It’s important to decide what type of ice a foodservice operation or bar will require, including crushed, hard cubes, extruded or a combination. A growing number of upscale bar operators now use specialty ice or bigger cubes.
Ice machines produce ice for service in foodservice facilities, restaurants, bars and hotels, either in the back of the house or for customer self-service. The type of ice these units produce determines their classification. Ice types include cube, nugget or extruded and flake.
Ice formats include cube, flake and extruded (also called compressed or nugget). Cubes are a standard in restaurants; however, there has been a recent trend in using chewable ice. This is especially popular in more casual settings like pizza restaurants. A pizzeria’s service style — ranging from dine-in to carry out to a combination of both — will dictate how much ice the restaurant will require, the unit type, placement and more.
Ice machines work by extracting heat from an evaporator plate and expelling it from the unit. Typically, air-cooled systems pump the heat out of the box into the kitchen, where it is cooled by air conditioning. Normally, when an operation needs to produce 1,000 pounds of ice or more per day, it is recommended that a remote ice machine be employed.
Tempo compact ice machines produce up to 90 pounds of ice per day and have a storage capacity of 30 pounds. Other features include an integral drain pump, an optional EZ-access filter and a semi-automatic cleaning system with automatic alerts. Operators can use Tempo in freestanding or undercounter applications.
The KMEdge X mid-sized cubers include multiple models in a total of eight units. Operators can place these 22-inch-wide and 28-inch tall modular ice machines on a bin, either alone or side-by-side, with ice production ranging from 383 to 669 pounds of ice per day.
The confluence of high labor costs and consumers’ need for speed creates a recipe for accessible, portable food options, either as the main meal or as add-on items. As a result, the role of the reach-in continues to evolve from simple storage item to profit center for many foodservice operators, including fast-casual and quick-service operators.
Undercounter and underbar refrigeration serve as supplemental storage solutions for the front of house or in the kitchen as part of a prep station. Timothy A. Barker, founder of Table & Bar Consulting Group in Memphis, Tenn., provides information on what to consider when purchasing undercounter refrigeration.