this equipment is simple to use, it can be designated for either full- or self-serve applications. For the latter, we recommend a longer warranty, since customers can be tougher on equipment than staff.
  • Frozen beverage dispensers are becoming more commonly used by long-term care facilities and the healthcare industry to prepare smoothies for the growing number of patients that have difficulty with solid foods.
  • With these units, the visual effect is emphasized in the design, since this is what can help increase sales. This includes colorful, attention-grabbing displays.
  • Operators may have the option of purchasing the dispenser from the frozen beverage manufacturer who produces the product. There are a number of benefits to this, including free use of the machine, since it increases beverage sales, and free merchandising support, including signage. The manufacturer may also provide maintenance on the unit at no cost.
  • It’s not recommended that this equipment be situated by a window in direct sunlight or by cooking equipment. The additional heat produced may cause issues in terms of maintaining proper product temperature within the dispenser.
  • In terms of frozen beverage dispenser designs, some manufacturers are coming out with tinted tops to help keep product cold when exposed to sunlight from a window. This design also helps disguise scratches.
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